Thursday 10 July 2014

Italy by Rail - Turin

I've always wanted to do a full Europe by rail trip - but having a full time job rather limits the amount of time I can go away for. On the other hand, no job... no money to travel! The answer seemed to be to take one country at a time. 

Italy first! I booked my flights a few months in advance for myself and my friend Grace. We would fly into Turin and 9 days later fly out from Rome. The rest of the trip from taxis to trains, accommodation and where we would visit were all up in the air until 24hrs before we left! 
I'd never particularly wanted to visit Turin before, but the flights were cheap, so decision made. I'd already been to Rome, but it's so spectacular I was happy to visit the city again!

Day One: Turin

We arrived in Turin pretty exhausted as our flight left from Stansted at 7am, which meant waking up at about 4am!! I get quite anxious before I travel, so I didn't sleep particularly well the night before anyway.

Turin airport to our hotel was a bit of a trek; firstly we had to navigate the confusing train ticket machines at the station. Note: if you're using these, don't think oh what a great way to break a note, the ticket machine doesn’t give you change in the cash sense, instead you are printed a receipt with the value of your change on it. I later found out that you can exchange this for cash if you can find a ticket office. After 20 minutes of scrambling around with maps, and our Italian phrase book, we successfully negotiated the ticket machine and made it all the way to the platform. We had missed our train by just a few minutes… Ughhh! So we waited for the next train, I think it was around a 40 minute wait, though it was a Sunday so perhaps trains are usually a little more frequent.

Success - on the train, and made it to our stop, now to figure out the bus we needed to be on. In hindsight, a taxi would have been a better option. The bus ride was 20 minutes or so, I had checked the timetable so knew to count 8 stops along in my head to arrive at the correct destination.

The hotel was just a few minutes’ walk from the bus stop. Our room was pleasant enough; we decided to make the first night as cheap as possible. Another thing to note in Italy, don’t arrive on a Sunday – everything is closed!!! Perhaps not in the bigger cities, but Turin was a little bit of a ghost town. We really needed to buy some bottles of water, wandering around, we stumbled upon some ‘vending machine shops’, which we later realised were ubiquitous across Italy. Sorted!!

Time for braided hair thanks to my travel companion Grace, take in the sunset, and sleep… Genoa tomorrow afternoon!


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