In January 1869, exactly 150 years ago, Miss Riggs joined Thomas Cook’s very first tour to Egypt and the Holy Land. Travelling overland, the journey would take three months, there and back. Miss Riggs kept a diary of her adventure and I am going to be posting from it over the coming weeks. This is day five.
Friday, 29 January 1869
4 a.m. all very tired and excited, some saying they would never do that pass again [see yesterday’s entry] – had coffee at our Hotel Trombetta. Went to bed for a few hours – down to breakfast at 10 o’clock – to the Palazza Reale [above], formerly the residence of Charles Albert – now unoccupied; rooms fine, floors inlaid wood – a great deal of gilding – portraits principally of the Savoy family – a chapel attached principally black marble. An old castle the only antiquity in Turin with polygonal tower in the Piazza Castello. Many squares in Turin and Colonnades. Snowing today. Fortunate we are to be on this side of Mont Cenis – had there been more snow could not have passed; what would we have done. Our party make a great increase at this hotel, an amusing set. I am exploding with laughter. At 2 o’clock accompanied Mr. Cook to station to claim our luggage, and all heavy luggage was booked on to Brindisi. Kept our small packages. At hotel eat long pieces of thin rolled paste baked lightly, called Grisli after the makers name.
Seems odd that a tour group heading for Egypt with a day to kill in Turin wouldn’t visit the city’s Museum of Antiquities. This had one of the world’s finest collections of Egyptian antiquities, including the 5,268 pieces bought from the French consul-general to Egypt Bernadino Drovetti. Too busy, perhaps, having a laugh at the hotel. That’s tour groups for you. I wonder if the snacks she calls Grisli are actually breadsticks, known in Italy as Grissini, and supposedly invented in a small town outside of Turin.