A short while into our move to Spain, we quickly found out that the Spaniards enjoy an absurd amount of bank holidays. In early December, Spain has two national holidays on December 6th and December 8th. As fate would have it, Juventus played Dinamo Zagreb in Champions League on Wednesday, December 7th and Torino was just a short flight away. This news was Joey’s dream come true. We scoured the Internet for game tickets, researched all Torino had to offer, and got immediately on Ryanair’s website to hunt for flight deals. We were going to Torino, no if’s, and’s or but’s.
Joey was visiting Dev (our future roommate) in France for a few days leading up to our Torino trip…rough life. So, I put my independent pants on, bused to the Alicante Airport, and said adios to Murcia. Not quite used to the European schedule – meaning on time for nothing – meant the timing between planes, trains, and automobiles became closer together than I had hoped. Running to catch different modes of transportation has become the norm for us. Finally, after one plane, two buses, two trains, and a cab ride, I was reunited with Joey in the best Airbnb we’ve ever stayed in! Alberto welcomed us with open arms into his bright orange apartment and left us with a lasting impression and a new Italian friend.
Our travels always start off with a solid exploration of the city and usually a free walking tour if we can find one. In this case, our first day was pure Juventus from the time we woke up to the time we went to sleep. Alberto, our awesome Airbnb host, generously offered to drive us out to Juventus Stadium on his way into work. Bundled up in the winter jacket I had needed for the first time since coming to Europe, I squeezed into the back seat of his red, 90’s Fiat, and attempted to learn a little Italian for our solo day ahead. We drove right along the Alps mountain ranges on our way out to the stadium – a short fifteen minute drive from our Airbnb. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed Joey’s eyes light up the way they did as we pulled into the stadium entrance. I had a kid in a candy shop on my hands for the remainder of the day! The stadium area was fairly desolate, as the game did not begin until 8:30 pm, but this gave us all the time we needed to buy a custom Bonucci jersey, tour the entire stadium inside and out, visit the enormous Juventus museum, and of course, war paint.
Although our seats were next to the incredibly rowdy Dinamo fan section, it made for an interesting dynamic during the game, especially for a first timer like myself. What I guessed to be one hundred security personnel surrounded their tiny, barricaded section. You could feel the tense opposition between teams and the energy in the stadium was electric. Being more of a hockey and American football fan growing up, I never truly experienced the passionate culture of soccer. I definitely left Juve Stadium with a new appreciation for the sport and one very happy boyfriend!
Our next couple of days in the city were filled with sightseeing and our usual exploring. We tried delicious, Northern Italian pastas and pizzas, admired the festive holiday decorations, and walked through beautiful piazzas to see what amazing architecture was hiding around the next corner. A seasonal trip to any major European city in the winter would not be complete without a visit to a Christmas market. Torino’s main market in Piazza Castello was small in comparison to some of the others we’ve come across, but the treats were delicious and the square was booming with locals and visitors.
Torino was a great time and I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting Italy looking to retreat from the [wonderful and highly enjoyed] chaos of Rome. Until we meet again Torino!