Torino is in the far northwest of Italy and several hours out of my way. And yet, I followed through with some plans a few of us made at the Pisa hostel. Canadian Eric and I were urged to come visit two other guests that we had had some amusing conversation with. If we made the hike, they would show us around.
One was named Ellian, originally from Colombia, and the other was Gabriella who hailed from Brazil. They had both lived in Italy for most of their lives, so I would consider them locals. Their English abilities were only marginally better than my Spanish, but I’m good enough at overcoming language barriers by now that it was no problem.
Elli met me at the station, and after I checked into my room we hurried off to a cafe where the others were waiting. The plan was to get some dinner at one their favorite places. Pretty much every aspect of this evening was outside of my budget, but I couldn’t come all the way to Italy without having at least one proper dinning experience. This massive tower is a famous Torino landmark and also Europe’s tallest piece of masonry.
We ordered a nice white wine, sparkling waters, and a variety of pasta dishes. While waiting, they brought out some bread baked with parmigiana to nibble on. Eventually came the most incredible Italian food I’ve ever had. A sheet of dough was baked over a massive bowl of pasta. There were prawns, small octopuses and muscles inside, and the amount of seafood flavor that they were able to imbue into the sauce was incredible. I was so happy
The worker failed to understand why I wanted tap water to drink, they just drink the bubbly stuff here. They brought out an Italian liquor for us to try as well. It was the color of Mountain Dew and tasted like the lemon jelly beans. Not bad. After working through a bit more conversation we settled a bill that came to a very reasonable15 euros each. These were the only pictures of our faces from that night. Kindly make nothing of them, as this was no double date.
The rest of the night consisted of walking around to enjoy some of the sights of Torino and also grab a drink or two along the way. The atmosphere of the place was pretty baroque and they also pointed out where the royal Mussolini family was living. They explained that many people still like them and would support the country’s return to a dictatorship.
By 2am we were drained so I took a cab back to my not so centrally located hotel to pass out. This night was another of my classic international experiences; four people from four different countries. I had to take another long train the next day to get to the eastern side of the country, but my detour was definitely worth seeing some familiar faces to talk and share a good meal. I also improved my Spanish a bit as well.