Friday, July 13, 2007


Yesterday morning was the day of the funeral in Tovo. I left the boys to sleep late and then pack up their stuff and walked around the village a bit and watched the the procession of people walking behind the hearse (which was pale blue) the very short distance fro the church to the cemetary. Olga attended the funeral as Giulio Omodei was a friend, though not a relative, then we had arranged to have lunch together at a restaurant at the next village up the road that served traditional local cuisine. It was very nice of her and she insisted on paying the bill. Afterwards we drove her back home, said our farewells and took to the highway again - this time our destination was Torino.

Again it was a very scenic drive all the way along the valley to Lago di Como, the largest lake in Italy and a favourite summer holiday destination for Italians. The road follows the shores of the lake for quite a distance then goes on to Milan. We didn't really see Milan as we were using the ring roads and making our way back onto the Autostrada towards Torino (aka Turin). We managed to find our hostel in Torino without a map and only stopping once for directions. It is on of the International Hostelling chain and was good for the price, with internet, laundry, a room for the 4 of us with ensuite, and not too far from town.

Being a hostel it was easy to find people to chat to sitting on the Verandah. Chris hung his Australian flag outside the window of our room which was visible from the verandah. I think they were all glad to have people to talk to instead of just each other and me.

They found out that is was the start of a free 4 day music fesival (the largest free festival in Europe) and that Daft Punk was on that night so they spruiked themselves up and went out. Free buses were supposed to be going to and from the venue so they said they would be able to go and get back by themselves. I was really tired as i had been up at dawn and it had been a long drive during which they slept as usual. I had bought Italy sim cards in Rome so that Chris and I could always be in touch so I said if they got stranded to give me a call.

So the mobile rang around 2am and they had not been able to find bus transport back to the city so armed with a map of Torino I set off. I had to stop many times to re-orient myself as it is impossible to see the names of streets until you've passed them or you stop and get out the car to try and find them. They all reported that the concert was awesome, and had the most unique and spectacular stage/lighting show they had ever seen.

Today we went into town and found an on/off tourist bus for 6€ and saw a bit of Torino. There was a old roman palace that had a new baroque facade put on the front that was pretty awesome. There is a lot of baroque architecture in Torino. I especially enjoyed climbing the hill of the Cappuccini to the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte (Church). From there you can get a panoramic view of the city.

Turin is a large industrial city with an impressive past. It was the capital of the Savoy Duchy and was also the home of the Risorgimento which was the movement towards the re-unification of Italy after the Napoleonic wars and which finally happened in 1861 with Turin the first capital of the United Italy. In 1864 the capital was moved to Florence and in 1871 to Rome. Turin is also the headquarters of the Fiat car company. We had wanted to tour the museum but ran out of time. I did see one of the new Cinquecentos on display in a piazza though - very cute!

After going back the the hostel after out tour the boys veged with their laptops and internet access. I went out again to have a good look at the permanent exhibition they have erected in the centre of town for the 2006 Winter Olympics - held in Turin and the nearby alps as you know. I was reminded that Canada did NOT win the hockey which must have been a terrible blow. I saw a picture of the victorious Swedish team with my hero, Daniel Alfredsson, who is the captain of the mighty Ottawa Senators.

The boys went out that night to Murphy's (Irish pub, obviously), and I was told later they actually had in irishman behind the bar. One of the regulars there was an Aussie from Brisbane, and he was glad to see some aussies so shouted them a few shots of a dangerous mix of Malibu, Jagermeister and Pineapple juice. Richard was very tired fortunately and came home early. Darcy and Chris lost each other and Darcy eventually staggered in to the hostel at about 2:30am. Chris didn't get back until 6am, fortunately for him he didn't wake me up. Apparently he had spent the previous five hours walking all over Turin looking for a Police Station to take his statement about having his wallet stolen when he entered a disco around 1am. Fortunately he had prepared himself for such an eventuality by emptying his wallet of everything but the cash he might need but he had 45euro in his wallet (a little more that he could just let slide).

So it was a Herculean task to get them up in time for breakfast and packed in time for check-out. We then went to a police station just nearby the hostel where I had a wonderful time explaining Chris' predicament to the lovely Caribinieri there in my very confused way but with lots of laughing and joking. By the time we left with the police report there were about six caribineri gathered around making jokes. Very enjoyable for me both visually and feeling that I was finally making some headway with communicating with the locals but Chris must have found it all a bit overwhelming as I wasn't able to to much translation. I am struggling so hard to find the right words to say next that I can't afford to distract myself by switching to English to try and explain what I think I understood - because I was never quite sure anyway.

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