When news happens get involved. Send your pictures, views and video to us by text and email
For my last night in Torino I am staying in the former Olympic village. Unless eating ice cream becomes an Olympic event it is without doubt the closest that I will ever get to being an Olympian. Having been Beardless for nearly a week I can't help but fantasise that maybe an Olympic bob sleigher may have stayed on and need someone to ride along with him.
For 20 euros a night I have my own flat, it,s a pretty good deal. The village consists of 4 storey high , brightly coloured palazzos that stretch along a former railway siding as far as the eye can see. There is also a large area of shops and restaurants that no doubt once provided the pasta to power the worlds finest bodies up and down the snowy slopes at speeds I only do courtesy of a car.
Now however they are completely empty and this side of the Via Po is like a ghost town. On the other side, there are a few shops and restaurants that serve the less althetic locals, and today, the even less athletic tourists .
World class Pizza
I had hoped to return to Eataly the food hall and restaurant out near the Lingotto building for more posh nosh but my tiny budget has stretched as far as it can , so I'm looking for something a bit cheaper. Close by there is a pizzeria with only half its sign lit up and no one inside. From outside it doesn't look promising , but the menu posted in the window looks good and the prices look even better. Inside the pizza chef is just loading more wood into the oven. I am greeted by a friendly Signoria d with a thick rope of black hair hanging down her back. I ask for a caprese pizza without the meat. The chef immediately starts twirling floury white dough on his fingertips and it flies around like a butterfly. The Signoria goes to the bar and pours me a champagne flute of pink fizzy stuff. I lean on the bar sipping the peachey froth and watch as tomato,cheese,mushrooms,artichokes and more cheese is layered up expertly on the soft dough. The chef then draws a wooden shovel from the side like a knight drawing his sword and swiftly slides it under the baby pizza before slotting it into the fire alongside golden glowing embers.
In about 3 minutes or less it is out,in a box and in my eager hands. Back at the Olympic flat I lift the lid and the smell is worth being hungry for, hot yeasty, chewy crunchey dough, melting cheese that is more stretchy than an olympians ligaments and large generous chunks of veg. I can give it no higher praise than to say that it is simply the best pizza I have ever had .
In the morning after a night spent wrestling with a thermostat that wouldn't shift below 25 degrees, I leave behind gold, glory and godsent pizza in search of another favourite thing of mine a Royal Palace.
I take the number 11 bus out to Venaria. It is a village outside Torino and was home to Italian royalty when they felt the urge to chase defenceless animals and kill them, or as it is known to others, the sport of hunting. It also has a station on the line that goes on to the airport and as I'm flying home tonight this should all work out rather well , or at least this is the theory.
After a week in Torino I have to my utter amazement just managed to get the hang of the bus map which I count as a major achievement. As it chugs its way out through the town and suburbs I manage to trace our route with my finger moving like a child learning to read on the map. I attribute my unusual and no doubt temporary success in the map reading department to the incredibly helpful Torino bus company. They put the name of every stop on the sign at the bus stops and on the map, so I am essentially just reading a winding list.
To my suprise, oh will I never learn, as we are nearing Venaria the bus pulls of the road into a square. The bus driver turns off the engine and says something in Italian, the other passengers all get off. I reluctantly face the dawning reality that it looks like we are not going any further. Hauling my pack I get off too and go to ask the driver where I can get on the next one ,but as I hit the pavement he locks himself into a portacabin toilet.
So I quickly resort to plan B,and follow the other passengers. It becomes evident why the bus has halted here as the road ahead is closed for roadworks, there is narrow section of pavement and my fellow voyageurs are just vanishing around the corner on it. I am about to round the corner myself when a milky eyed man waving a white stick comes round it towards me. I step back and allow him to find his way cautiously past.
By the time he has gone and I am able to carry on I turn the corner and no one is in sight. I carry on walking for a bit, and dig into my pocket to check how much money I've got as I am beginning to worry I am going to be stuck out here. I have 3 euros 20 centimes, I guess this is not enough for a taxi anywhere. I stop a little lady and ask her the way to Veneria. She is one of the blond blue eyed northern Italians you see here. She says something to me in Italian that I don't understand then starts walking,gesturing for me to come with her. As we walk she continues to talk, every so often she asks if I "capisce" I reply "No" and she just carries on chatting anyway.
She talks about immigration in Italy and the euro and sterling. I get some of it and nod when I hope it is appropriate.
Eventually we get to Venaria and the train station where we say goodbye. I nip into the station to check the train times for the airport. I have a ticket but I am told it is not valid. A new one costs 20 centimes more than I have. The Italian controller lets me have the ticket anyway and shows me the way to the palace.
In this section
Latest Blog Entries
Adventurous Jenni Stevenson resigned from her job as a senior prison officer and has jetted off on a holiday of a lifetime. She is taking advantage of budget airline Ryanair's offer to fly for £1. The adventure will see her take 10 flights and visit six countries over the next few weeks.