Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beautiful Torino and Hiking Torre Pellice

I love that every Italian city has its own castle and its own history. Torino has a particularly rich history since it's the former capital from back when Italy was a monarchy. There are many beautiful castles and gorgeous structures everywhere. Though I was technically in Collego, I usually went into Torino on preparation day to be a tourist.

This was the king's hunting lodge. It's more impressive than his castle!

I have no idea what this building is. I just randomly passed it one day while coming home from Torino.

Though it's a bit rain splattered, I like this cute picture of me in front of the King's castle in Piazza Castello.

At Christmastime, they go all out on the lights at the street mall nearby piazza castello.

There's also a fable you can read as you walk from one end of the street to the other.

I always thought Torino was beautiful. Some of the other missionaries didn't, but I sure did, especially in warm weather. I got there in November and stayed until May, so it just got prettier and prettier every time I went into the city. These are some pretty spots I found by randomly wandering around.

It really is a beautiful city! I was impressed by the views I kept seeing on Torino postcards. I bought more here than in the other two cities I served in.

In Torino we got to meet Emilio. He was a new member of the church when I met him. He's super nice to all the missionaries, is a great cook, showed us around Torino, nicknamed me Sorella Sorriso (Sister Smile), and is currently my facebook friend.

One preparation day, Emilio took us downtown to see the Mole Antonelliana. It started off as a synagogue, but the builder couldn't afford it. In the end it got turned into a Cinema museum.

If you saw any advertisements for the 2006 Torino Olympics, this is the structure you were seeing all the time.

It's cool how you can see the Mole's own shadow in this picture from the top.

Inside La Mole was an interesting film museum. One room including watching scenes of people in the bathroom, and they had you sit on toilets to watch them. Fortunately the scenes were just people talking in the bathroom, not actually using the toilets. And the seats were covered so you couldn't use them either!

Thanks to Mussolini's interest in Egypt, Torino hosts an awesome Egyptian museum. It's the 2nd largest in the world (the largest being, of course, in Cairo, Egypt). We spent one preparation day there with our zone leaders and the Torino sisters. The artifacts were really interesting. Sometimes we saw actual dead people still preserved in their tombs. And my favorite was a papyrus that contained a design very similar to fascimile 1 in the Pearl of Great Price. Sorella Anderson (who reads Hebrew) also told us the meanings of a bunch of scrolls and pictures.

One huge zone activity we did was hiking Torre Pellice, a mountain where President Lorenzo Snow first dedicated Italy for the preaching of the gospel. The jacket I'm wearing is the only surviving article of clothing I have left from when I worked for Delta during the Olympics. I would now like to tell you about my insane zone leaders who thought it would be cool to do it in missionary clothes. This hike was no walk in the park. I've hiked Mount Timpanogas in Orem, Utah, and this was much harder (though not as long. That was a good 14 hours). The only one who'd ever done it before was Elder Adair, and he told them that doing it in missionary clothes was completely insane. Fortunately, they gave the sisters the option of wearing pants, but the guys still had to wear their suits and ties. Bad idea!

I was crawling, slipping, sliding, falling, nearly dying to get up this thing. Poor elders in their missionary clothes! I just had my old tennis shoes that are not meant for hiking, and they were definitely the biggest problem since they had no grip. One elder even grabbed a huge stick to help with the hike, and he would have to send it down to me and pull me up when I'd fall. Additionally, each time I fell (which was a LOT) my arms and hands and legs plowed into many, many chestnuts. And for those of you who have never seen a wild chestnut, they are covered in a ball of sharp, pointy thorns. I had lots of tiny splinters for several days after the hike.

My feet were so swollen the day after the hike that I had only one extra wide pair of shoes that would fit me. I'd bought them big so I could wear multiple pairs of socks on cold days, so that tells you just how bad my feet were. What's sad is that we didn't even make it to the top. We got within 20 minutes of it (after 3 hours), but it got entirely too dangerous to go on (ice and cliffs don't mix well together for some reason). We even had an Elder fall down the mountain! Luckily he was okay, but very sore. On the plus side, it was incredibly gorgeous and on the way down I had fun sliding where ever there was snow. Our zone leaders had assumed that we would finish the hike at around 12:30pm, and we didn't even get down the mountain until 6:30pm.

Fortunately, I did get to hike the mountain again during a later transfer, and make it to the top this time. You can read about that in a later post.

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