Thursday, November 17, 2016

Turin

So after a long enchanted drive through Switzerland, we reached Turin in Italy quite late, and since we were on a madcap road trip our hotels were usually on the outskirts of town where it would be possible to park our double decker bus, so anyway everything was shrouded in darkness when we arrived late at night. 
Woke up, had a good breakfast and walked out to see fields and fields of (I'm guessing) wheat ... . Then started on or way to see the Shroud of Turin... 
Some cute cops, they seem to be really fit here... they tend to value their bodies. 
A lot of history surrounds the shroud, but it is widely believed to be the shroud that Jesus was laid to rest in the tomb. This is supposedly a rare viewing, the shroud isn't always open to public display. We reach the church, wait in a long queue, go through stringent security checks, and after an evocative video describing the mystery behind this famous shroud and it's patterns of blood they let us file into the darkened church, it is all quite somber and poignant... And finally we see the Shroud of Turin with its characteristic patterns... of course it is all a mystery, no one can be quite sure if this is indeed the shroud Jesus was laid to rest in. There are a lot of theories about carbon dating and stuff claiming that this is indeed the shroud, there are theories refuting the same. Doesn't really matter, what you believe you make it your reality. 
So after a few minutes of quiet reflection we come out and enter the really dark church through the main entrance and see the shroud displayed up front and beautifully lit up, casting a surreal glow over the entire proceeding. After seeing the Shroud, next up on our agenda was the Salesian headquarters in Turin, where St. Don Bosco started his missionary. This whole Europe trip was put together by my Salesian parish priest and a travel agency, so naturally the story of Don Bosco was quite well known among our group.
We had to walk through this market place to reach the church of Our Lady built by John Bosco
This is the Pinardi chapel, the first chapel built by John Bosco
The colourful altar...
Windows inside
The striking holy water font...
The armchair used by the Saint... his relics are housed all over the place.
This is the magnificent Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, built by this incredible saint with only a few pennies... that's all he had when he started work on this grand structure. We celebrated mass here, there was some amazing singing going on just before that.
We had some good Indian lunch here... and a gulab jamun for dessert.
Afterwards there was ice cream and wine too... the Salesians sure know how to party. 
The church exterior, Basilica di Santa Maria Ausiliatrice (Basilica of Mary Help of Christians) constructed by John Bosco right in the midst of this bustling locality... After a nice time in Turin, we started on our drive to Padua.
We stopped for dinner in an Indian eatery on the way.
Reached Padua late at night and as usual our little group of night roamers, got together to explore Padua at night. The college crowd here makes this place lively and interesting, we just walked the streets eating ice cream and having a wonderful time. 

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