After our Paris trip, we headed for Turin,Italy for the next six days. We took the train and the neat thing about about the ride over was how comfortable and quiet it was. Even though the ride itself was about six hours, it certainly didn’t feel like it. Napping was easy and it was pretty spacious.
We decided, spur of the moment, to take a train ride to Genova for the day on Saturday. The train ride was inexpensive and pretty comfortable (for a 2-hour ride).
Our first stop was to get these lovelies. Yum, yum, yum. Can you guess which one I had? Cioccolato? Si!
While walking towards the Italian Riveria (coastal region with a subtropical climate), we saw this beautiful archway that leads to a garden/park.
This hill is called La Scalinata delle tre Caravelle (The Steps of the three Caravels, which are sailing ships). This flower garden shows the anchors and ships from Christopher Columbus’ fleet. Silly us, as we walked up, we kept track of the number of steps. We counted 106 steps to the top. We did eventually make it the Mediterranean Sea and walked this nice promenade where one can take a passeggiata (stroll).
It was so peaceful here that we could easily spend hours, wasting the day away, just watching the sea. A little geography: Nick and I were talking about the difference between a sea and an ocean, and we could kind of guess, but couldn’t really figure it out. In case you aren’t sure either, a sea is a smaller body of water and usually located where the land and ocean meet.
We decided to head back into the city after some time walking along the riviera. We quickly learned that Genova is a very hilly city. I’m not exactly sure how many paved hills we went up and down, but boy were my legs getting tired!
Did you know that Genova is filled with small cobblestone alleys? Walking up and down these alleys, you could probably fit three people across. Any more than that would be nearly impossible.
2. Along with these alleys (that I would definitely never walk by myself or want to live in), there are some buildings with extremely tiny doors (that are part of extremely GIANT doors). See where I marked in red? We someone practically climb out of this door. If you’re not careful, you can take out your head, an elbow, or even an ankle.
We refueled by grabbing some focaccia bread (which is a specialty of Genova) and gazed upon the Genoa Cathedral, which you can tell by the picture below is very tall! After we ate, we visited inside the church, which was breathtaking. You would think after seeing a few different magnificent churches that maybe we would become a little less impressed. However, that is not the case at all. Each church we have been to so far has its own unique beauty that it’s an adventure each time.
Continuing on our journey, we made it to the fountain that I have been wanting to see ever since finding it in one our travel books, the Piazza De Ferrari Fountain. It is placed in the center of the city. Again, a peaceful place to relax and hear the soothing sounds of the water.
Being in Italy, we, of course, had to grab some gelato. We read about this particular gelateria called Purfumo di Rosa. Here, they have homemade gelato. So delicious! My favorite, hands down, is fondente. Think of fudge in ice cream form and that is what fondente is like.
*Fun Fact* Did you know that Genova is also known for making gelato with actual flowers? Nick got the flavor and I tried it. There is no other way to describe the flavor except as it tastes exactly how a rose smells (if that makes any sense).
Afterward, we went back to the sea side to go up this 360 panoramic outdoor elevator that overlooks Genoa and part of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s called Il Bigo. If you look at the picture below, the Il Bigo is circled in red.
The picture above has a couple more angles of Il Bigo. It was pretty cool. It did not revolve like advertised, but at least we were able to move around a bit in the elevator at the top.
We also saw this biosphere that is more or less like a sphere-shaped greenhouse.
Lastly, we went to have some delicious Genovese pesto because like focaccia, Genova is also know for its pesto.
No other words except – wow! So yummy!
We went home exhausted and I slept well into Sunday. Not much happened on Sunday. We went to a couple of open markets and relaxed more than anything else.
Our first weekend in Italy began with walking around Parco del Valentino. This park is both close to our current temporary housing and our soon-to-be permanent apartment. It is the second largest park in Turin, Italy. The origin of this park’s name is uncertain.
Thinking that it wasn’t very cold outside, I did not bring my coat with me. However, I was wrong. Nick, being the gentleman he is, saw that I was indeed chilly, gave up his own jacket and walked around with just a short sleeved t-shirt to keep me content, knowing I don’t do well with cold weather. It was very kind and thoughtful of him :). I think he has learned this was something he should always do and we have one man to thank for this…Allen! Back in 2011 when Nick and I hung out during our second time meeting, Nick failed to offer his jacket even after Allen pointed that he should. Mentioning this all those years ago must have stuck because Nick is always concerned about how cold I am when we walk around outside. Thanks, Allen! 😉
Anyway, we start off our walk in the Rocky Garden with some interesting pieces of artwork. Some were creatively made with recycled material.
After these, we follow the road that leads up to the Medieval Castle and Village (Castello e Borgo Medievale). It was built for the sole purpose of the International Exhibition in 1884; a fair involving several countries (including the U.S.) that was held in Parco del Valentino a handful of times. It was meant to be demolished after the event. However, due to its popularity, the decision was made to keep it intact. Now it is popular attraction in Turin.
This picture shows another side of this medieval castle.
There is quite a bit to see inside the castle and accompanying village that Nick and I hope to explore in the upcoming weeks.
Next, we find this beautiful monument entitled, La Fontana dei Dodici Mesi (The Fountain of the Twelve Months).
In 1898, Turin hosted a national exposition and revealed this beautiful monument that includes a statue for each month of the year. Also, it represents the four rivers in Turin (Po, Dora, Sangone, Stura). It was built as a 50th anniversary remembrance of the Statuto Albertino (Albertine Statute). When the Kingdom of Italy became unified, the Statuto Albertino became their constitution.
The continual sound of water falling from this fountain is so peaceful that at times you can find a group of people practicing yoga near this fountain. We saw a group of women doing just that on Saturday.
The female statue with her arms raised represents the month of September (settembre), which many of you know is the month that Nick and I were born (along with many other friends and family members). She seems very energetic and wanting to reach the skies – like us!
Here we are along the Po River taking a little selfie moment to capture some memories of us! 🙂
It was such a lovely day that we continued walking around Turin. Look for the next blog post to see what we saw next!
*Fun Fact* Did you know that Turin is very pet friendly? Not only are dogs allowed in several restaurants, but being on a leash seems to be optional. There were several, really most, dogs off leash in this park (both day and night) and in the busiest parts of the city crossing streets with their owners. This would make me nervous with Zoey since she tends to be scared of loud noises and rushed decisions, but most dogs we saw were very well-behaved and stayed close to their owners. They seem to be treated more like friends than an animal.