October 2010 Italy Switzerland Austria Germany

Part 2: Emilia Romagna - Torino

Next morning is far from attractive and feels like here in the farm is like living inside a cloud:

A huge spider over my head is my "Buongiorno":

And when I manage to get on my feet the dog of the farm offers me his sad and questionable face:

I don't blame him - the weather sucks. The breakfast in the farm does not. Quite the opposite with the top notch local products and home made bread. And for sure Silvia delivers as a host and drives me up to Ferrara in an attempt to make the best out of a moody day. I had no idea about that town before but at the first sight of the local castle I went beyond WOW:

That elephant outside counting down for the New Year's Eve (as far as I recall Silvia's answer to my "what's this?") is a nice funny touch:

Inside the castle there's great work on the walls and ceilings:

We enjoy a great Italian coffee, much needed on a cold gloomy day like this, while enjoying the view:

As we leave this massive castle behind I take a few more shots as goodbye (of a thing that broke my heart a few years later to see it in the news partially collapsed due to earthquake):

Outside the castle you find the statue of Girolamo Savonarola:

If you wonder how this Dominican monk managed to have such an influence on the people of Florence have a closer look:

Of course, hats off to the artist for capturing such an expression of him.

Ferrara is a cross between a live museum and a time machine. Here's a distant shot of the local "Torre dell'Orologio":

The Cathedral impresses effortlesly:

Even the local Mc Donalds are hosted in an interesting building like this:

So lovely to walk these vehicle free streets:

Here's Chiesa di San Carlo, unfortunately not open to public anymore:

At Rotonda Foschinni I was lucky to experience a rather funny artistic touch as Ferrara was under artificial animal attack (hence the elephant you saw before):

That crocodile offers me one more funny shot from the bottom:

This one looked much less artificial in real actually:

We made the best out of this miserable weather wise Sunday around this wonderful town but next day the weather had no plan s to change at all. In my efforts to be the least burdening guest possible I help Silvia in her cheese making efforts at the farm. Curious about my outfit? There you go:

If that's not funny enough then I wish you had the soundtrack of me singing Bowie's "Space Oddity" in this unusual venue. I think I was kinda inspired by the natural reverb of those bare tile walls.

Finally the weather opens up the next day so it's time to leave the farm and Silvia's generous hospitality. I go out to prepare my bike that has been sitting for days wet to the metal in the mud:

It's actually a nice day but the previous rainy ones made the the muddy gravel uphill I had to do in order to escape the place rather a challenge for my street semi worn tires. The owner offered to put my bike in his truck but I decide to give it a try myself and fortunately I do without regrets.

I head for Torino via SS9 and 10 without much interesting stuff to mention except the weather conditions getting better all the time. My lovely friends Antonello and Debbie are there to host me for one more time and I hand them a cheese I brought all the way from the farm knwoing that it's tasty enough even for their picky Italian tongues.

On the next sunny day we cycle with Antonello around Italy's first capital. The local park and Torino's massive water resources deliver the following images:

Undoubtedly ideal place for cyclists but that's not necessarily the case for the rest of the city:

As you can see above, one of the two cars that crashed has flipped. The 1 million dollar question is "how come?" since the heavy traffic around doesn't allow much space for speeding. The answer is that any vehicle driven by an Italian can surprise you speed wise except a death car.

Next day delivers fantastic weather so we cycle once more around with Antonello. What a great chance to capture Torino's emblematic buildings under this full bright sunlight - here's Palazzo Carignano:

Today it hosts the museum of Italy's unification, the latter being a rather interesting subject considering the chaotic differences between various parts of Italy. I didn't say chaotic without a reason, Italy has both some of the poorest and richest regions of Europe. The industrial North is a completely different country compared to the Agricultural South. Even the language is not exactly the same.

There at piazza Carlo Alberto (hence his statue above) is also the University's library, pictured on the right side of the image below, opposite to Palazzo Carignano:

Later on that day our friend Tobias arrives on his bike all the way from Switzerland and at night we all cramp inside Antonello's car including Tobias's hosts and their dog on our way for some pizza.

All in great mood except maybe the dog:

After some top notch pizza we all leave this nice place with a smile:

Not sure the dog is as happy on our way back:

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