Every couple of weeks I get an email from the French transportation company, SNCF, listing their current promotions, future deals, travel packages, etc., and about a month ago I got one advertising some really cheap train tickets to Turin, Italy. Checking my calendar, I also had a long weekend coming up, the weekend of Pentecost, so George and I decided to take advantage of the 3-day weekend and the promotion on train tickets and head to Italy to stuff ourselves on pasta and pizza and cheese and porcini mushrooms.
Turin is much closer to Lyon than Paris--more than 150 km closer actually--but due to the fact that it is on the other side of the Alps and the lack of transportation options that entails, it takes about twice as long to get there by train as it does Paris (4 hours vs. 2 hours), but trains in Europe are pretty comfortable, and our tickets were cheap, so we just packed some snacks and a good book and walked over to the train station to catch our train.
When we got to the train station we checked the big departure board to see what platform our train leaves from, but where you would normally see a platform number, our train had Sortie porte des Alpes (Exit Portal to the Alps). Having absolutely no idea what that meant, we headed over to the information desk and were told to go out the back exit. Out the back exit we went, and there we saw why our train tickets were so cheap. Our train was a bus!
The bus trip over was pretty cool though. The trip from Lyon to Turin goes thru some beautiful mountains and countryside, particularly on the Italian side of the Alps.
Turin itself is not a particularly popular city for tourists. For obvious reasons, Florence, Venice, Rome, and southern coastal cities attract more tourists, but Turin still has a lot of cool stuff to see.
The famous shroud of Turin that Jesus was buried with.
Numerous cool statues
And even cool medieval castles.
And Turin was just a really cool city to walk around. Most of the walkways in the center of town were covered and shaded like the one above, and as you got a bit further out the walkways and sidewalks were still wide and tree-covered and well separated from the roads.
But the most important thing about Italy, of course, is Italian food. I loooooooovvvvveeee Italian food, especially the amount of vegetarian choices.
For more pictures of Turin, click here, and if you are in the area, Turin is definitely worth a visit.