Torino….NOT Toronto

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Autocorrect hasn’t figured out that I am in Italy yet. It has refused to learn Italian words, even if I use them almost everyday. But I think that my autocorrect takes after it’s owner and is just being obstinately obstinate for no other reason than it can. Or perhaps I am giving my autocorrect too much credit. It is after all just autocorrect. What does autocorrect know?

My phone refuses to learn “Torino”, every time I type Torino it tries to correct the word to Toronto. On the other hand my phone does recognise Turin. This Anglicization of place names doesn’t make sense to me, we are already taking over the world and forcing them to learn our language why do we have to take their place names too? I was talking to a friend about this just after I moved here from Naples/Napoli and he brought up something said by Don Cherry during the 2006 Olympics in Torino. He was arguing with Ron McLean about whether or not to call the host city Turin or Torino and Grapes in his infinite Grapes wisdom said, ‘ Why do we call it Turin? Why don’t we call it Torino. It’s what the people who live there call it’ . Okay, that might be a slight paraphrase but the sentiment is the same.

Sidenote: If you are not from Canada and you are wondering who the hell Don Cherry is please just Google him.

That was a really long winded way to say that I now live in Torino. After a long drawn out situation with the school and my landlady in Napoli and the most fortunate timing of my friend getting a job in Torino and that school needing another teacher ASAP, I packed up sticks AGAIN and headed north. I’ve mentioned all this in length in another blog post. So go read that. I don’t want to explain it all. again 😛

Today is my one month Torinoversary so I thought it was a great time to do a post about what I’ve been up to so far. First things first…Torino is awesome. Everyone said ‘Oh it’s not really Italian. It’s more European’ and apparently I am okay with that. It’s a sensible city.  When I say sensible I don’t mean that it’s dull or there is nothing going on, I mean that it works. Things in Torino work and it’s refreshing. I do sometimes miss the crazy of Naples and the south but this is a more livable city. I feel happy here and happy without having to bury the frustration deep down inside. I really did like Naples but there was nothing there for me. Up here the air is clear…sorry…but seriously there are mountains, there’s snow and people do activities other than sitting/standing around drinking coffee. It’s killing me being so close to the mountains and I haven’t been to them yet. There’s a little bit of home in them thar hills. Ovbiously BC and Torino are completely different but somehow this feels similar to home. You can make the Olympic connection; the 2006 and 2010 winter Olympics were held in the cities. I live down the road from the Olympic Stadium in Torino and it’s pretty neat. Maybe it’s just the mountains, maybe mountains signify home to me now? I see those snow capped peaks and I can breathe easy. I’m pretty sure that I won’t get skiing this season as I think it finishes in about 2 weeks but I will get out soon.

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Also the weather has been pretty Raincoasty in the past few days; grey clouds, rain, almost subzero temperature. Mmmmmm homey. I got sucked into buying an umbrella in Naples but I just can’t do it here. I really do hate umbrellas. It’s an irrational hate but I feel they are mostly unnecessary. I’ve reverted to my old self and have begun wearing a toque and my hood again.

Enough of feelings and stuff, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about Torino city.

In Torino there isn’t a lot to ‘do’ or ‘see’ in the tourist sense of the words. There’s no real big centre piece must-see ruin or building. I appreciate that and it leaves the city very open to exploring. You can really see a lot more of a place if you do away with the checklist of ‘must-sees’. If there was one ‘must-see’ in the city it would be the Mole Antonelliana, but just because Torino is Torino it’s slightly off the centre of the city. It was originally going to be a synagogue but now houses the National Museum of Cinema, which at the time of writing I still haven’t been to yet. It’s totally on the list, I promise. I have been outside the Mole and it’s pretty impressive. It was a few nights ago and the whole building is lit up against the dark background of the city. I tried to get a picture but alas I only had my phone and it didn’t really do it justice.

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One of my favourite places in the city so far is Parco del Valentino. It’s a huge park which runs along the River Po and n the centre of the park there is massive castle and a medieval village. I found the castle but not the village. That’s for another weekend.  It’s still slightly cold and rainy for park chilling but I am really excited for the spring and summer. I went for a walk in the park the weekend I got here and I was impressed. I say more parks need castles. You hear me, Province of British Columbia…MORE CASTLES!!

As I meet more people, especially locals or semi-locals (no one actually seems to be from Torino), I am discovering more places to go out in the night etc. I am trying to keep track of them but unfortunately the fact that we are going out drinking doesn’t help with remembering street addresses. The conversations usually sound something like this:

Me: It was a really cool place

Friend: Okay, where was it?

Me: Soooooo, it was somewhere around here….

*After 20 minutes of walking*

Friend: Kate, you don’t know where it is do you?

Me: ………..No. But it was really cool!!

I’ve decided that taking pictures of the bars would be a good idea for keeping track of the good ones. Maybe I’ll start a new blog about that too? So far San Salvario seems to be the place to go for a night out. As everyone who I have been out with tells me, up until a few years ago San Salvario was the no-go area in town but like every area that was once a no-go zone it’s now the go-to hipster hanging hot spot. I think I will write another blog post on San Salvario later because for the life of me I can’t remember any names of places.

As I mentioned before, I am slowly meeting new people in the city and not all from work either. Yes, most ARE from work but heck, it’s where I spend the majority of my time what do you expect. A while ago, probably over a beer, my friend Emer and I decided that we needed to expand our social circle and she went ahead and made an event on Couchsurfing. The event was to go to the Museum of Criminology or the Lombroso musem. Lombroso was a criminologist who ‘deduced’ a ‘theory’ that you could tell if people were going to be criminals by their physical features/defects and that criminality was inherited. In the museum I learned the following:

1) you can tell a criminal because they have ‘chipmunk cheeks and hawk noses

2) excessive tattooing is a sign of criminality.

Taking Number 2 into account, watch your bags when I’m around, friends……..

Obviously this ‘theory’ is quite controversial and there have been protests to shut the museum down. Now let me add, the museum is a museum to the history of criminology and is not condoning or approving of Lombroso’s theories. For an initial meeting of our newly formed Couchsurfing group, it was an excellent way to separate the wheat from the chaff…you aren’t horrified by the museum and Lombroso’s theory; ‘Sorry, thanks for coming. Try the racist Couchsurfing group…they meet on Thursdays’. But seriously, for a group of random strangers getting together to go to a museum on a Saturday afternoon we made out pretty well.

After the museum, we all ventured into the city to go to a Food Truck festival that was being hosted by Baladin Brewery because they were celebrating their 3rd birthday. It’s no secret that I love beer but the beer in Italy just hasn’t been cutting it. I’m from Victoria, we have 6 craft breweries in the city limits, so to find a craft brewery in Torino made me very happy. Unfortunately, the weather turned and it started to rain which made standing outside a little bit silly. Fortunately, the brewery has a bar attached and they made A LOT of money from us.

Okay, so that’s my first month in Torino. I’ll write more later.

Peace.

Kxx

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