Torino

During this trip in Europe, we traveled by car  but also by train.  We traveled  with Trainitalia.   It was rather simple. We checked the schedule on line.  We bought our tickets ( at the counter or in a machine)  and made  sure we validated them before boarding. Our tickets were not checked all the time but we didn’t want to get a fine so we played by the rules. Traveling by train in Italy is not very expensive. We enjoyed it. We took our first train ride from Ivrea to Turin. The distance was 62 km and the cost of the ticket 5,75 Euros.

We arrived in  Turin ( we say Torino in Italian). The train station was not too far from our hotel. So , we just walked. This is when it becomes essential to travel light.  Our hotel was well located and from there we were able to walk around and get a feel of the city.

We met our friends from Australia. With them we had planned to go on a self-guided walking tour which I will talk more on another post. Let’s see what I can say about Torino.

Turin/Torino  is the capital city of Piedmont , known for its refined architecture and cuisine. The Alps rise to the northwest of the city. Stately baroque buildings and old cafes line Turin’s boulevards and grand squares like Piazza Castello and Piazza San Carlo. Nearby is the soaring spire of the Mole Antonelliana, a 19th-century tower housing the interactive National Cinema Museum.  This city is home to much of the italian automobile industry: Fiat, Lancia  and Alfa Romeo.

dsc01042

I felt it was an enjoyable city with great architecture. With a good map is it not too difficult to find its way.  Actually , our hotel provided us with a map. I will not tell everything from our time in Turin. It would be too long and not necessary interesting.

We had a full day to investigate. We were close to Piazza Castello,  Piazza Reale and Giardino Reale . We  also walked  to see  the Po  River . I found it was a bit dirty.

dsc01099

We took the metro to get to Eataly Turin  Lingotto.   Eataly is the largest Italian marketplace in the world, comprising a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery, retail items, and a cooking school. It was fun to visit. We ate well, some sandwich with grilled vegetable. In the lower floor, a huge display of bottles (for sale). I  never saw so many bottle of wine and local beer at once.

dsc01156

In the market, we saw bags of Truffle chips. Our friend David was very much interested in trying them. Truffle is  the  fruiting body  of a subterranean fungus.  They are very pricing . The season for truffle hunting starts with fall.

20160915_084238

Turin is well known as the home of the  Shroud of Turin located int he Cathedral. I never heard about it  but I was interested  to see it. According to tradition the Shroud is the burial cloth in which Jesus was wrapped after he was taken down from the cross.

dsc01175


We climbed (210 steps) the campanile of the Cathedral di San Giovanni Battista   for a view on the city.  You can see it was a cloudy day but still it was a good exercise to go up. Good  for the legs, good for the heart.

dsc01189

We walked on Via Garibaldi. Just like tourists do. There was light rain  but nothing to stop us.

dsc01257

Did you know that Turin has been  hosting  Winter Olympics ? Do you know in  what year ?  I am not giving the answer here !!   If you know  (without going on Google)  , you can post the answer  with your comment. I  can’t recall if I watched  it on television  but it is interesting to know that this city had similar experience than  Vancouver in 2010  .

The next day, we left for Alba. It will be the topic of next post. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valley of Aosta

After our time in Switzerland, we went to Italy.   How did we get there ? We drove through the Mont Blanc Tunnel , under the  Mont Blanc mountain in the Alps . It links  Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, France with  Courmayeur, Aosta Valley, Italy.  The passageway is one of the major trans-Alpine transport routes. The tunnel passes almost exactly under the summit of the Aiguille du Midi. At this spot, it lies 2480m beneath the surface, making it the world’s second deepest operational tunnel after the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which is slightly deeper. The tunnel is 11,611 km.

The Valley is rich in history. We can see many castles (as you see on this postcard)  along the highway. We did not have enough time to visit them. But we went for lunch  in Aosta.  I had delicious pasta !

20160913_091945

We visited the Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso. This  Park was the first national park to be established in Italy. It includes a large territory of high mountains, from the 800 meters of the valley bottoms to the 4,061 meters of Gran Paradiso peak. Larch and fir woodlands, wide alpine grasslands, rocks, and glaciers make up an ideal setting for the life of a rich and various wildlife and for a visit leading to the discovery of the wonderful world of the high mountains.

dsc00745

We stayed in a B & B in the  small village of Dégioz. It was very quiet as the touristic season was almost finished. From our deck, we had a nice view on the village  and the mountains.

dsc00751

Here is a typical house from this village.

dsc00765

And older man and his dog were  guarding the cows.

dsc00954

We  also visited  Cogne.  Cogne is located in the  valley with the same name  along a stream known as the Torrent  Grand Eyvia.  It is the largest municipality in the  Aosta Valley . Cogne is 140 kilometres (87 mi) from  Turin , 160 kilometres (99 mi) from  Geneva  and 26.5 kilometres (16.5 mi) from  Aosta   We had lunch outside. We enjoyed majestic view on the mountains.  A large meadow, known as the St Ursus Meadow   is located at the southern edge of the town center; the municipal statute forbids any construction works on this meadow, which has received recognition as a “Wonder of Italy”.

dsc00943

Cogne is an international center of cross country skiing with 70 kilometres (43 mi) of trails. There are also 9 kilometres (6 mi) of downhill runs, many walks on the snow and more than 140 icefalls.

In the Valley of Aosta,  Italian and French are the official languages, though much of the native population also speaks  Valdôtain,  a dialect of  Franco-Provençal, as their home language; about half of the population can speak all three languages. In Aosta, Dégioz (Valsavarenche) and Cogne, we were served at the restaurant in French.

This is a wonderful paradise where nature is at its  best.  It seems you can live without hurry to the next activity. What a  nice time we had over there with some friends. In my next post, I will share about other parts of our travel in Europe.

Thanks for reading. And if you like,  you can comment. It is always appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel in Europe (2016)

Some of you have followed my travel adventures for a while and by now you know that I travel  many weeks every year. I am lucky to be doing so because I like it.   I also like to share it with you.

This year, we had a new adventure. We visited  friends in Switzerland. It was my third visit in Geneva.  While we were there we went on a day trip to France. In Europe, it is so easy to go from one country to another. Quite different from crossing our borders here in Canada.

I wanted to visit Aix-les-Bains and Annecy. They were both interesting  towns.  We enjoyed a nice lunch at this restaurant in Aix-les-Bains. The crêpes were delicious  and the owner very friendly.  It is a custom to drink some cider with the crêpes.  And we did!

dsc00339

Aix-les-Bains  was an interesting visit as it was market day.

dsc00310

dsc00312

It is possible to buy non-pasteurized milk in a machine. 1 liter costs 1 Euro.

dsc00360

Then, we drove to Annecy,  one of the ornaments of Savoie. The purity of the lake and the beauty of its setting compels Annéciens outdoors – in good weather it seems everyone is hanging out in pavement cafes, mountain-gazing along the lakefront, swimming in the lake, or just aimlessly cycling around it.  And for us, it was a  good day to stroll in the town.  The architecture is very  nice. I liked particularly walking and looking at the old buildings.

dsc00453

dsc00478

dsc00470

More to come on my travels. Thanks for your visit and comment.

 

 

 

Let’s get out of town (TO) and explore other areas in Ontario.

Toronto is fun to explore but if you live in the city you also want to escape and enjoy   the nature. My son took advantage that we were visiting and had a car to go north of Toronto… to Blue Mountain.

In this post I will share  a few photos from that visit. Let’s go…

DSC00393

Blue Mountain. A ski hill with 42 runs and 3 terrain parks.

DSC00487

DSC00512

…with a view on the Georgian Bay.

DSC00508

The village of Blue Mountain. They like the Adirondak chairs in this area ! The first Adirondack chair was designed by Thomas Lee while vacationing in  Westport , New York, in the  Adirondack Mountains  in 1903. Also called a  Muskoka chair  in Canada, it is a simple chair made of wood or man made materials, generally used outdoors. Originally made with 11 flat wooden boards, it features a straight back and seat and wide armrests.

DSC00459

…or maybe you would like to try those one,  ski style  in case you do not know what to do with old skis.

DSC00464

Old truck can be use for decoration !

DSC00471

Collingwood is a town with nice murals.

DSC00418

DSC00566-1

DSC00569

 

DSC00575

…and then we went to Wasaga Beach. Wasaga Beach is situated along the longest freshwater beach in the world, it is a popular summer tourist destination, located along the southern end of Georgian Bay, approximately two hours north of Toronto, and neighbours, to the west, the town of Collingwood. Wasaga Beach is situated along 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) of sandy beach on Nottawasaga Bay and the winding Nottawasaga River.    A record 18 endangered piping plovers have been spotted in Wasaga Beach. Piping Plover are nesting there.

DSC00561

DSC00559

It was nice to walk on the board walk. Many people were enjoying the beach on a nice sunny day.

20160627_133216

Fun to be outside and discovering new places.  I enjoyed sharing it with you.

Thanks so much for your comments .

Next week,  I will share story and photos  from my recent trip in Europe.

 

 

Toronto

 

Hello ! Bonjour!  Buongiorno! Buenos dias ! If you follow me and read my blog, I just posted about Barcelona last week. Today it will be about CANADA. But  again I have more about Europe to  share  very soon.

Toronto, the capital of the province of Ontario, is a major Canadian city along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore. It’s a dynamic metropolis with a core of soaring skyscrapers, all dwarfed by the iconic CN Tower. Toronto also has many green spaces, from the orderly oval of Queen’s Park to 400-acre High Park and its trails, sports facilities and zoo.

I will show you the Toronto I saw during my  visit at the end of June (2016).

DSC00053

The CN Tower is a 553.33 m-high concrete communications and observation tower.

DSC00033

Maybe you like  to go to a baseball game and watch the only Canadian team: The Blue Jays. They play at the  Rogers Centre.

DSC00030

If you like to taste beer,  Steam Whistle is there. The brewery occupies Bays 1-14 within a building known as the John Street Roundhouse at  Roundhouse Park. The company produces a premium pilsner lager packaged in distinctive green glass bottles and a non-twist cap.

DSC00045

Maybe you would like to ride a bike. It is possible to  rent one. The helmet is not mandatory in Ontario.

DSC00021

Going to Toronto Islands Park is a nice idea on a hot day.

DSC00061

View of Toronto while we were on the ferry.

DSC00072

The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is a lighthouse located on the Toronto Islands in Toronto, Ontario. Begun in 1808, it is the oldest existing lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and one of Toronto’s oldest buildings. Deactivated in 1956.

DSC00093

Beaches on the islands are  fun for many people.

DSC00105

And the Far Enough Farm with lots of animals is an interesting activity.

DSC00114

DSC00130

DSC00144

To visit Toronto, we can use the street car  or just walk.

DSC00361

We spent some time in the Distillery. Located east of downtown , it contains numerous cafés, restaurants, and shops housed within heritage buildings of the former  Gooderham and Worts Distillery . The 13 acres (5.3 ha) district comprises more than forty heritage buildings and ten streets, and is the largest collection of  Victorian-era  industrial architecture in North America. The district was designated a  National Historic Site of Canada  in 1988.

DSC00244

Toronto has lots of murals.

DSC00765

DSC00809

And of course there is always  a church to photograph. Here is St-Mary’s church.

DSC00326

Just outside down-town, we saw the Scarborough Bluffs.

Bluffs.28.06

DSC00643

This was a quick tour of Toronto.  Thanks for reading.