Thursday, June 25, 2009

Scholl, Menke trip: Torino and Siena (a long post!)

After our day trip to France, we spent Saturday in Torino. In the morning, we went to Porta Palazzo, which is Torino's huge outdoor market. We bought bread, cheese, fresh pasta, and many other things for a home-made italian dinner that night.

Here are John and Tom deliberating on the cheese selection.

John and our favorite pasta lady; we buy exclusively from her not just because her pasta is good and affordable, but because she's nice too!

While John went to pick up the Menkes from the airport and Tom took a nap, Kay, Rob, and I went to the Mole, which looks like a skyscraper but also serves as a movie museum. There's a glass elevator that goes to the top, which provides a spectacular view of Torino.

Later that night, after Charlie, Ann, and Mills joined us, we had dinner at our apartment. It was our chance to give them an appreciation of fresh pasta and sauce. After dinner, we pointed out our neighbor who was watering a garden seven stories below us. Mills decided to summon him and Franco, who only speaks five words of English, came up and shared some wine with us!

After church on Sunday, we roped Dyfan, Caroline, and kids into having lunch with us (eating was a very important part of this trip). It was good to bring our Torino life and our Texas life together.

John and Mills sporting their complementary A&M shirts, thereby looking very Italian.

A must-do Torino activity was to try the favorite local drink, called a bicerin (pron. bee-cher-een), which is a coffee-chocolate drink. Everybody seemed to like it and Tom talked for the rest of the trip about getting a second one, though he never did get the chance.

Rob and expensive Italian suits; note the bars preventing the two from coming together.

The train ride down to Siena. The night before, Mills had bought his mom a rose; the next morning, she appeared with it safely ensconced in a Coca-Cola cup, which she held for the entire five-hour train ride to Siena--even while sleeping!

Some shots from Siena. This building was the medieval equivalent of a city hall.

And it overlooks 'Il Campo' ('The Field'), Siena's main piazza. Twice a year, Siena holds a Palio, which is a horse race whose track is around the Campo itself!

Siena has a big, beautiful cathedral and several centuries ago, they wanted to make it even larger. But alas, their dreams were bigger than their pocketbooks and this is all that ever existed of the 'add-on.'

Here's the door of our little hotel, which was a two-minute walk from the Campo. Rob picked the hotel and he did an excellent job finding a good location.

One of Uncle Charlie's favorite vacation past-times was hanging out in the hotel room and playing cards. Here he looks just like a native, sans the A&M ball cap.

Our first night in Siena, we ate a nice place that served an amazing wild boar dish. Other options were tuna and veal (together, served cold), rabbit, or lasagna.

Other meals were not quite so fancy and were boycotted by certain family members (not pictured here).

A view of the Tuscan countryside.

Yet another train ride. This time we were taking a day trip to Orvieto so Kay and Ann could get their pottery fix.

A good, if overly cozy, time was had by all.

Although we weren't in Torino (and therefore couldn't have GROM, which is the best gelato ever), we didn't suffer too much. Here's a glimpse of the mounds of gelato we got to choose from.

Uncle Charlie, inevitably and always, chose Straciatella (or 'Scratchatella', as he dubbed it), and a lot of it.

Because of the Palio, the town of Siena is divided up into seventeen different sections. John, Mills, and I were wandering through the elephant section when we spotted this sculpture. Thus, the University of Alabama gets free publicity on our blog.

Here we are relaxing at a pizza-by-the-slice restaraunt. Not as good as wild boar, but serviceable in a pinch.

Next stop, Florence!


  1. So...very....jealous. If it only it were Jerilyn, Jack, and I in these pictures! Oh the pain! However I really enjoy seeing averyone again in the pics and am very glad you all had such a great time. Once you guys go back there again we'll see what we can do :)


  2. Wonderful pictures - I agree with Tyler. Next time the Irish shall decend on Italy. It looks like everyone was having a wonderful time. I think your pasta lady will miss you!

  3. Thanks for the comments! We did have a good time; we'll just have to travel abroad again (though not for nine months, I hope!) to give you an excuse to come visit.