We’d only been back in France for a day, and we were already leaving it, heading from Lake Annecy into Italy for our final overnight halt in Turin. We’d spent a bit more time in Annecy in the morning that we had in most of our stops taking in the atmosphere and the lovely weather, before making the 150 mile route into Italy. We went a bit more direct this time, taking the hit of the toll roads to save time as the non-toll option was a bit too indirect.
We approached Turin from an industrial direction, driving though some slightly shady-looking residential areas to our hotel on the outskirts of town. We checked into our hotel – the first time anyone looked at our passports on the entire trip – and rested up for a bit, figuring out which direction to head to see some of the more interesting parts of the city. We discovered which way to go to head away from the scarier places into the city proper, and sat down for a late lunch in this little spot.
I half expected three Minis to go speeding past at any moment.
Once we were in the main part of town, things seemed a bit more pleasant, the roads more intact. I know it would have been more interesting to have wandered around the lesser beaten paths instead, but I’m not that brave yet, so instead we found ourselves in the Turin equivalent of Regent Street.
Near one of the piazzas I saw a bunch of kids who were quite happy to smile for the camera (despite not being asked – I’m not comfortable doing that in English, let alone in Italian).
In the Piazza San Carlo, we found this statue of a man on a horse. You don’t see those every day. Unless you happen to live near to a statue of a man on a horse, of course.
We walked out to Giardino Sambuy, a park at the other end of the road we were walking along, where we found many men playing cards on the benches. There was a lot about Turin that was stereotypical: the drivers, the thin attractive young women carrying bags from fashion boutiques, the fact that everyone under 40 was good looking whilst everyone over 40 was, er, saggy. As they say, stereotypes do sometimes have some level of grounding in truth.
You can probably see most of the stereotypes in various spots in this street scene, like a politically incorrect Where’s Wally.
I’ll be honest, at this point as I try to retrace my steps in Google Maps to give an idea of where we were in the city as I took these images, I’m a bit lost. For the purposes of brevity I shall resort to pointing and saying, ‘there’s a thing’.
Like this thing.
There was also this piazza, with a pointy thing behind it, which looked quite nice with a bicycle passing through the frame.
We occasionally were able to cut down side streets which looked a bit interesting.
Like many of the cities we visited across Europe, Turin has trams.
As we headed back towards our hotel, I was a little more confident to take photographs in some of the less-touristy areas of the city we had passed through earlier.
A bit further on, there was a market that had been closed up, giving it an unwelcoming feel.
We continued back, with me photographing along the way.
The main road by our hotel was a bit unusual. There was a main road with two minor roads on either side. It all seemed a bit excessive, and was a bit confusing when it came to trying to cross the road.
With the lighting, I decided it was a suitable shot for a HDR exposure, which worked pretty well.
At this point, the camera went back in my bag and we returned to our hotel.
The next morning, we head breakfast and got on our way pretty quickly, and headed straight for our final stop on the Côte d’Azur, taking the Col de Turini on the way for some rally/Tour de France roadage which was a lot of fun to drive.
For anyone keeping score at home, this is the rough route down through Europe we took – all told some 1,300 miles from our flat in Twickenham to the campsite in the south of France (which seems to sometimes not show thanks to Google Maps occasionally forgetting the way over the Furka Pass).
Over the Alps