Flushed with success in Turin
It is a perfect spring day in the Italian city of Torino (Turin), ideal for a stroll. Sallying forth along Via Cernaia, through kilometres of magnificent colonnaded walkways, we pass the picturesque Piazza San Carlo and then Piazza Castello with its towering ancient Roman fortress. These squares feature stunning baroque architecture.
Soon after, we arrive at the Observatory and take the lift to the viewing platform, where the panorama is spectacular. Far, far below, straight streets arrow their way towards suburbia and a misty River Po; on the horizon the snowy Alps blaze in sunshine, dwarfing all.
Continuing on down Via Po, we browse over the wares of antiques dealers and booksellers in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, which is already bustling with diners. At last we arrive on the banks of the River Po, at the entrance to Parco del Valentino. This beautiful 40ha park offers paths for promenades along the river and space for rambles through hillocks and glades. The effect is very natural and provides a haven for birds and animals. I am delighted by one squirrel, which boldly hops down from a branch to clasp my calf, hoping for a treat, I think. There is also a reconstructed medieval village that sells handmade period costumes and accessories.
After our explorations we have to search for a public toilet and finally locate one well concealed in shrubbery. Despite our basic Italian, the instructions for entry are somewhat esoteric. Fortunately a local gentleman offers assistance and, because of our lack of requisite coins, advises me to leap inside directly on my friend’s exit. I do so, just before the automatic steel door slams shut.
But the pedestal suddenly lifts up to empty into a chute that opens in the wall behind. A thunderous gush of water ensues and disinfectant floods the floor. Panicking, I quickly attempt to zip up my jeans, expecting water jets from the walls at any moment. Then a siren screeches and the door flies open, alerting passers-by. Fearing the Carabinieri at any second, we flee.
We soon recover our equilibrium, and nearly choke laughing. We repair pronto to the Caffe San Carlo to order bicerins, an irresistible house beverage of espresso coffee, drinking chocolate and milk. It caps a perfect day. Send your 400-word contribution, with full postal address, to: email@example.com. Columnists will receive a selection from Australian stationer Notemaker that includes a MiGoals passport wallet ($29.95), Delfonics canvas pencil case ($16.95) and a clothbound Moleskine Voyageur notebook ($44.95). More: notemaker.com.au.