Joined April 2017
  • Day5

    Sights to see in Turin

    November 1, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 46 °F

    1. Walk from station up Via Roma to the main square
    2. Palazzo Madama, outside. Medieval at the back.
    3. Walk down Via Po as far as the river. See Superga in the distance.
    4. Superga. Access by bus and funicular railway.
    5. Lingotto for car museum, Fiat factory.
    6. Morning market in Piazza della Reppublica, especially the fish market.
    7. Piazza de la Castello, including park.
    8. Egyptian Museum
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  • Day5

    Last day

    November 1, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 52 °F

    At breakfast, we went for double espressos. MTC added water. I took mine like a man. Restrained myself food-wise, a little, compared to yesterday.
    While MTC organised the packing, I went to the station to get the times of trains to Bergamo. Checked out. Paid the €3.70 per person per night city tax. Left the bags and headed out.
    Went up to the Royal gardens at the back of the palace. Note to self: a good spot for a daddy-crèche if ever required. A few deckchairs.
    Headed all the way down Via Po to the river and cut back towards town. We were looking for a specific pizza restaurant, highly recommended on TA. Closed for All Saints Day. We got back to town and lunched at Seven Up. Pizza (3/5) and house wine. Sat outside, in the shade, shirt-sleeves. Everyone else all wrapped up against the cold, apart from two pups behind me in teeshirts. Though one of them had to put his jacket over his shoulders, poor pet.
    Coffee standing at the bar in Gatsby. Gelato at Conogelato which seems to be part of the Mood bookshop-restaurant operation.
    Wandered up Garibaldi and Milano to the Callaghan shoe shop to check if they had got in the rucksack MTC was looking at the previous day. Closed! MTC's disbelief that shop owner would have the bag today vindicated. Plus the fact that the shop was chiuso added further insult to injury.
    Back past the square with Cafe Pan where we dined last evening. Stopped off in Mood for a glass of the usual. Then hotel for the bags and on to station. Catching the 15:54 to Milan, change there for Bergamo. A mild panic at Milan station as platform for Bergamo train not posted, though later trains' platforms were. Sorted and seated.
    Weather perfect every day. Shirt-sleeves until about 6 p.m.
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  • Day4

    Tuesday evening

    October 31, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Much busier in town this evening compared to yesterday. Popped into Mood for a wine (the usual: Nebiollo and Arneis). Sat inside this time among the books. Literature takes the stigma off booze. I am Dylan Thomas or maybe Brendan Behan. I am half cut. The Nebbiolo smells oaky though Wikipedia does not mention this as a characteristic of the wine. Shows you what Wikipedia knows. I take a picture of the bottle, for future reference. The food and wine in Turin prompts a discussion about a driving holiday sometime. Stay outside the city, get a train in and load up on wines and sauces etc. to bring home.
    MTC convinces me that she was right not to buy the Furla bag she had been looking at. It's too big, she says. I agree, though I only have a vague concept of the appropriateness of bag-sizes. MTC later points out a lady with a bag of similar size. It does look big. I will retain this new knowledge for my interview with Massimo Dutti. I saw their ad for a Fashion Buyer in Milan. I know I am perfect for the job. Especially on the subject of bag-sizes.
    Walked the full length of Via Garibaldi, more than a kilometre, each way. Cool Xmas lights, even though it is technically, and actually, still October. Lots of kids out trick or treating. Mostly girls. They go into the shops for sweets. Some adults in cool costumes too. Seemed to be out late for the age group of the kids involved. Not my place to judge, but lots of whiny kids the next day. As a committed late-night drinker, I am in no position to decry the tragic consequences of the combination of excessive sugar and late nights.
    After an abortive attempt by MTC to buy a rucksack in the Callaghan shop on Via Milano (MTC thinks lady in shop is lying when she says she is getting a new one in tomorrow), we dropped into an old haunt from the previous visit, "Bar" on Via XX Settembre, for a glass of wine. Stuttechini of salami and quiche. Some trick/treaters came in while we were there.
    Headed up to Via Santa Chiara to look for Mercanti restaurant. This time we walked the full length of the long, long street searching. Couldn't find it. Number 13. On the way back we checked exactly which block it was on. MTC spotted it. The name is inside the porch, just in case a passer-by might see it. No reservation - no table! MTC does not believe that they had no tables.
    We were passing through the busy Piazza IV Marzo on our way back to town, speculating as to where we might dine. Recklessly, we decided to take pot luck. Had a very nice meal in Cafe Pan. Pep Guardiolo's older brother was at the table next to us. Definitely him. The square commemorates the signing in 1848 of the Statuto Albertino, which later became the constitution of the united Kingdom of Italy
    We both had bruschetta to start. MTC and me, not Pep's brother and me. I had bucatini a l'amatriciana. MTC had linguine a la vongole. Generous portions. Nebbiolo and Arneis to wash it all down. The Nebbiolo was chilled, like myself.
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  • Day4

    Tuesday morning

    October 31, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Breakfast room, which is quite big, was packed at 08:30 when I arrived. Managed to get the last table. The urn coffee was awful. Hotel Berna's breakfast is way better than Concord's. I had two espressos.
    After breakfast, we headed for the market in Piazza de la Republicca. Massive. The fish market was great. Fellows shouting the prices. "Cinque euro" seemed to be a very common price. MTC took video. The shouting seemed to increase as the camera got closer. Bought €1 worth of olives, piquante, to eat as I walked.
    We searched for Mercanti restaurant to see if OK for this evening. Gave up when we saw t-junction ahead, but we didn't realise that the street continues after it. We plan to return with better info.
    Then on to Sabauda gallery, which had been closed the last time we were in Turin. This time the ground floor was closed! The best section. No mention of this, of course, at the ticket office. Same stunt pulled on us a couple of years ago in a museum in Milan.
    Then on to lunch at Mood. A bookshop cum restaurant. Excellent oaky Renato Ratti Ochetti 2015 Nebbiolo red (described on one website as "a mini Barolo") and Roero Arneis White. Then back through shopping area. MTC detoured to Furla while I had a Lavazza at Gatsby to counteract the Nebbiolo effect. Limited impact. Returned to hotel at 15:30 to drop off the shopping. No purchase made at Furla. Unusual.
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  • Day3

    Turin: Monday evening

    October 30, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    After a shower, we headed out. Neither of us were too hungry so we decided to pass on the posh restaurant and take pot luck. We thought there'd be bound be a choice of restaurants. Not on a Monday night. We came across one place that was very busy. They put us at a shelf in a corridor. We left. Ended up back at the hotel and consoled ourselves with some prosciutto, prosecco and beer from the PAM supermarket next door. And two "Rosetta" rolls. Moretti. Better than the draft Nazzu in the restaurant last night in Milan. And San Carlo light crisps. Addictive.
    Observation on Italy: in the home of style, torn jeans are the thing to wear. I have a number of chinos that are slightly worn. Same thing.
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  • Day3

    Monday: Turin

    October 30, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    Breakfast at Hotel Berna was excellent. Lots of choice and good quality. We sat in the low table area rather than in the dining room. Less crowded. The coffee was from an urn. Often dodgy in Italian hotels, here it was perfectly fine. Nice grapefruit juice. This is often mistaken for pineapple juice. I had scrambled eggs, salami, cherry tomatoes, tomato and cheese salad, cheese, quiche, brown bread, rice salad agus rudai eile nach iad.
    We headed for the station, date-stamped our pre-purchased tickets and boarded the Turin train which was waiting at binario 5. The train filled up. We had to share our four-seat section with a 40 year old man who wore torn jeans and reeked of cigarettes. He was accompanied by a giggling woman, age & clothing not noted.
    VLL: even in late October, do not sit on the south facing side of a train in Italy. In this case the side nearest the platform on a train heading west. In Novella, MTC switched us across the aisle, as spaces freed up. Much more comfortable, even when the window-shade, at the seats we had left, was lifted.
    On arrival in Turin station, we bought our train tickets for the return trip on Wednesday.
    We were early, 13:30ish on arrival at the hotel. Our room wasn't ready so we left the bags and headed out. Shirt-sleeve weather (all day until about 17:30). A quick Lavazza coffee standing at the counter at Gatsby, just up from the hotel. MTC's americano was served with a jug of hot water and we each got a decent glass of fizzy water. The coffee cost €2.20 - for the two.
    We checked out the main sights and dined high on the hog at St Tomasso pizza al taglio, just off via Garibaldi. Pizza cost €2.50 a slice, except the Margherita which was €1.90. Total bill €13.80 including a beer and a coke. Stopped for a glass of wine on Piazza Veneto at the bottom of via Po. The Nebbiolo was not as nice as yesterday's in Milan.
    Returned to the hotel. Bags already up in the room. Decent size room. Balcony onto pedestrian street.
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  • Day2

    Sunday in Milan

    October 29, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

    Short walk from station to hotel. We arrived around 11:15. Our room was ready. We are billeted in the building across the street. Card entry security, with double doors like banks have/had. First set must close before second set opens. Room is excellent. MTC is consoled later when she sees the logo on the mattress peeping through the sheets at regular intervals : "ZeroBugs". The AC doesn't seem to work. It may just be for heat. There is a ceiling fan. We will leave the window open. Very little noise (21:20).
    We went to Cafe Tuyo next door to the main hotel for an early lunch. We got our drinks and waited........40 minutes from order to delivery. Mine was OK but MTC's was not. We both had different dishes with tagliatelle, but my pasta was much nicer than her‘s. I thought convenience would be a good idea.......very poor value, even by Milan standards.
    Onwards we walked into Milan centre storico. Saw the duomo and the Gra Casa. Stopped for coffee in Piazza Missori. Went up to the fortress and stopped into Signorvino for a glass of Valdo and of Lanche Nebollio which is a Piedmont red. Spelling to be verified. Sat at the bar. Lots of expensive bottles for sale. Some at €200+.
    Underground from Duomo back to the main station. Bought train tickets for Turin for tomorrow. The traditional machines! Relief all round. All set!
    Just after 7 we headed out for dinner. L'antro della Sabelli. Great pizzas, the cooks are from Naples. Delicious pasta for me to start. MTC had clams, no pasta. The waitress let MTC taste the white wine. The Pinot Grigio was finished. I had Nazzu. Antonio in Padua has competition for the pizza. Better toppings here, though MTC says Antonio's still wins on the base. I assessed the overall, no deconstruction. Close call as to best, though Antonio wins due to Amaro del Capo bonus.
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  • Day1

    Sunday Morning - Bergamo

    October 28, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 50 °F

    Decent night's sleep, though I found the bed a bit hot, though the room was reasonably cooled by the AC. The glass door on the fridge proved that the light does NOT go out when a fridge door is closed. Almost like sleeping in Croke Park under the floodlights......
    We made a dash for the 10 o,clock train, but did not leave enough time to allow for ticket machine queues. Or complicated ticket machines. Not like the usual ones. Eventually got ticket in the bar. €11 for two to Milan. The machine wanted €9.60 but that might have been for a different train. Anyway, the machine was a disaster. You picked your train from a list (each train had different via points) but we had no way of knowing which one went first or arrived first.
    We consoled ourselves with delicious Illy espresso and americano plus croissants at the Gran Bar, just across the road from hotel. Friendly.
    We caught the 11 o,clock train to Milan. The photos are Milan.
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  • Day1

    Departure Day

    October 28, 2017 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    After running a personal best, again, at Cabinteely park run - and celebrating MTC's daughter's 50th park run, we set off for the airport. The plan was to keep my promise not to eat at Burger King again, by going to Esquires in Swords. We'd had a delicious breakfast there a few weeks earlier after the River Valley park run. It didn't disappoint on the return visit. Full Irish, non-vegetarian version each plus a good cup of coffee. The airport long term car park is about 6 minutes from the restaurant.
    Smooth through security, time wise. Until I discovered that my jacket was missing, plus my shoulder bag (there is no other way of describing it), which was with it. It had been selected for an extra check. An apple seems to have been the offending article. The security were double-checking a lot of stuff. The queues for security were short. So they probably decided it was a good time to up the rechecks.
    Flight was full. Loaded early. Priority boarding. Arrived before the scheduled time. Caught the bus to Bergamo station, with about a 3 minute wait. Some fooster with the ticket machine. Got assistance from a fellow traveller. Mercure hotel is 5 minutes from the station. Registration in almost complete silence, the way I like my haircuts. Room is fine. Decent AC. Big bathroom , 8/10 for cleanliness. Photos are Milan or Turin
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  • Day23

    Forno Magico at EWR

    July 1, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 77 °F

    After check in and security we dropped in to this place for food. It's very high tech. You order by iPad and can only pay by card. All went swimmingly. We pondered the menu and ordered. The waiter returned to advise that prosciutto, which directly impacted MTC's starter and main, was not available. So much for US high tech. If they are out of stuff, why not stop orders of the impacted item, on the app? Is this too much to ask. MTC substituted fried calamari for starter and mushrooms on the pizza. The calamari have arrived.
    We dined and departed to wait at the gate. The gate was changed, so we moved again. The flight was delayed by an hour, but there was much fooster at the gate getting us to queue, then telling us to sit down, then queue again giving the impression we were about to board, then having us stand for ages. They were delaying our flight to wait for people on connecting flights that were delayed.
    Eventually we took off and arrived home an hour later than scheduled.
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