Ipod in hand, music in my ears, just me with my thoughts drifting, looking out the window from the train. I was feeling like a little girl again, all excited to go to the big city of Turin where I would meet my friend Roxy, explore the city and get that rush that I needed.

The central point of us going to Torino was to check out this art lab run by a cultural association called Zanzara which promotes the use of art and creativity to help the disabled. They have a retail shop in the artsy area of Torino called quadrilateral. With their very flexible afternoon opening schedule from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. we were sure to make that our priority. We started following our other map which was incorrectly leading us to the “in” spot according to the New York Times called Tre Galli. But what we coincidentally noticed when comparing the maps is that they were kitty corner from one another! We killed two birds with one stone. Unfortunately, as it happens so very often in Italy, the lab was closed and no one answered the phone. No big deal, we were off to try one of the best gelatos in the city!
From out of the blue, I happened to ask Roxy when her birthday was and without even knowing, she said, “today”! Even more reason to get a birthday treat. I knew exactly where Guido Gobino was because as I have mentioned before, their gianduja and artisan chocolates are enticing! So we made a beeline to Gobino where they had the base flavors of Fior di Latte, Pistacchio, Dark Chocolate etc. Then if you wanted the more fun flavors like “stracciatella” (my favorite…like an italian chocolate chip) or “mediterraneo” (pistacchio with Sicilian almonds) they added the toppings. Of course the chocolate chunks were Gobino’s gourmet creations. The portions were more than enough and the ice cream blew our minds! I especially loved this ice cream because it wasn’t overly sweet at all, and with the crunchy high quality ingredients inside it filled me up way past dinner time. Maybe to Americans this doesn’t seem that special but it was the first time in Italy I had seen such quality toppings being put on gelato!
Down the street is a new Eataly location. Although I am somewhat against the whole Eataly enterprise, I decided to let loose and just enjoy the beautifully packaged Italian products and browse the shelves curiously.
I won’t get into boring details about visiting my Torino shopping establishments, H&M and Zara. I dragged poor Roxy around these frenetic stores so I could buy something with my leftover 30 euro birthday money. Even though it was a long process, I did find 4 items that all fit my humble shopping budget! We found some neat little boutiques on the side streets and were impressed by how welcoming all the Torino assistants were and how willing they were to speak English with us. Our feet were tired and we were ready for a drink!
We headed back to the “Tre Galli” and “Zanzara” area and were disappointed to see no one there for aperitivos at 7 o’clock. So we turned the corner and found a lunch/aperitivo hotspot that I had been wanting to try for years called Pastis! We sat down in this beautifully shaded piazza and relaxed with a glass of Arneis and watched the old people chat on the benches. Ready for one more aperitivo we decided to try Tre Galli.
This was another mini let down. I had been to Tre Galli a long time ago with a couple friends and remembered it for its unique style and long wine list. However this time I was a little disappointed because it seemed like after becoming famous from this NY Times write-up, they knew they were hot stuff and therefore acted like it. As soon as we sat down, they were quick to remind us that they no longer serve aperitivos after 8:30 because they need the tables for dinner. OK. As we were looking at the limited and expensive wine list the waiter comes back to tell us that they do not do any type of buffet so if we wanted to munch on something we could order a snack from the menu. Olives 3 euros, butter and anchovies 3 euros, etc. Our idea was to make this second aperitivo our dinner so we ordered an “assaggio” of octopus, olives, tomatoes and basil for 6 euros to go along with the cheapest wine on the menu, a half liter carafe of 16 euros for a pretty bland Vermentino.
Then they brought us a huge basket of breadsticks and foccaccia which would have totally been enough, so I ran back to cancel the octopus and they immediately told me they already prepared it. Ok. With a strange look on their face they asked if we were going to share this, like it was something weird. In fact it was weird because they brought out one measly little spiedino “skewer” that we split! We laughed and made the best out of it by enjoying our last hour before our train ride.
Before we knew it, it was literally time to sprint to the train station. We made it just in time with all that wine sloshing around in our stomachs to hop on the train just in time. A little tipsy, while riding the train we listened and sang to music the whole way home. It was a fantastic city getaway and now we have an excuse to do it all over again, so we can visit Zanzara and discover new hotspots!
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