Great Whernside

27th June, yes this is a bit late.
This was my final bit of training before the Italian job. I’d cocked up because I’d booked a day of annual leave but then completely forgot to block it out in my diary. Then I gaily filled up the entire day with appointments that couldn’t be cancelled.
After our lovely weekend in London for Liz’s 50th on Hampstead Heath but not in the cruising zone, we stayed in a B&B in somewhere a bit obscure in Leicestershire where we got told off for being late. I was hot and definitely not in the mood for this so grumbled. We got home the next morning at about midday and this gave me lots of time to get up to the Dales for a quick hill walk.
Arrived at Kettlewell, whizzed up Great Whernside and back down very quickly. Knee behaved moderately well.



Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Advertisements

Stoodley Pike

24th July
Lovely afternoon being teased mercilessly by my nearest and dearest. Started at Mankinholes and walked up the flagstones and across to the Pike, down via the newly gravelled Pennine Way section before turning left to return – the new path makes a huge difference to the walk, gaiters were no longer needed to get through the bog and it’s been well done, a pleasant change from the foot crunching flags on lots of the other nearby bits of the Pennine Way. Although this is quite a short walk we managed to make it last for hours!

Last of the Summer Wine!

Look at those legs!

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Save

Italy 10th and 11th July (Novara and Stresa)

Saturday 10th July
We said our good byes to all the hotel staff, lots of kisses all round. Mel got all the many huge bags into the car and we set off about 9.30 and went into Aosta for a wander round. It’s a very interesting old town with loads of Roman history, we walked through the Praetorian gate and had a look at the arch of Augustus. All with a backdrop of big mountains. We had lunch outside of pizza and a bready things with herbs whose name I’ve forgotten.

Mel and Liz took us all to Turin airport and dropped us off around 2.30. So farewell to them and farewell to Annie and Caroline who went off to get their plane.
Having spent a good while at Turin airport before, I knew where to go to pick up my hire car. I got a nice little Fiesta with air con. A helpful Hertz man told me how to get out of the airport and onto the autostrada to get towards Vercelli.
No problems with the motorway driving although I didn’t understand that I had to press a big red button at the toll booth but a very bored voice told me what to do, and as it was disembodied I told him what to do once I had pressed the beeg red burton!
I reached Vercelli around 4.00 after driving past a huge field of solar panels, lots of fields of corn and for my disbelievers, endless endless fields of rice!
Vercelli was not that lovely, it was really hot, about 34C so I parked up in a big sleepy square (Piazza Pietro Paietta) with a huge statue of some old chap in it and set off to try and find the tourist information office. I saw a carabinieri officer and asked him where it was. He was very helpful so I set off according to his instructions. I didn’t quite follow them to the letter, which was pure luck, as I looked up to check the street I was on, what should I see but Vicolo Evasio Radice! (StreetView shows the street) Fantastic! Even though my great great grandfather was a key figure in the Risorgimento, his street is a bit blooming dreary and very small, with not a lot happening in it. I had been warned about this. Took a quick photo and got back to the air con in the Fiesta. I left Vercelli at 4.30, perhaps not giving it its full due but finding the intense heat of the plains a bit wearing.

I arrived in Novara some time after 5.00 and it turned out to be much bigger than I had imagined. I stopped at Carrefour and bought some water very cheaply, drove round a bit more but my homing instinct wasn’t working any more. Stopped outside the carabinieri, at this point still wondering whether this was the police or an army barracks, no matter, a very helpful woman officer took me to her office, whipped out a map, showed me where to go, did a reduced size photocopy for me, and drew arrows on it. She was great and it worked like a dream and 5 minutes later I was parking outside the Hotel Cavour. The man on reception opened up the electronic gates and I did a quick reverse and was safely parked up. The hotel and the room were fine, so I had a shower and rang home.
Went out about 7.15 for a wander around the old town, but having to pass disreputable youths lounging around the bus stops. The hotel is very near the station. I found a nice looking resto and sat outside as it was very steamy and humid (because of the conditions being so good for rice, the drawback being the vast quantities of mosquitoes).
I had gnochetta in gorgonzola sauce and yes it was yummy. I should have stopped at this point but of course you have to order the first 2 courses at the same time. This was followed by an enormous steak which was enough for 2 people, and salad which was enough for 4. I ate about half of it and washed it down with beer and water. It was far too much food and made me feel even hotter.
Back at the hotel, I had another shower to try and cool down as was yet again, drenched in sweat. Put the air con on full, but my stomach felt a bit overloaded. I was better when I got cooler.
I have never yet been to Italy and not been way too hot. Memo: must try in winter!

Aosta Pretorian gate
Aosta Augustan gate
Vicolo Evasio Radice – great great grandfather
Vicolo Evasio Radice – hmm
Cavour, Novara
Novara
Aosta
Aosta
Sunday 11th July
The last day of the holiday. I had a nice breakfast in the basement and made up a sandwich for my lunch. I spent at least an hour repacking my bags. Got off about 10.00 with more helpful driving instructions from the nice man on reception who said he had been very hot last night too! I just imagined the Italians were used to living in hot humidity but he clearly didn’t like it either.
I drove north again passing lots of paddy fields and took a photo as evidence for the naysayers! There were lots of cyclists in a race (great for Caroline), lots of motorcyclists not in a race but nearly all totally inadequately dressed. Onto Lago Maggiore which was not too far and stopped to take a photo when this huge lake came into view.
Arriving in Stresa which has giant and very over the top, in fact can only be described as “gay” hotels, in the best sense of the word. Hotel Iles de Borromees, Hotel Bristol.
I drove down a cobbled street to park next to the shore for the cable car. The car park was a coin machine i.e. self service plus you twirl your own supplied parking disc to the start time. It was also a very small car park, maybe 40 cars at most. In order to make the car park work, there were at least 7 car park attendants. I could not help but think this was overdoing it as they had in fact, no work whatsoever to do!
I bought a ticket for the quite old cable car which goes up to the peak of Matterone with stop offs for the Alpine Gardens, included in the ticket price. The car goes over the lake which was fun and I got out half way up to see the gardens, mainly because I wanted to go to the loo! The loo was a hole in the floor, which was a bit tricky with my knee at that point. The gardens had been set up so as to show the full wealth of Alpine flora although it’s not an Alpine setting as such and frankly I’d seen more when we out during the week!
I returned to the cable car, just in the nick of time as they were about to knock off for a few hours for lunch. Went up to the top cable car station, and then picked up the chair lift which took me very gently up the last 200m or so to the top. At this point it was still very misty and so no views, the summit had its ubiquitous cross, and what looked like a mobile phone mast. I ate my sandwich on the grass and then walked back to the cable car as the chair lift was stopped for lunch.
I had a look in a resto but it was full up so then I stopped at a cafe instead and bought a bottle of ice cold water to take away and drank an espresso.
I hopped back on the cable car and reached the bottom about 3.00. I was still very hot so put my feet in the Lago – the water was warm and very clean.
I drove to the airport managing to take a wrong turn but it was OK as I had plenty of time, but very poor sign posting is all I can say. I then had a mad moment when I was looking for Terminal 3 of Milan airport but there isn’t one and what I wanted was Terminal 1. I was flying from T1 Milan to T3 Manchester and had got muddled up in the heat. The garages appeared to all be shut so I returned the car to Hertz and had to pay them to fill it up which cost me more, perhaps I should have tried harder but I was tired and very hot by this time.
The airport was very busy but I checked in with a very pleasant Flybe woman, big contrast to evil Flybe woman at Manchester. I told her she was not to lose my bags!
I wanted the loo but it was closed for cleaning and so I ended up walking the entire length of the terminal building in my search for one. My knee was hurting as I was weighted with my cabin bag, also had hurt it moving my big bags from the car to the trolley.
I ate another aubergine, mozzarella and courgette sandwich, it’s called a something or other campagnolo and is very nice. Then I drank all the rest of my water so as not to have to lose it and so as to be fully hydrated.
I went to the departure lounge and then to the gate. The plane left about 40 minutes late but caught up well.
I gave up my seat so that a mother and daughter could sit together which meant I ended up with a very lovely Italian astro physicist on his way to an international conference at Manchester uni. His second baby was due on the 17th so he was having a last trip before all that fun. I helped him with £ i.e. which coins were which and with how to get to Oxford Road from the airport via Piccadilly.
The bags all turned up very quickly. I found my car and saw I’d left the window open. It was only 17C in Manchester so I took off my shorts and put my jeans on in the car park. The M62 was shut so I took the slow way home across the moors arriving about 11.00 where it was only 13C and a bit of shock after the big heat. It’s now a week later when I’m writing this and I’m still cold!!
Not reaching the summit has really dented my confidence about mountains and I’ve been pretty down all week. It’s not that I didn’t have a lovely holiday, I did and the Gran Paradiso National Park is absolutely stunning – I should like to go there again and walk some more but I’m reassessing what it’s all about for me. Maybe I don’t need to do summits. That said, I’m still thinking about some smaller summits over here…
Garibaldi, Aosta, Hotel Cavour in background
Paddy fields
Stresa old cable car
Stresa chair lift
From cable car
From cable car
Island in Lago Maggiore
Lago Maggiore
 Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Italy 5th – 9th July (Valsavarenche)

Monday 5th July
This day’s breakfast was excluding flies and seemed a bit better, croissant with jam inside, not sure about this, I like them plain.
The shoes/luggage superstore was shut until 3.00 in the afternoon so this was no good but Bennets was open and had a household section with very cheap luggage in it, so I bought a holdall on wheels for €19. I then had a coffee in the shopping centre which was nice but decided not to linger as the customers weren’t so delightful. I got a taxi to Stazione Dora. The queer ticket girl told me to go to platform 1 but actually the train went from platform 2, this meant a rush to get onto the train. Very nice train, new and air conditioned and quick to get to the airport. Annie and Caroline were sunning themselves next to the taxi park! I got under a shady tree and we just waited a couple of hours for Mel and Liz. We all got food – I had a huge aubergine, courgette and mozzarella sandwich as well as my own home made sandwich.
Lovely to see Mel and Liz, Liz is now the 7th person with an arm in a sling! We drove up to the mountains which takes about an hour and a half and stop in the village of Villeneuve where we stopped to get a map for Mel and then had a beer in a cafe. I rang home in case this was the end of my mobile signal.
After another half hour we were at the Hotel Genzianella which is a lovely old hotel in the hamlet of Pont near the head of the Valsavarenche valley which is in the Valle d’Aosta. Now that we were in the countryside everything was all clean and lovely.
We got settled in and I have the bed near the window. We devised some rules like a rota for showering, and no hairs in the plughole! The room was lovely – all wood panelled but the bathroom, complete with bath, is very dark. A and C wrinkle up their noses at the idea that someone might use the bidet!
We had dinner, the first course was pasta with ham and cheese, the second was slices of pork braised in wine, mashed spuds and mixed veg. Finished off with creme caramel.
We went to bed early. Not exactly a peaceful night but quite long (9.5 hours) so we must have had some sleep! Annie sleep talking at first which gave me a jump as had forgotten she did this.

View from hotel
Airport reflection!
Tuesday 6th July
Breakfast of muesli and yoghurt, sweet croissant, ham and cheese and an espresso. We, as in A, C, M and I set off just after 9.00, leaving Liz with the Italian phrase book and various supplies rejected from our picnics.
We went up the road through the remains of Pont, sad old timber houses left to rot, and past the other big hotel and the campsite. Beautiful walk going up and up – lots of Alpine flowers, a marmot, a chamois, big birds of prey and some wolf poo! In general, we walked in the order Mel, Annie, Caroline and me taking up the rear. I was a puffing Billy all the way up. It gradually cooled as we rose in height which was lovely. At Grand Collet (nearly 3000m) we stowed the bags and walked up the boulders a bit more. This gave us fab views across to France. We had our first lunch up here.
We slid down some steep scree to a big wide U shaped valley. On the plateau we had our second lunch. We met a couple of gay girls and A got very excited! It was flat for a good long stretch, following the river. Lovely clear rushing water and falls. We reached a cross with a plastic pink crucifix on it looking over to Gran Paradiso. It seemed quite a way down from here but my knee was being a bit rubbish. Whilst having a short rest I took my hat off and forgot to put it back on.
Soon back at the hotel for beer with Liz. I had a shower in M and L’s room as A and C managed to dismember the rota system causing themselves great confusion! A and I went to the campsite shop and I bought a new hat, a better one, baseball style with a flap at the back to keep my neck shaded like a French Foreign Legion hat. Seeing as how both hats made me look stupid there wasn’t much in it! Whilst I was busy buying the hat, A was busy chatting up the girls from earlier, so this was a bit of luck for her, and I still hadn’t really noticed them! I also bought a lip salve as mine had disappeared.
Dinner was pasta and ham, pork and polenta and salad followed by an eggy pudding – bit heavy. Lots of wine.
We went into the lounge where a fire was burning because the bloody football was on the telly with a great crowd of Dutch people watching it. We sort of supported Uruguay to annoy them. I had a sip of L’s genepi – nice! but I had a headache so went to bed, I had thought I’d be able to escape football in the mountains. Our beds here have 2 blankets and a big cover on them.
Camp site at Pont
Let’s all play with our cameras
Head of the Valsavarenche
Genzianella
GP in the background

Wednesday 7th July
We left the hotel at 8.50, a slow, steady climb through the forest all along the side of the river. Very lush and green. We went all the way to the head of the river and the first snow/glacier ice. At this point we had our first lunch.
After lunch it was straight into the ice axe arrest, we did this in the following ways, getting it right and then moving onto the next, more challenging way of falling.

  1. Feet first, on back – left and right sides.
  2. Face first, on front – both sides
  3. Head first, on back – both sides
This was tiring as each time we had to go back up our slides to start again, thus requiring a second lunch!
We moved further on up the glacier to 2550m and then practised walking in crampons. Up a slope, down a slope, across and up, across and down. This was harder this year than it had been last year, partly because of my knee not being as good as it could be (M and I worked out that my knee goes “back a long way”!)
After all this, we went back to the hotel, we only saw 2 people on our whole way up and down. We went through the campsite, there was a hat very similar to mine that someone had put on top of a big pole but it wasn’t mine. C and I asked in the shop, which was plunged in darkness, making shopping even more fun, for snow baskets for our poles. Both C and I were using our poles a lot to take pressure off our respective ankle and knee. We had to explain that we had no money on us and would return later. Back at the hotel for a beer and then C went off and got our baskets which cost €3 for a pair. I had another shower in M and L’s room and then rang home from the big rock across from the hotel.
Liz had found a hat, which was very similar to mine but not mine, however I gratefully accepted it as it was better than mine! I also found my lip salve which had somehow got under the bed.
M came and told me and C what to pack which was fun just flinging stuff out, got our packs nice and light, but he could not be persuaded to go for soft shell at all!! L had given me a couple of stamps which I then promptly lost during the flinging.
Dinner was mushroom risotto, turkey and gravy plus chips and Swiss chard followed by choc mousse or ice cream, not sure which but I couldn’t quite manage it.
There was more ruddy football but less intrusive. M and I shared a whisky.
Each night I have a short read using my headlamp but don’t like to overdo this as A and C are trying to sleep and C sleeps very lightly.

Head of Valsavarenche
Most arresting!
Blimey!

When I was in the French Foreign Legion …
Pont
Thursday 8th July
A leisurely start but we were ready by 9.00. Farewell to L. A nice walk up to the Federico Chabod Rifugio which is at 2750m, we started just down the road from the hotel at 1861m.
The refuge is lovely, clean, welcoming and civilised, the total opposite of the Gouter Hut from last year. It has flush loos, loo paper and running water and electricity.
I had pasta and tomato sauce for lunch – huge portions. C and M had gnocchi with leek and Gorgonzola which they said was delicious and I developed a hankering for this.
We had a bit of a rest after making up our beds, also nice and clean – cleaner than a YHA at least. We had a room with 6 bunks in it. I was in the top one above M, and C and A are in the bottom ones. A had Stephano the guide above her, so to speak!
We then went off for what turned into quite a big walk along path 10a, going up to about 3200m. It was quite exposed in places and there was some scree so we said we didn’t want to go back that way. We got up to the snow field with M testing the snow very carefully. To get down we went down the boulder field, some of which were enormous. We had a scary moment when a big slab had moved a bit when M passed it, a bit more when A got to it and then when C was at it, it just shot off down the mountain. M and A moved out of the way really fast and we were all ok. I was well out of its trajectory. We got back to the refuge after about 4 hours out and met Stephano the guide – a nice, gentle but firm man!
Dinner was more pasta and tomato sauce, pork slices and greasy veg. Where do all the pigs live? No pigs to be seen anywhere. I was a bit anxious about the big walk but decided to do it.
We all went to bed early after looking at the sunset. We saw the guy who ran the hotel we’d stayed in in Chamonix last year. It was very hot in the refuge and even hotter in bed, I felt roasted alive and was drenched from head to foot in sweat, just in my thin sleeping bag.
Hotel Genzianella
Looking back to hotel

Rifugio Federico Chabod

Big un
I want this wood pile

Friday 9th July 
Woke at 3.30 with swimming head, I knew immediately it was BPV (benign positional vertigo), I don’t get the paroxysmal bit. I firstly negotiated getting out of the top bunk and finding my specs, finished packing, wobbled drunkenly from side to side down the stairs to breakfast of grapefruit juice, cornflakes and milk, bread and jam and coffee. I mentioned I was feeling dizzy to Mel but didn’t go into the whole thing about BPV as usually people get completely misled by the word vertigo and don’t understand the condition.
We set off at 4.30 up the scree in the dark, headlamps aglow. I was struggling to stay upright and it was only my poles that kept me balanced. After about an hour Mel and Stephano asked if everyone was OK, I told Mel I was still dizzy and struggling, and explained about the BPV. Mel immediately understood as he has suffered from this himself. I’ve had this happen since I was a teenager and just to put the record straight it has nothing to do with altitude vertigo, for me it gets set off by stress and not enough sleep. It can go on for days or weeks but usually these days occurs quite briefly and passes off once I can get stable. I went for loads of tests about it years ago but only actually found out what it was from reading a book by Barbara Kingsolver called Prodigal Summer. In the book she actually describes a procedure which can help to clear the symptoms, the Epley manouvre, however it is not something you can do up a mountain as it involves  basically twirling yourself over and over backwards and forth whilst horizontal!! I definitely hadn’t slept very well being so hot and was a bit anxious about the climb up.
Mel and I said farewell to the girls and Stephano and set off back down to the refuge. On the way we were very privileged to watch a group of 9 or so ibex doing their clashing horns ritual for a good long time. Mel held onto me so that I could safely tip my head back and watch them without falling back through dizziness. We got to the refuge about 6.30 and left at 6.45 as M didn’t want to hang around there waiting all morning. We went straight back down to the car park in 1 hour and 45 minutes. It was a lovely cool walk and we only met a park ranger, complete with his gun. They carry guns because when the park was set up, hunters still hunted in the park and the only way to stop them hunting was to meet fire with fire. Thankfully no park ranger has had to fire his weapon. On the way to the car park, I ate half a granola bar.
Back at the hotel, Liz was much surprised to see us. I had a 2nd breakfast of coffee and 2 pains au chocolat. Mel had a coffee and went straight off back to the refuge (he did it this time in 1.5 hours!)
I had a bath and then Liz and I left the hotel at 10.30 and walked up to the big green valley we had come down on Tuesday. We were out for quite a while and I had 1 and a half granola bars but did not give any of them to the hungry fox we met! It was a lovely walk, very hot. We got back at 4.00 and A, C and S had just got back with M and so we helped them to celebrate their successful ascent of Gran Paradiso at 4061m. They said I would have hated the exposure of the very top bit.
We drank lots of beer and ate lots of crisps.
I had another bath, did a bit of packing and found my stamps. All lost items now recovered.
A herd of bullocks went up the road, very sweet and on the menu later.
Dinner was pasta and tuna, veal which was yet another item that turned out to be pork and salad. Liz and I went for a short walk to the campsite and had a look at the bullocks in their new field. Everyone was early to bed.

Ibex clash

Liz and neat bit of path
Foxy
Scabby foxy

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Lizard impersonation

Italy 3rd and 4th July 2010 (Turin)

Saturday 3rd July

I woke up at 3.30 a.m. feeling completely hideous and left the house at 4.15, managing only a cup of tea and some juice. At Manc airport at 5.00. I checked in my bags but because the flight was with Flybe for BA, I was subject to their carriage rules which did not allow my small suitcase to come in the cabin with me “because the flight is very full”, so I had to pay extra to take my bag in the hold both ways. Grrr. Straight into a long queue for coffee and a yoghurt and granola pot in Costa. I went through into departures buying some Ibuprofen for Liz and some CK for me. There was no electronic notice about the gate but suddenly the tannoy said it was the last call. Seeing as how there hadn’t been any call this was not quite true. I had a double seat all to myself and stretched out. The plane was late leaving which made me late into Milan. Then thanks to the evil lying Flybe attendant, not content with fleecing me for my bag, she sent it off into lost luggage land. This was the biggest of my several “lost and found” events of the holiday. This was the bag with all my clothes in it, not the bag with all my mountain kit in it. All I had was what I stood up in, short sleeve shirt, jeans, sweatshirt (it was chilly that early in the morning), big thick walking socks and very big Alpine walking boots! It was pretty hot in Milan – high 20s. The airport staff were very helpful and gave me claim forms and said the bag would most likely appear the next day.
Time was marching on and although my plans had given me lots of time for lunch at Milan airport, I now had no time for any refreshments or comfort break before catching my bus to Turin so just had to leap on very hungry and just a bit stressed. The bus was fine, it took about 2 hours to get to Turin, crossing a dull, flat, rotting industrial region. My first impression of Turin was dirty and rough looking. The bus dropped me off at Corso Vittorio Emanuele which is a very long road cutting Turin from East to West. I hopped in a taxi and got to my hotel – the Art Olympic, by this time I was very hot. The hotel was in a quite nice residential area, at least it didn’t feel scary unlike some of the places the bus went through. I whacked the air con up high and went shopping in the supermarket – Bennet just across the road. I bought bread, ham, tomatoes, a small pack of butter, beer and water. Also a toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel (hotels was very pongy) and a shirt, shorts and pants! I took these back and stuffed myself. Then I had a shower, washed out the clothes I’d travelled in and fell asleep.
The hotel reception sold me a Turin card for €20, this gave me free travel and free entry to museums and attractions.
Woke up a bit better so got the 72 bus into city centre. Turin buses don’t give you any information so you either have to fathom the rotten free map from the hotel or guess where you are. Not like my public transport Mecca – Geneva! I got off a bit early at Porta Susa and then walked to Piazza Castello in search of a non existent gay cafe. Instead I found a science exhibition going on in the square. Lots of great statues.
Time for another meal so I located a small resto on a side street. I ordered salad and a 3 stagione pizza with ham, artichokes and mushrooms – it was enormous so I ate the filling and left most of the base. All washed down with a big glass of beer. I missed my bus so walked up to Porta Susa and caught the next one back. I rang Mel for Annie’s phone number as I’d entered it incorrectly into my phone. I rang her and we agreed to meet the next day. This was nice as I was feeling a bit rubbish without my suitcase especially as I’d packed my nice clothes for my holiday and didn’t want to lose them.
At this point I was too hot and didn’t really like Turin much. I hadn’t slowed my pace to theirs so was still racing around.
I saw a very old man putting a sheet on the pavement and preparing for bed.
Also a tally of 4 people with their arms in slings!

Royal Palace of Turin
Palazzo Madama
Palazzo Madama




Sunday 4th July
I got up about 7.30 and had my first shower. Breakfast was ok but not startlingly delicious – cereal and yoghurt, bread and butter. There was meat and cheese but it looked sweaty and there was a fly on the croissants so I didn’t go with any of those things. The coffee was out of a self service machine and was vile. Whilst getting ready to go out, the phone rang and it was reception to say that my bag had arrived – hooray. I went and collected it straight away. The zip which holds the whole suitcase together had been totally mangled by a conveyor and once I’d opened it up, it basically fell to bits, being only held in one piece by a plastic tag. I photographed it extensively for my insurance claim. Luckily there is a luggage shop across the street so I would be able to get a bag on Monday.
I managed to get a much better map of Turin from reception and headed off on the 72 back into town. Specifically to go to the museum of the Risorgimento (to see if there was any mention of Evasio Radice, my great great grandfather and a prominent figure) but the blasted place was shut for what looked like a major refurb. so no dice there. This was quite annoying as I’d looked it up before leaving and the web site had not and still does not mention the closure.
Determined to get some use out of my Turin card I headed next to the Alpine Museum, this was up a hill called Monte dei Cappucini. I looked in the church briefly as you were not allowed to go very far in. Had my home made sandwich lunch in the shade next to the church and then went into the museum where I spent a very happy couple of hours. There is a great vista from this little hill across a very long section of the Alps. You can really see what an enormous and majestic obstacle they are. 
I went back down and met up with Annie and Caroline just near the bridge, very nice to see them and we went for a drink by the river Po and caught up a bit.
We decided to go up the Mole Antonelliana tower, this ex synagogue also houses a film museum but we didn’t really have time to look at this. The lift is glass and is very small compared with the tower. It goes right up the middle and it goes up for a minute. This felt like a long time to be dangling in the middle of nothing and I can’t say I enjoyed the ride up. At the top the view across the city is great and you can see how huge Turin is. The descent was not so bad, better the devil you know. The city is laid out very well and there are just lots of enormous squares with huge public buildings in them and always a big statue of a bigwig – Vittorio Emanuele or Carlo Alberto etc. etc. There is also a lot of graffiti on the important buildings which is really depressing. They need to adopt a zero tolerance attitude and do some heavy policing about this and the endless crap on the streets, and so do we.
I went back to my hotel on the bus accompanied by I think a Romany accordion player with his one eyed wife. He seemed to be playing in a deliberately irritating way, eventually a big Italian mama got him to give up his seat for her as she waved her OAP card at him. This was really quite a bizarre incident and reminded me of that really annoying book about accordions by Annie Proulx! This however is a link to the best ever accordion playing by the sadly missed Danny Federici, I think this is the last time he played with the E Street Band.
Another shower and then more or less straight back out to meet A and C. They were in a hotel near the Porta Nuova station (biggest station in the city), however none of the buses went there! I got off at Porta Susa with the intention of hopping on the metro to get to Porta Nuova, however big signs in the metro saying to get the no.1 bus about which the bus stops had no information. As Porta Nuova was on Corso Vittorio Emanuele I asked the next bus driver if he went there, he said yes. What he didn’t say was that he didn’t stop so we whizzed past it and then of course the bus didn’t stop for ages. This gave me a hot 20 min fast walking detour to get to A and C. I passed the most enormous monument ever of Vittorio Emanuele, an absolute whopper!
We went to a small resto on a side street. I had jumbo spaghetti with sausage and mixed salad and beer and water. Not bad, more hefty portions. A and C walked some of the way to the bus stop with me. We had planned to check out the gay scene but we were all knackered and none of the locations we’d got listed showed up for real.
On my way to the bus stop I passed through Piazza Carlo Alberto which was very fine. The science expo was holding an outdoor public interview with some scientists on a big stage with big screens like a rock concert. Loads of people were listening to this.
As I got back to the hotel it rained a bit which was lovely. I had yet another shower.
Only 2 arms in slings today.

Alpine Museum
Mole Antonelliana


Museum of the Risorgimento
Piazza Carlo Alberto
Museum of the Risorgimento
























































Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.