Friday, October 5, 2012

Walking in Torino

This morning we went down to the desk to ask the nice lady to call us a cab to go into the city center.  "Oh no" she exclaimed, "they're very expensive."  "Just take the bus, they all go to the city center."  Well, actually they don't.  The nice bus driver told us where to get off to transfer, but after a few minutes of being packed in like cattle to the slaughter on the second bus we decided we'd get off and walk.  Unfortunately we were not on the tourist map (too far south), and had no idea of distances involved.  After a fair amount of whining on my part, Jim allowed as how a cab would be good.  The cab driver did not want to take us, he kept talking in Italian, and we kept smiling and nodding, he gave up and took us to the city center.  As it turns out, there was a student demonstration scheduled for today.  We could not figure out why there were police everywhere in riot gear, and why all the streets were closed.
After a bit, we stumbled upon a group of police hanging around, so we hung around.  Eventually more police showed up, walking down the street.

Then, they all turned around and ran around the corner, followed by many vehicles.

This is the riot mobile, it has mesh over all of the windows and lights.

The police were herding a group of university students who are upset about VAT increases and austerity measures.  It was a fairly lackluster demonstration.  There was one guy with the bull horn speaking excitedly, a few more on the banner, and everyone else was standing around or sitting on the curb smoking and taking pictures of each other.

Eventually the demonstrators walked down the street, back to the university with the police behind and flanking them.  No trash cans were set on fire or rolled down the streets, no tear gas, no nothing.  It all dried up around lunch time.

This is a billboard for the Museum of Cinema.

This is the Museum of Cinema.

The plaque out front.

After today, Lonely Planet has lost credibility with me.  I would give Torino 1 out of 4 stars on the tourist-o-meter.  We will be happy to leave this place.  We did not find it that interesting.
Do you ever watch Wipe-Out?  It used to be a Japanese program narrated in English, now it's produced in the US, and we're seeing it narrated in Italian.  It's amazing how much really terrible US TV is exported.
Oh yes, the hideously expensive cab ride?  10 euro.

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