Saturday, April 26, 2014

Taking Candy from Strangers

Rainy day in the park

Another item checked off The List, and my first "Get on the Next Train Leaving the Station" trip under my belt. 

At first, my trip to Torino (Turin? I don't know which is right) seemed a little like a bust. Leaving the train station may as well have been just jumping in a lake. It was pouring! Not even an umbrella helped. I had decided on the train to book a hotel, and after a few wrong turns found Hotel Diplomatic. Not a bad place- I mean, not great, but inexpensive and comfortable enough for the night!

Wandering through the rainy market

At that point, all I wanted to do was spend the rest of the day avoiding the rain but set out to find Piazza della Repubblica and it's market. 

A beautiful day can make all the difference, and I'm sure that usually Torino's Saturday market is wonderful to walk around. Unfortunately for me, it was pretty wet and miserable; the kind of rain that makes it's way into your shoes and you end up not even trying to avoid puddles because there's no point. I spent as much time as I could wandering through the stands and drippy tents where vendors sold everything from socks to flowers to food. Much as I was ready to leave, I didn't end up making the decision for myself. A man came up to me as I walked behind the vegetable stands and said something to me. I gave him my go-to look of confusion and favorite phrase ("Mi dispiace, non parlo Italiano!"), and he grabbed my arm, started pointing at the vendors who didn't have booths (the ones selling umbrellas and iPhone cases and those types of things) and saying "bad boys!" over and over! He walked me over to the crosswalk, said "bad boys!" again, and waited until I went across the road. One of the men he had pointed at yelled at him a little but, needless to say, I have no idea what they said. Not exactly a confidence-inducing event for my first solo-trip!

Statue of Hathor, Goddess of the sky, love,
beauty, joy, motherhood, and foreign lands.
I knew there was a reason I was drawn to her!
I see no shame in taking
myself on a romantic dinner
date. I love me. 

Next was the Egyptian Museum, which was incredible. 

They had a room full of all the items found in a tomb of a married couple, and the things that they knew about this regular little family was amazing- they even had her wig! Anyways, at that point I couldn't really figure out what to do. It was getting dark but still wasn't late, so I tried shopping but set off the alarm going into literally every store I tried. I was kind of mopey and ended up just going to the Apple Store to buy myself a iTunes card so I could watch some movies that night. While awkwardly waiting to buy my card, the guy in front of me and I got to talking and he asked to show me around Torino. He had some things to do that night though, and I had a fancy dinner date to take myself on, so I spent the rest of the quiet night on my own, reading, eating, and generally relaxing.

Easter Sunday rose as beautifully as Saturday had been gloomy. 

Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of Torino at that point and was ready to leave but got a call from Apple Store Guy and decided to give the city one last chance. He said he could pick me up and show me around, but isn't that how "Taken" starts? Yes. BUT it's also how many a rom-com starts as well. Though I wouldn't get in this stranger's car, I did spend most of the day walking through beautiful parks and gardens, sipping cafe macchiato, and sitting on the banks of a river with one. He walked me over to the train station when it was time for me to go, and rather than getting lunch or another coffee as planned, we bought a ton of candy and had a picnic in the park instead while I waited for 4:54 (train time). So I also took candy from a stranger- I'm living on the edge!

I don't know if it was the more appealing weather or seeing the city with a local as a guide, but either way I like Torino much more than expected! My first solo-travel experience was definitely one to remember.


  1. Ok new fan/stalker here! Great Reading your adventures. Found you by chance while looking up about people who have lived or still live in Milan. Happy to say, I have enjoyed your entries very much. Hope to read more!

  2. Congratulations! What a great adventure you had. In the same spirit a friend of mine used to say, "Why don't we buy plane tickets like we buy bus tickets. Just rock up and go." Well you did, on a train. Great post. I'm inspired to return to Torino.

    1. I love that attitude and need to try and add more of that into my life! Torino really was beautiful, have you been many times?