After the wild weekend that was in Cinque Terre, I boarded the train at Monterosso station, not bound for Milan, but headed for Torino to meet Eldad. Yom Kippur had finished and we were rendezvousing in the city known for its gastronomic delights among other things.
It was a wet rainy day in Monterosso and that weather continued all the way to Torino. I arrived in the mid afternoon where Eldad greeted me at the train station. There was a slight mix-up as to which entry to head to when I got off the train, so it took a while to find each-other, but he was there waiting none-the-less.
We headed back to the hotel where we dropped the bags and formulated a plan of sights to see. Here is one lesson, we have been slow to learn in our trip around Italy… It was a Sunday, and in many places, this means nothing will be open. No museums, no shops etc. We had a back up plan though. In the Lonely Planet my work colleagues have given me for my farewell, there was a place called ‘Eataly’… It sounded like heaven. A sort of fresh food supermarket with gourmet produce, and restaurants inside. You could order fresh seafood, or meat, taste wines and fresh bread and explore the many levels of heavenly gourmet Italian delights on offer.
We took the metro and before long, arrived at the entry hall of Eataly. I was hungry and incredibly excited, so I was more than a tad disappointed when we realised we must have come in between restaurant opening hours (not noted in the Lonely Planet) L There was however the salumeria open, so we took a seat at the bar, ordered some cheese, meats (for me), wine and incredible bread and thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon tasting platter.
Afterwards, we wandered the many aisles and levels of Eataly where several times, Eldad had to remind me not to go too crazy with purchasing items as we had to somehow get it back to Milan – he seemed to reckon the delectable cheese and seafood I was admiring wouldn’t make the train journey back. I acquiesced. We did however pick some delicious nougat, pasta sauces, olive oil, chocolates and a sneaky favourite of mine, Amaretto.
Before I had arrived, Eldad had done some reconnaissance around Torino and discovered a kosher restaurant near our hotel. We decided to check it out that night. We received a warm welcome from the owner and his waiter and enjoyed some fantastic foods that were a perfect marriage of east and west Mediterranean flavours. After our day of indulging in culinary delights, we took a nice stroll around the neighbourhood before turning in.
Lesson no. 2 we were slow to learn, is that in Italy, nothing opens before 3pm on a Monday. I like to think of it as the Italian way of extending the two-day weekend and, one day, I would like to see this take off in Australia. This is however no good for tourists who visit a city on Monday morning – as we did.
We stopped by the tourist office to find out what we could do as many of the major attractions (including the Shroud of Turin) would not be open before we left. Torino is still a beautiful city to just wander around.
We saw uni students crowded in cafes discussing assignments, gorgeous buildings and walked down to the Po river.
The weather was cool but sunny so we soaked up the warmth and ambience sitting in a café. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Milan.
It had been a great weekend. Eldad bought some reading for his course so on the train home, buried himself in a book while I tried to catch some sleep I had missed from partying to much in Cinque Terre 😉