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Day 1: Turin

It was another early start for us this morning, with our airport parking booked at Stansted for 04.30. It was quite fortunate that we'd flown from Stansted last weekend as well, as for reasons unknown the sat-nav decided to lose satellite reception during large chunks of the route, leaving us to navigate the route based on memory. It was lucky that all went well and we got to Stansted with plenty of time to spare, because the Ryanair check-in was complete chaos. I would say that we queued for an hour before finally getting to the front of the queue, except that to refer to what we experienced as a "queue" would be overly generous. It was more like a horde of people, crammed into too small a space, with multiple different opinions about which direction we were actually supposed to be queuing in! Stansted really feels like an airport which is too small for the volume of people passing through it.

Once we actually managed to check in the flight was pleasant though, and the clear sky gave us a beautiful view of the snowy Alps as we flew over them. The weather forecasts we'd checked in advance hadn't been very positive about the weather in Turin, so when we landed we were relieved to see that it was actually pretty sunny, if a bit cloudy. Baggage reclaimed, we went outside to wait for the airport bus, which wasn't quite as civilised an experience as the airport bus in Gothenburg. The Italian interpretation of queuing meant that although we had been in the first group of people waiting, we still managed to be some of the last onto the bus, only just succeeding in getting a seat!

The journey into Turin took about 45 minutes. The outskirts of the city looked pretty grim and industrial, although there was a hazy view towards mountains in the distance. The bus dropped us outside the main train station, Torino Porta Nuova, which looks like it would be quite an imposing building were it not for the fact that it seems to be undergoing some fairly fundamental construction work. The apartment which we are staying in for the next two nights is located just a kilometre away from the station, so we decided to stay in the general area and try to find somewhere to have lunch.

After a short walk in the vague direction of the city centre, we caught sight of a restaurant with a big pizza sign and decided that this was as good a place as any. When we looked at the pizza menu we noticed that there were two different sizes of pizza, labelled 1/2m and 1m, so we ordered one of the smaller ones each. The full import of what the size indications meant didn't strike us until the pizzas arrived... and they were absolutely huge!! I regret not having taken a photo to demonstrate, but we were each presented with a wooden board on which there was a rectangular pizza, 50cm long. We were pretty hungry, but by the time we had eaten about three squares each we were already starting to struggle, as the bases were quite thick and bready. We should definitely only have ordered one between us!

Full to bursting, we set off to find our apartment. We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find out how spacious it was, with a large bedroom and a separate kitchen-dining room. Even better, it came with some complimentary coffee, breakfast croissants and pasta :) We were fairly exhausted after getting up at 2am so went to bed for a nap which may have lasted slightly longer than intended, before finally heading out to explore Turin.

We could see on the map that the apartment wasn't too far away from the River Po, so we decided to go in that direction first. There is a large park, Parco del Valentino, along the banks of the river. It perhaps wasn't quite as impressive as the park we had been in in Gothenburg on Monday, but we still had fun strolling around it.


There were some rather unusual statues!


The most striking feature of the park was the Castello del Valentino, which is part of the university in Turin. The crenellations were beautiful :)



We crossed a bridge over the river, amazed by quite how wide it was.


From the opposite side of the river we had a view back toward the castle.


As we walked back towards the centre of town, we crossed another huge bridge over the river. This one had some rather impressive statues.



We'd walked six miles by this point, so decided that was enough excitement for one day and that we'd save exploring the centre of Turin until tomorrow.

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