Although we travelled from Zurich to Turin on first class rail, due to our EurRail discounts, we could not access the first class lounge. We did, however, spend half an hour in the comfort of the “ordinary” lounge that included complimentary tea, coffee, water and juices plus clean toilets; fast, free wifi; and comfortable seating.
Our food and beverage on the ICE train was outstanding with stewards attending to our requests promptly, smiling and with first class service. The views of the lakes, snow covered mountains and green pastures were breath taking. We were reminded how much dryer Australia is than Central Europe.[teaserbreak]
On crossing the Italian/Swiss border and approaching Turin, we again observed several large scale solar farms and roof top solar on many warehouses as well as a long row of solar panels attached to a concrete sound buffer between the railway and highway.
Turin is a very different city to both Zurich and Frankfurt. It was reconstructed by Napoleon in the early 19th century and Mussolini in the 1930s. Most of the Roman and defensive city walls have been removed and the centre of the city has wide boulevards and large piazzas similar to Paris. The benefit for a modern city is public transport can make good use of those spaces.
Whilst we were in Turin, we used our Turin Pass to move around the city using light rail and buses. There is metro and heavy rail services as well. Interestingly enough, the taxis and public buses, whether trolley or diesel, are allowed to use the tram tracks.
We spent most of our time in the old city areas. One of the features that gives Turin is unique visual impact is that all of the buildings are confined to 4 storeys or less. This gives the feeling of spaciousness and allows the sunlight to penetrate most corners of each piazza.
Before we left Turin, we rode on the funicular railway that scales the peak on which is perched a magnificent basilica, known as Superga. From this vantage point, we were able to get a better appreciation of the scale of Turin outside of its historic centre and the impact of rivers and low lying water on the city.
Unlike the River Main (Frankfurt) and the River Neckar (Heidelberg), the River Po is largely a recreational river with a ferry, rowers, canoes, kayaks, but little other river traffic such as the large coal barges we saw in Frankfurt.
In Turin, we saw many bikes used along the river, but few on the cobblestones of the old city area.
Next stop, Genoa.