Women of Torino

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She can socialize or prefer to be solitary

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She loves shopping

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She is passionate about her pooch.

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She loves her work.

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She has a passion for fashion.

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She can multi-task: attends to her shop and cleans it as well.

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And she could be a passionate lover.

The title should be “Women of Italy” and these Torinese ladies just represent the whole of the Italian femaledom.

Torino celebrates Italy’s 150th anniversary

I arrived in Torino completely amazed by the sight of the 3-colours of the Italian flag represented in various forms and shapes.  They are seen displayed in almost all of the shops, on building facades and as street decorations.  I later discovered that this city played a big part in the Italian reunification 150 years ago when it was made the first capital of the Kingdom of Italy and Victor Emmanuel II as the first king proclaimed on 17 March 1861.   So for a total of nine months from March to November, 2011, Torino will play host to a non-stop calendar of art, design, fashion, music, gastronomy and various festivals during Esperienza Italia.

The red, white and green colours are practically everywhere and I tried to capture them all but then realized there were just too many!

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Eau de toilette: Green from Panama, White from the Indian Ocean and Red from Tibet

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Savon de Marseille (soap from Marseilles, France)

(ooopppsss…..but that is light green!)

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To pay tribute to Italy’s 150th reunification celebration, Lavazza is coming out with a limited edition collection of cups, chocolates, etc.  It is in Torino that this 116-year old coffee legend started its roots.

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Even a dressmaker’s shop found a way to create the tri-colour

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Those lines are just done in paint!

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A hamster blog

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Hey cutie-cutie…

I was invited by a friend I met in Torino to stay in their house and my goodness, I fell in love with their 50 something pack of hamsters!  Their story goes that a year ago, they gave a male and female hamsters to their daughter’s 11th birthday and around 12 months later, it produced 4 generations totalling to, I said it right, 50 something!  But I don’t blame the daughter why she won’t give away her hams, they are the most adorable things I have ever seen in my life!  Even if they kept me up all night with their noise, I organized a photoshoot the next day for gracing the 29th March page of my website!

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I asked the daughter if she has names for all the 50.  Well, she had names for the first 5 but after that, she gave up as they seem to keep multiplying as fast as she could decide on the names!  It is simply overwhelming!

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Burrowing inside a Pringles can, they prefer sleeping in the dark. Like humans, eh!

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Hamsters can be fertile from one month to three months of age.  Females are in heat approximately every four days.  And according to Wikipedia, if a captive hamster is left for extended periods (3–4 weeks and more) with her litter, there is a high possibility that she will cannibalize the litter. It is therefore imperative that the litter be split up by the time the young can collect their own food and water.

Where have all the train stations gone

I was on a train to Torino, Italy when I noticed the ancient train stations which have gone into decay.  I’m glad that they are still there, standing and not demolished to be turned into carparks or supermarkets although some of them are now being used for other purposes.  I thought of them as a great photo opportunity!  I must photograph them now before they disappear from the face of Europe as they do give a visual history of how they looked like in the old days….

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This one has been made into a shelter for wheat bales

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The building is still strong so it could be handy for keeping used construction materials.  I wonder if the present occupant is paying a rent, and to whom?

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These ancient stations are like museums.  For example, those two things by the door are bells.

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Why two? because each one is reserved for each direction.  As above, when the train to Ventimiglia  is approaching, the bell “Ventimiglia” starts ringing.  When it’s the Cuneo-bound train, then the “Cuneo” bell rings.  The ringing takes several minutes until the train arrives.

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An abandoned train station

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They used to have a separate building for toilets.  This one, obviously not operating anymore, has its doors blocked with concrete to prevent it from being vandalized.

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This one, where the sign is still visible (Borgo S. Dalmatio), has been turned into a home.

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This is an abandoned train station in the French-Italian border.  It used to belong to Italy but has been ceded to France as part of the war reparations between the two countries.  Since its transfer, it has stopped serving as a train station.

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Interesting to see how it looked in the old days.

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A grandiose train station has been closed for a long time in St Dalmas de Tende, in the Vallee de la Roya.

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The entrance has been concreted to prevent the entry of vandals as well as thieves.

Crossing the border

As our home in the south of France lies at the frontier of Italy, it takes only half an hour drive and an 8 km tunnel crossing to reach the Italian territory.  What a big difference between the two!  One moment you are passing through the green valley of Tende which is the last town of France in the Alpes-Cote d’Azur, but as soon as you get out of the tunnel, you are in a completely different surroundings:  that of white blanket of snow, cypress vegetation and alpine houses.

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 The village of Tende in France

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The winter wonderland scenery as soon as you enter Italy

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Limone is the first town of the Italian Ligurian Alps. It is famous for its winter skiing resort.

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The train station of Limone

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A campsite of mobile homes under snow

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An Italian village in white