Parole: avanti (forward, onward, etc), museo (museum), regionale (regional)
Everybody knows that Monday is the worst day of the week. Usually it is because you have to return to work or classes. As the US celebrated Memorial Day, I had the day off from work experiences by coincidence. So, I took advantage of this fact, and got on an early train to Torino.
My train from Parma to the Torino Porta Nova station was not the most confortable that I have been on. I had two options: Take a 5:57am regionale train (the type we normally take) and get there around 9 for 14 euro, or take the 7:17am IC (intercity class) train and arrive at 10 for 22 euros. I wanted the extra hour of sleep and didn’t know what I could do in Torino at 9am, so I went for the latter option. My next option would get me there at 1:30pm, which would not give me enough time in the Museo Nazionale dell’ Automobile, which would close by 2.
That was my first mistake. When I bought my ticket, the machine warned me that there was only second class standing room available. By this point, this was my only option.
The trained pulled up to platform 3 and it seemed like it was a mix overnight bed cars and “cuccetti”, which are cars in which ¾ of the width is made up of “rooms” with 6 first class seats, and the remaining part of the train is an aisle with seats that fold out into it. This is where I had to stay for the 3 hour journey. With every stop I had to stand up to let people go by, carelessly banging their suitcases against me, reflecting their attitude of returning to work after the weekend. The only windows that opened were in the rooms and at the very front and the back of the train, and they only opened a little bit.
I finally arrived, grabbed my key to the city—the Torino Card for free access to museums, attractions, and public transport—and headed to the Museo Nazionale dell’ Automobile. I Google mapped it the previous evening and knew approximately where it was, and I saw where it was on tourist office’s map.
Forty-five minutes later, I was beginning to wonder just where this museum was. I stopped and asked two middle aged men, Dove il Museo dell’ Automobile? And they responded with, Uno chilometre avanti. I was on the right track. They asked me a few times if I was really an American, why I was in Torino, and after a good talk, they asked for my phone number.
I arrived at the Museo after a little over an hour of walking. Apparently on the map, it doesn’t indicate where the Museo actually is, but rather it tags it in small print as being 3 km south of the border of the map. Missed that part.
The Museo is full of history and cars, and is brand new, having just opened this spring. The first section concentrated on the evolution of the car, how the design is constantly changing, and that there is no way to know what the cars will actually be like in the future until we get there. There were hundreds of cars from many eras in automotive design. One section featured the evolution of the wheel, appropriately sponsored by Michelin. The museum had a general concentration on European and Italian cars, but there was an occasional Oldsmobile or Cadillac. The second section featured racecars, manufacturing, road signs and car parts. The final section featured super sports cars and concept cars.
After the Auto Museum, I took at 10 minute bus ride back to the city center. I wandered around to some of the landmarks, but many were closed because it was a Monday. I knew this from when I did some research on the city, and I was there because that was when I had the opportunity to go. I really wanted to go up into the peak of the Cinema museum, housed in the Mole Antonelliana building, but that was closed as well. From there I would have had a spectacular view of the Alps.
After some more exploring of palaces, castles, piazzas, parks, and the regional museum of natural science, it was time to go home.
Always take cheap, “regionale” trains in Italy. (Unless you are going a long distance, or would like the luxury of the high speed rail). The regionale trains are generally comfortable and not overcrowded compared to the intercity train that I took to Torino.
Don’t be a tourist on a Monday. A lot of businesses and attractions are closed Mondays. This may have been my only chance to stop in, and to see the Automobile Museum, so I took advantage of it, even though many other things I would have liked to see were closed.
Read the fine print on the map. Some things you want to see may be more than a reasonable walking distance away.
It is day 100 of my semester in Italy, and I only have 10 more days, but I still have so many more things I would like to do and to see!
Tags : problems, scenery, Torino, train
Categories : Trips