Sunday, January 27, 2008

Residence DuParc, Turin.

That's where I stayed during my recent trip to Italy. It Residence DuParc is somewhat of an extended stay hotel - apartments instead of rooms, and pretty tidy ones at that.

Not my pic - from the hotel website.

The lobby is not bad looking - apart from the uncovered poured concrete walls and ceilings. Made it look a bit cold. Parking is, as is in Europe, tight. Just as well we had a wee tiny car.

It's located near the river, and, I'm guessing about 20 minutes walk from the center of the city. I'm not sure, and it certainly was not a problem, but judging by some of the ladies that were across the street at night, there may have been a couple of assumed red lights in the area.

The apartments were large, clean and mine had some nice Alpine views. Furniture was retro 70's - plastic chairs and shiny stuff. The restaurant, while not owned by the hotel, is really really good, but, I'm told, normally requires reservations. (We did not reserve, and it wasn't a problem). More on that on the main blog about Turin.

Breakfast was a non-event - certainly nothing like the Central Park Hotel in Modena. All that was on offer was coffee, croissants, and excellent freshly squeezed blood orange juice.

Oh, and my apartment had 2 bathrooms. Why? Well, so I can have a choice! Life is all about choices, even in Italy.

Not the best hotel I stayed in, but a long way from the worst. I'd stay here again.

The lounge in the apartment. Note the Moretti on the table.

A fully unused kitchen

A messy bedroom

And a mirror with a parrot on it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Turin - or Torino, Italy. Another trip.

I ended up in Italy again - on short notice. This time it's Turin, or as they call it there, Torino.

It was a rushed visit - fly there, go to work (not fun after a long flight with little sleep), food, sleep, work, food, sleep, etc. That's why there are very few pictures - I simply did not have time.

We got there at about 2 in the afternoon, got a hire car - it took a few different tries, but we eventually got a little car - little 4-door smart car. More on that here...

Through a lot of experementation with the GPS, we got it to direct us to the hotel. We stayed at the Residence DuParc... more on that here.

So, gastronomic details. Night 1 - we met with some other guys from the US and wandered out to get food. Being Italy and being that we were hungry for something now, the answer was pizza. We were the only people in the restaurant - but that took nothing away from the place. 3 waiters, fast beer, low prices and delicious pizza. I did not pick up the tab, so I have no recollection of the name of the place. Glass sliding doors, and about 5 minutes from the hotel - that's all I could use to relocate it. Anyway - it was good.

Night 2 - after 13 hours at work and still tired from the flight, the hotel restaurant seemed like a good idea. I assumed the restaurant was part of the hotel, but then learned it was an outside company. In any event, it was really really good. No menus - just a very charismatic and knowledgeable waiter. I had stuffed calamari for appetizer and seared tuna with lots of fresh vegetables for main. It was delicious - washed down with a pair of nice cold Moretti's. What I thought was funny was the bill at the end. We needed to keep receipts so we had to request one, it came out at EU 70, (for 2) but that was all that was on the bill. No breakdown, nothing. It's as if there was a fixed price!

Night 3 - last night. We went for a wander looking for somewhere interesting. Now, again, being in Italy, where better than an English pub! The 1870 Huntsman Pub. Actually, it was really good - top notch pizza, nice decor, and smoke free. I had McFarland's Golden Fire beer to wash it down. Listed as an Irish beer, and quite nice at that, I have since learned that it's brewed by Heineken. No worries - I don't discriminate against beer's origins - it tasted great so that was all that mattered.

And then back to the hotel, a little sleep, airport, plane, Paris, plane, Detroit!

Anyway - here's some pics - not that many and not that great - but anyway...

In the air above northern Italy - check out the Alps

Same here...

A random building on the drive from the airport. I've never seen people on balconies like these except in movies.

Downstreet view from hotel room.

Alpine view from hotel room.

Downstreet the other way

Another view

Evening view - a bit blurry.


Same morning.

And again, the same morning. OK these pics are getting boring. Maybe next time I'll be able to wander a bit in the daylight and take some decent snaps.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A really cool video - check out the cleverly camod squid at the end!!

I'm not normally one to link to cool videos but this one got me. I love the sea and all things aquatic - so this one suits.

Friday, January 18, 2008

COBO roof parking - or lack of!

You know, I'm trying to avoid being a whiner. But some things do annoy me.

As the post below might indicate, I went to the Detroit Auto Show. It was an Industry Preview day - not too busy, but busy enough.

So, we wanted to park, as I always do, on Cobo roof. It's a great location - it was just this time last year I discovered it, and use it now for all event parking - SAE, hockey - it's real convenient for the Joe, and, I thought, the Auto show.

So, off we go down Congress - we see it's blocked off before the roof parking ramp. No problem - I guessed it was just a decent way to control traffic. So off we go around a block and get to the ramp - only to find that they were only letting cars with monthly passes in. What???

Cobo - you're hosting the event - at least let us use your parking lot!!!!!!! We ended up parking somewhere else - not too far away, but it just all annoyed me. Oh well.

The lot should be open for the regular public event.

NAIAS 2008 - or Detroit Auto Show. Industry Preview Day

An Escalade Hybrid? As was pointed out to me, this is the equivalent to an overweight person supersizing their Big Mac meal and getting a diet soda.

This car would get me all kinds of tickets

I love the air conditioning in this. Can you see it?