Through the Parking Lot and O'er the Mountains
I left France on Feb. 13, which I thought was Valentine's Day, for a date I had always dreamed of. This was the day I would fall in love with Italy.
I was supposed to have a relaxing morning in Nice before I left. My host said getting to the airport was easy using an express bus, but in my world "easy" means 1.5 hours of running around looking for the bus stop. Part of the delay was me taking my sweet time hauling my luggage around Nice, since my host had work early, and searching for a post office for stamps.
The day started at 7am. I had a coffee at a bodega packed with old chatty men and spoke to one who was loudly describing his dinner from last night. He was very passionate about the mushrooms he had used. I had another coffee and croissant, went to the post office, and spent hours debating food options for the road, ending with a dry bagel, toasted without permission, that set me back about 9 euros. The smoked salmon offered the perfect smell for a frazzled New Yorker to bring aboard a crowded bus.
After a stressful Uber ride of driving in circles searching for the bus stop at Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, my driver and I agreed that running was the better option. I ran around the outdoor maze of the parking area to find the Flixbus site and arrived one minute before departure to Turin.
Turin lies in the northern part of Italy, in the western part of the top of the boot. (Can't you see I'm great with directions?) This journey included a freezing 25-minute stop in the Alps where I thought our driver disappeared and contemplated how I would get to Turin with zero Italian speaking skills. I also thought that whatever happened would make a great novel, if I survived.
I eventually arrived in Turin armed with an excellent list of must-eats from a wine editor who lives there. But first I got lost for 45 minutes trying to find my apartment rental, which was right down the street from the bus stop.
Turin is known as the 'capital of taste' and the capital of the Piedmont region in northern Italy. It's where the first Eataly opened in 2006, the same year the Winter Olympics were held here.
My ideal way to travel is with recs from someone in the food and drink business. Chefs, bartenders, food writers, editors and photographers tend to steer you into the loving arms of locally-run joints with quality eats and great hospitality. I had dreamed of eating in Italy my whole life, and I would not take this list lightly. I had work to do.