Boungiorno da Italia!

Since Wifi connections have not always been readily available (or strong), and the process of uploading photos to my iPad then to the blog has been more complicated than anticipated, I am posting a little later than planned, but here it goes!

After months of planning and preparation, I am finally here in the beautiful city of Torino, Italy for the 2014 Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto.

I have been having an amazing time so far in Europe, and while this post couldn't possibly cover everything, I will make an attempt to recap the first few days of the trip.

Bright and early on the morning of Monday Oct. 20, I woke up after a limited amount of sleep to head to the airport with my friend and fellow writer Gisela Michelle Lagos. Since she works in the airport she joined me for breakfast after I got all situated near my gate.

My first flight from San Diego to Seattle went smoothly enough, but when I landed I was told that Lufthansa was on strike, my flight from Frankfurt to Torino had been cancelled, and I'd have to be booked on a new flight upon landing in Germany.

Ahi tuna sandwich at  the S Terminal in the Seattle-Tacoma
Airport. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
I had lunch in the S Terminal in the Seattle-Tacoma airport at a restaurant called the Dungeness Bay Seafood House. The ahi tuna in my sandwich was flavorful and perfectly cooked to a medium rare temperature, and accompanied by a cup of sweet potato fries. The sandwich - which was served on a brioche bun - was dressed with a mustard-soy aioli, baby greens and sesame seeds.

Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
I paired a glass of Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc from a winery in Washington State with my meal, which turned out to be a wise choice. The light, crisp flavor of the wine complimented the ahi without drowning out the flavor of the fish.

Around 7 p.m. we boarded our flight to Frankfurt, I had a dinner on the plane that made little sense (German potato salad, Italian pasta with a marinara sauce and ricotta, and a carrot), then I fell asleep listening to John Mayer. The next morning I woke up just in time for breakfast and the last bit of flying time.

Flying over the forest and the gorgeous patchwork tapestry of the farmland, we made our descent through the thick, misty clouds into Frankfurt airport, and the country where I was born. I had not been there for 27 years, so I wish that I had planned some time to visit there during the trip. Unfortunately four cities in two weeks was already crazy enough of a schedule to stick to.

Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
I was rebooked for a 9 p.m. flight (meaning that I would have a seven hour layover instead of two), so with not quite enough time to explore Frankfurt, I spent my time walking around the airport. I did a little bit of shopping (found my beloved marzipan-filled dark chocolate bar from Ritter Sport and lederhosen and dirndl-clad moose), drank coffee at Starbucks, ate a käsebrezel (cheese pretzel), and drank a delicious Erdinger weißbier (a light, wheat beer).

My flight to Torino was short, but scarily turbulent as we prepared to land in Torino. Because I arrived so late, I wasn't able to take the city shuttle from the airport to my hotel, so I had to make up my own plan on the fly, at midnight, in a strange city where I am not fluent with the language. Somehow, using my hodgepodged Italianglish and an overwhelming amount of luck, I made it safely to my hotel by taking a bus from the airport to the Porta Nouva metro station, the subway to Lingotto, and then hopping in a taxi to go to my hotel.

My first night in Torino, I stayed at the Hotel Astor in Lingotto (Piazza Tancredi Galimberti 12 Torino 10134).

Though it looked a little like a dorm room (and the shower was the size of a shoebox), it was a simple and clean place to stay with a nice view of the piazza below. The 24-hour check-in service meant that my late welcome was not a problem, but the website has not been updated in quite some time (it says that the hotel has shuttle service, which it no longer provides because there is a city shuttle service available now). 

Breakfast was included in the price of the hotel room, which cost about €45 for the night. The spread included prosciutto, turkey, sliced ham, hardboiled eggs, yogurts, assorted baked goods, and more. The man working the bar asked me what I wanted to drink, and before I could think better of it, I ordered "uno latte caldo" thus receiving hot milk. I stirred in a packet of Nutella (pretending that was what I actually wanted), and at least there was no one was around to witness my rookie mistake.

The hotel was in a great location for walking to where Terra Madre is held at the Oval Lingotto, so it was perfect in terms of getting ready for Terra Madre registration. While waiting for my friend and fellow delegate Elizabeth Hoover to arrive, I ate lunch and did some writing.

Well, I feel like this post is getting a little lengthy and boring (as it mostly covers travel days), so I am going to end it here. Stay tuned to read more about my trip as I continue to travel and make my way through Europe!


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