I'm a bit behind on my blogging because of a lack of Wi Fi in one of my recent hostels but I'll save that adventure for another blog post. After Interlaken, I went to Pisa for about three hours, literally just to be super touristy see the Leaning Tower. I, of course, also had to get a super touristy photo.
It was pouring down rain the entire time I was in Pisa and I was carrying all of my luggage so everything got at least somewhat wet. It took about two days for my clip on travel pillow to dry. About fifty annoying street vendors tried to sell me an umbrella, which I declined each time because a) I had a raincoat, b) everything was already wet, c) I had no room in my luggage for an umbrella when it wasn't raining and, d) They were really annoying. I find the hagglers to be one of the biggest detriments to the magic of Italy, but I'll save that for another post.
I also went to in to the Cathedral and Bapistry and then it was off on a four and a half hour train ride up to Torino.
The ride was gorgeous, right up into the mountains and alongside the coast. It was storming during the drive so water was streaming down the windows of the high speed train and waves were crashing over the shore, seemingly right up against the train tracks. Fortunately, the train arrived in Torino safely.
Torino doesn't have much in the way of hostels so I stayed in an inexpensive bed and breakfast. It wasn't labeled at all and was behind an unmarked door between two shops so it took a while to find. The outside may have looked a bit sketchy, but the inside was lovely. After staying in hostels for so long, I was greeted with my own room. It even had its own chandelier! I think I got double my normal travel amount of sleep both nights in Torino.
I discovered that my bed and breakfast was right across the street from the university so I guess I blended in more than normal. I don't think I look Italian at all. I have yet to see someone with pale skin, blue eyes, hair flying everywhere (Italian women seem to always have perfect-looking hair), and wearing Primark leather instead of Italian leather, but I'll take it as a compliment.
I did finally manage to find the Olympic Stadium at least, though I didn't make it to all of the Olympic sites.
I had no idea that Torino was so spread out geographically. It is more like Colorado Springs in that regard and not nearly as walkable as cities like Rome or Florence. I did my best to research the transportation route beforehand, but I kept getting lost and taking the metro and tram at random. Also, the tram goes on four lines, one for each direction. The station for the tram going north is not in the same location as the one going south, so just because I found the way to the destination did not mean I could easily find my way back.
I tried to order lunch by the Olympic Stadium and only one worker spoke a tiny bit of English. I tried to order water, which is a word that I actually know in Italian. I said, "Acqua naturale" and the worker was confused. The Italian couple behind me kindly tried to translate and said, "vino. She wants wine." Because Acqua and vino somehow sound similar. No, no wine at noon, thank you. Finally, I pointed to the water and she said, "Oh! Acqua!" Yes, like I said. After I paid, the one semi-English speaking employee asked me where I was from and why I was in Torino and if I had had to move their for my job. You'd think there would be more tourists around the Olympic Stadium!
Everyone in Torino seemed to be a local. During my stay, I overheard one American family when I walked past a restaurant and there was a large British tour group at the train station. Other than that, everyone spoke Italian and tried to speak to me in Italian. I was standing in the queue at a store and a girl about my age started talking to me in Italian. After about three sentences, I replied that I didn't speak Italian in English. Then she spoke to me in English. Most university students I met spoke English pretty well, but when I would ask older workers they either could just speak conversational English or none at all. They would speak in Italian, I would reply in English and we tried to figure out what the other was saying. Sometimes I spoke Spanish too, which just seemed to make matters worse.
On the way back to Rome, the train stopped in Milan for a while, where I saw an ad directed to British citizens.
Then, when I was trying to convert how fast the train was going from kilometers per hour to miles per hour, my phone asked me if I liked American spelling, as if I were a British citizen fascinated by America. It's the other way around, but again, I'll take it as a compliment!
My next posts will be about my time in Rome and my trip to the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Capri, Positano, and Pompeii. Thanks for reading!
Hi, I’m Crystal! I love to travel and am currently a graduate student in Scotland. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 27 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: email@example.comHappy Travels, Crystal
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