The photo above is a view of the Alps from San Mauro Torinese, a town on the outskirts of Turin. (We were here three days before the sky was clear enough to reveal the mountains).

The primary reason Maggie came to Europe with me is to visit here, in her family’s homeland. We are actually staying at the home of her (distant) relatives here. Although the family is away, they generously offered to let us house-sit for them, and feed their cats. (Here’s Maggie’s painting of the cats playing).


 We set out to tour the nearby city of Turin, but immediately get sidetracked by the sight of an amazing old basilica on top of a nearby hill. This turns into a major expedition, not only because the hill turns into a mountain with twisty roads, but then we find the basilica is open for touring, with beautiful interior design, and a remarkable old spiral staircase in the stone wall, which takes us up to the catwalk on the outside of the dome. Great views from up here, but the sky is hazy today. Also, nice parkland around it on the mountaintop.

On day two, we take a drive through the countryside around Asti—the original, not the Sonoma County spinoff, although the landscape is quite similar. The high point of the day is a session at the Lago delle Sorgenti, an amazing Renaissance palace built around natural hot springs. (No photos here, check the web link).

1MG_9041 Asti

When we finally have time in Turin, one of the main attractions is the Egyptian Museum, a huge collection of artifacts. Too many fascinating images to compile here, but this one struck me in particular. It’s described as “Family stela of the chief scribe” around 1800 B.C. Obviously, a racially-mixed family. Back then, we could all get along.

1MG_9063 multiracial

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