Turin

So here I am in Turin.  Sergio and his little family left Ascoli Piceno yesterday and I came with them.  It was a five and a half hour drive from Ascoli which can be very monotonous, even in glorious Italy.

After arriving, Sergio dropped me off at my hotel where I could catch a cat nap and freshen up before dinner.  They picked my up around six and we went to his inlaw’s for a fantastic home-cooked meal of pasta with meat, a pork dish with potatoes and card (the phantom vegetable I mentioned a couple of days ago), bread (of course), wine (of course), espresso (of course) and a dessert that is still on my mind.  It was a baked peach filled with an amaretto/chocolate cookie mashed up and melted down.  It stopped me in my tracks.

I’m beginning to think that I get too emotionally involved with my food when I’m here.

Anyway, today Sergio and I trekked around Turin.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the Italian Alps glistened in the sun.  The Cascades in Oregon cannot compare to these majestic beauties.  Their ruggedness is something we don’t have.

Sergio showed me the headquarters for Fiat and we walked for hours through several high-end areas of the city where the shopping rivaled that of Milan, ninety minutes away–Ferragamo, Gucci, Prada, et al.  He showed me beautiful piazzas and took me to an exclusive chocolate shop, the likes of which I’d never experienced.  Earlier in the day, we’d had hot chocolate.  I expected the American kind–hot milk with chocolate.  No, this was actually drinking chocolate which was sin in a cup.  I had had drinking chocolate in Beaverton, Oregon at a Moonstruck Chocolates store.  This, however, was off the charts.

We also attempted to visit the Shroud of Turin.  Turns out all we could see was, essentially, a mimic of the Shroud.  Because it is so old and so delicate, the Shroud is only brought out on rare occasion for the masses to see.  However, there is the “mimic”, as I mentioned, and a video of the history and archaeological evidence of the shroud purporting it to actually being the one used to wrap the body of Christ after His crucifixion.

Now I’m in my hotel room, rested and prepared for dinner tonight.  We are going to one of Sergio’s fave elegant restaurants that is popular with the Fiat crowd.  I’m concerned because I’ve got a bit of a tickle in my throat and I’ve been sniffling.  I DO NOT want to be ill when I leave for Paris tomorrow.  I want to be able to celebrate with everyone at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

I will be up VERY early tomorrow for the train ride to Paris.  I was fortunate because I almost didn’t get a ticket.  Color me dense, but I guess I just wasn’t expecting the train to be sold out between Turin and Paris at New Year’s!  I was able to squeeze into a first class compartment.  It wasn’t what I wanted to spend, but why not?  Most likely it will be my only trip to Paris and why shouldn’t I make it memorable?  Plus, it will be a private compartment which should mean that I can go into the dining car and not worry about my baggage.

I’m anxious to see Paris.  The host I’m staying with has said he is willing to show me around Paris–I told him I would pay for his meals, wine, etc.  I’m so glad for this.  I understand the Parisians are very snobbish and will make one’s life miserable if one doesn’t speak French flawlessly.  I don’t need that.  My host will be able to run interference for me and help with details and directions.  Plus, I’ll have someone to hang with me. Traveling alone can be a bit of a bummer.

Hoping that there is wifi on the train so I can write more.  Otherwise, it might be next year. If I don’t get the chance to say it, Happy New Year! 🙂

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