Travel Journal, Part III
07/09 - Saturday
If I was in Brazil I would have screamed in desperation to see that I had to wake up at 5am to catch the train. I was happy thinking that by noon I'd be seated in a nice restaurant in Turin eating the typical dishes while enjoying the northeast view of Italy. Could I have been more wrong?
The train trip was supposed to last only four hours and it took SEVEN hours. When the train passed by Verona I asked an Italian girl why it was taking so long and she was as distressed as I was, she said the train was stopping at every station like it had a regional schedule instead of a InterCity schedule (it means the train was supposed to go straight to Turin, only stopping at Verona and Milan).
When I arrived at Turin it was past four in the afternoon and the hotel was far away from the historic center and near the snowy mountains. I saw snow for the very first time in my life on top of that mountains, but since it is the summer I couldn't touch it unless I decided to go climbing? but it wasn't part of my tour.
Anyway, since it was so late I quickly unpacked to go out and see the city at night, but unfortunately a storm started... and it wasn't any storm, it was THE storm. Have you ever seen an electric storm? It's beautiful! A little scary, but wonderful!
I decided to go to the bar and have a warm cappuccino, since I couldn't go out. I was very upset because I missed a whole day of my expensive trip sitting on the bar thinking of the most painful ways to kill the responsible for the train schedules... A few guys walked in and sat near me, they quickly started asking about me and where I was from and when I told them I was Brazilian they said they could speak Spanish if it would be better. I declined and I said I really needed to train my Italian.
I asked them about the snow in the mountains (I was talking to Paolo mostly and the other two would say one thing or another once in a while) why there was snow since it was summer and it must have been about 86F that day. He said the snow never melted completely it didn't matter how hot it was, the mountains remain really cold (Well, I knew that, it is just that the mountains didn't look very high).
In the end I returned to my room and decided to go to sleep. I opened the window and watched the snow until I fell asleep.
07/10 - Sunday
Now I understand why the snow didn't melt away... jeez... during the night it gets VERY cold here. I woke up at six am and it was about 50F and I only had a thin jacket!!!
I didn't care about the cold, I called a taxi and went to the historic center of the city. I had planned on going through Via Roma all the way to the Royal Palace and then to the Movie Museum. All the stores were closed and the few people walking around the streets wore very heavy jackets.
I passed through the squares Piazza Carlo Felice, Piazza San Carlo and arrived at the Palazzo Madama. The outside is something beige with romantic details and statues; it looks around three hundred years old.
Unfortunately many rooms were closed for restoration, but what I saw was enough to have my breath taken away.
When I entered the palace the tourist guide took me through a huge staircase with statues of the city most important leader and then she took me into a very dark room and said for me to stay there while she went to turn the lights on. As soon as she did I felt myself being taken into a fairy tale book. I was in the middle of a ballroom with uncountable candles (that were placed by lamps in the shape of candles) and chandeliers hanging on the walls. Not in my wildest imagination I would have being able to imagine something like that.
I walked through the bright palace like walking in clouds. There were glass, crystals, treasures, paintings everywhere. The royal rooms were part of the itinerary as well. I saw the throne room, the bathroom, the bedrooms and the most amazing thing was the dining room. The table was huge, the porcelain, plates, dishes, everything were there. I sighed and leaned on a chair to admire the view... the alarm started ringing all over the palace. The tourist guide turned to me and said for me NOT to touch anything, not even that two hundred-years-old chair. That was embarrassing. Below is the Throne Room.
The palace ended with the staircase made by Juvarra, unfortunately they wouldn't allow me to go upstairs to the other rooms and so I had to leave the palace, even though I could go through more five hours inside that place.
I walked to the Duomo di Torino, on the backstreet of the palace. This church is famous because of some fabric that was supposedly wrapped around Jesus' face. People still believe in that piece of fabric even though it was scientifically proved fake (it is only five hundred years old). Since I'm not religious I was busy taken a look at the architecture of the church and the dozens and dozens of beautiful tombs that were there. Basically the inside was all read and golden and there were so many paintings, statues and candles that looked very medieval, I mean... it felt dark and oppressor.
I finally arrived at the Movie Museum!
I felt like a child that had entered in a grocery store. I saw Star War's original storyboards, especial effects' dolls, Superman's cape, Charles Chaplin's hat and so many costumes that filled more than three floors. I saw the first cameras, the first projectors, magic lamps, Chinese shadows and Buñel scenario that was simply stunning.
I was satisfied and sat down to lunch in a very cute restaurant outside the museum. Then, I decided to not waste anymore time and went straight to me Egyptian Museum.
The only time I had the chance to see something about Egypt was around four years ago when some artifacts came to Sao Paulo and I hadn't seen a single mummy! Ever!
And so I entered and I immediately spotted a mummy inside a glass, laying in a fetal position. I had finally seen my first mummy and so I continued through the sarcophaguses, sphinxes and I finally arrived in a wide room full of mummies. It's unbelievable how perfect they are. It's like they don't have more than three thousand years. It's amazing. I wanted so much to touch one of them.
In the end of the day I was happy and so I sat in a green square by the sun (I had to unfreeze my fingers somehow) while eating a mint ice cream. In six months Turin will be the city of the Winter Olympic Games and I can already see some structures here for the athletes. I don't really care about sports, but I really wanted to have the chance to climb those mountains... It's getting dark and tomorrow I'll leave for Genoa. I'd better get back to the hotel