29.05.2015 - 29.05.2015
Let me start with our dinner last night. We were really looking forward to Italian food and we went to a place that the owner of the hotel recommended and that was right around the corner from the hotel. She said it was a place locals like to go, and that is always a good sign. Coming from expensive Switzerland, we couldn't believe how much food we got for our money. I had a salad, a pesto pasta dish, water, wine and dessert, It was sooooooo good. Italian food in Italy cannot be beat. I know this picture looks like a bowl of worms, but take my word for it. It was awesome!
So today we got up, had breakfast in the hotel, and walked to the train station to catch a train to Turin. The train takes two hours to get there and we were in a fairly empty train so it was a comfortable ride. Our main purpose for the trip was to see the Shroud of Turin which is on display right now. This is a pretty rare occurrence so it was something we were really interested in seeing. We arrived in Turin about 11:30 and it was about a mile walk to where the Shroud is. One thing that Turin is known for is the covered sidewalks. The stores along the main route have really expensive stores.
You then come to a square where there are a couple of churches right next to each other. They are pretty cool, but unfortunately there was a stage set up in the square for a concert of some sort so you couldn't get a good view. This is the best I could do. I bought a postcard with them on it so at least I will have that.
Then we walked further up the road and came to another square. These guys were performing. The guy on top has to be sitting on something, but we couldn't figure it out. [Edited to add: my guess is there is a rod in his sleeve connected to the pole he is holding and that rod leads to a seat of some kind.]
There is a church on the square that looks really plain on the outside and we had some time to kill so we decided to stop in. And we are so glad we did! It is really beautiful -- octagonal in shape and marble everywhere. In the corners there are these little nooks with paintings inside that you can only see if a light is shined directly into them. There was a guy there with a big flashlight who would show them to you if you asked. You can see that in the pictures below. The last one is looking up into the dome. I had to take this about a dozen times to get it centered. I really like it.
By this time it was about an hour before our Shroud appointment so we decided to figure out where it was. It was really hard to find because it is not well-marked. We first went right to the church where the Shroud is, but a volunteer there told us we needed to go back to an information center where the church we saw earlier was. So we went there and the guy there showed us where to go. It was probably about half a mile away across a big park. We eventually found it. Clearly this whole thing is designed for huge crowds. I have heard that on weekends it is really crowded, but today there weren't that many people.
First you have to go through a metal detector. Then there is a covered walkway back to where the Shroud is. There are a lot of volunteers along the way making sure you go the right direction. Eventually you come to a stopping point where you wait for your turn to go in. I imagine when it is crowded it takes a long time to do this. They even have bathrooms and rest areas along the way.
Eventually they bring you into a room where they show you a short video about what you will see on the Shroud. It shows what the different areas of the body are and how they are marks from the wounds from nails, the crown of thorns, etc. That took only about two or three minutes and then you walk into the church. We were lucky to get right in the front row. As soon as everyone is in, there are a couple of prayers said in Italian and then you leave. So you are only in there maybe five minutes.
The body on the Shroud is pretty faint and it is hard to make out very much, so the video they showed before we went in was really helpful. When we walked in, there was a sign that seemed to indicate you can take pictures without a flash. I took one right when we got in as we were among the first in line. When I went to take another one, I was told no pictures were allowed. So I guess my picture is somewhat illicit. I am glad I got one though.
The whole thing from when we checked in to when we left the church took about 40 minutes. We read on Trip Advisor that for some people it took hours. And based on how it was set up, I can see how that would be. I am glad we went on a non-busy day.
When we were done we toured the royal palace. It was opulent like Versailles except of course not as big. And unlike Versailles, you weren't surrounded by a whole bunch of people so it was more enjoyable to see.
After that we made our way back to the train station to go back to Genoa. Of course, we got there just as a train to Genoa was leaving and the next one wasnt' for two hours. There aren't many places to eat in the station so we went to McDonalds for a sundae. Eventually we got back to Genoa. On our walk back we stopped at a bakery and got some cookies and pastries to eat tonight after dinner. We had fun trying to communicate with the owners of the place. They would tell us how to say each in Italian and we had to say it before they gave us our choices. They even gave us one cookie for free! We are definitely going back tomorrow.
We decided to go right to dinner so we went to another place the hotel owner recommended for basic pasta dishes. I had a spinach ravioli with meat sauce.
Patti had penne pasta, also with meat sauce. We never really looked at the prices so were shocked when the total for our pasta and drinks came to only 11 euros. That is total, not each. Italy is awesome!