Time in Turin

We spent almost a whole meal laughing as we read our 1963 Collins Italian Phrase Book that we took to Turin this past weekend. It was so old fashioned. When was smoking cigarettes banned on flights we wondered reading 'Steward, have you any cigarettes?' (Camerierie, ha delle sigarette) Did anyone actually say: 'This is a rum go' and 'That's the giddy limit'. Or 'I have two pairs of socks to mend'. There are so many phrases that are no use now.

Time warp continued in the magnificent Automobile Museum. Remember the Dave Clark Five's 'Catch us if you can' album? No? Well perhaps the car that features on the sleeve is more memorable. It's a 1964 Jaguar E Type Series I OTS. We loved the psychedelic paint job on an actual 2CV . One of us travelled overland to Afghanistan in one and has the photos – hard copy in an album – to prove it. The 2CV stopped being produced in 1990.

We went on the history of cinema museum and more remembering. This time it was 'reel to reel' film, turning knobs manually on cameras, seeing a poster for a film we'd seen years ago.

The fun of a short get-a-way break is that step back from the day to day and see what happens. We didn't deliberately go to Turin to look back to the past but that turned out to be a bit of a theme, in some ways not surprising as Turin has a long history, and we enjoyed our time exploring aspects of it.

There's a lot of research suggesting that 'we all need to unplug now and then! In fact, we come back better able to perform when we allow adequate breaks'. So did I actually 'unplug'? Of course it depends on what you mean. With my smartphone in hand I was able to ditch the 1963 phrase book in favour of an automatic translation of Italian/English and hear the correct pronunciation. I had my steps automatically counted. (Why?) I could take photos/videos to send instantly to family (they like to keep tabs on me), have a route to destination planned for us with recommended stuff on the way and stay in touch with 'breaking news'. So I was definitely plugged in to the present – but differently from during a work day.

The structured workday and the load of stuff to deal with that it brings is what characterizes 'work' for me. I wasn't doing less in Turin, I was doing differently. I hadn't taken my work computer or phone. I could stop and watch street performers, sit and eat lunch without a keyboard in front of me, wander along the river bank admiring rowers' skills (ok I know nothing about rowing technique but they looked good to me), amble through food markets and feel a whole different pace and time. I could argue that I still had 'meetings' scheduled (Matisse in the 10:00 a.m. slot), still commented on stuff – though not with an imposed time limit of 'by noon today', still complied with bureaucratic processes for example buying the correct ticket and standing in line to go to the top of the Mole Antonelliana tower, still searched for relevant information (what is bicerin)? But all of this was different from my work day content.

And right now I feel a whole lot better for the refreshing differences. I'm hoping I'll feel this good when I see how many email I have to respond to tomorrow and how much I have to comment on before 'close of play'. ('Play'!!??)

Do you think a breaks from the usual work routine are beneficial? Let me know.