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June 2013

Part 8: Genova

I leave Antonello's hospitality at Torino but keep his recommendations about the most scenic route. Betcha I do the right thing but in case you wonder here's what fills my eyes halfway to Genova, South of Alba riding on the SP158:

Those vineyards are fantastic to watch on such a perfect day and I bet they taste fantastic too. One more shot before I go:

After a pleasant ride I make it to Genova and I'm immediately impressed by this long highway bypass bridge that gives you great overview of the city (as long as traffic allows which usually doesn't). Miss the right exit and it costs you distance and time. But the driving challenge continues in the labyrinth of those narrow spaghetti backstreets. Though I'm sure I'm very close to my AirBnB and same does my GOS I still can't figure it out. I have to lay my pride down and call my host to come pick me up. In a couple of minutes she arrives on foot. On the way to her apartment she admits that most of the times people can't find her place except guys with Tom Tom GPS. Yes Google, you lost here. She shows me my room, her apartment is large and great with nice overview to the city and I rush to explore it on foot.

I soon realise it's an interesting city and worth the effort the whole walking requires with all these steep stairs up and down. Genova is like an amphitheatre built around the port which gives you numerous generous view points like this one, "Belvedere Don Ga":

There's parts that you might have to walk through some very narrow backstreets though:

After going all the way down I find myself at Porto Antico where the first thing to attract my eyes and camera is Neptune, that 17th century replica ship built in 1985 for Roman Polanski's film Pirates:

Beyond impressive. Says something about the budget of the movie I guess. Here's one more:

A few steps away walking East at Piaza Caricamento I can't resist to the looks of the Palazzo San Giorgio:

Built in 1260, still impressing all visitors. Since it's 24th of June it's the feast of San Giovanni Battista, Patron Saint of Genova and that explains the crowd and ceremonies taking place around me:

I continue walking and enjoying the beauties of the past:

Piaza delle Scuole Pie

San Lorenzo's Cathedral

Piaza de Ferrari is definitely one of Genova's highlights:

Another thing that impresses me is Genova's tunnels. Here's Galleria Giuseppe Garibaldi:

I decide that's enough for today so I return to my room walking all the way up.

Next day is also a nice one so time to walk some more again. At "Giardinio di Publico Asservimento" I get the chance for one more overview to the city and the garden itself:

Walking down to the sea again, I find interesting the botanical garden of "Biosfera". You'll understand my interest and its name after these images:

Going up again at Sant'Andrea hill I see these two medieval semicircular watchtowers:

Turns out I have just pictured Porta Soprana, part of the fortress of the city and also it's entrance back in the day.

The city's efforts to stay green makes great chances for pictures under the bright sun:

The local Royal Palace is a must and acts as a museum now:

In case you wondered, here's the King's ride:

Things have changed quite a bit ever since...

After one more full day walking I make it back to my AirBnB for some rest and close to sunset I decide to enjoy some view at the terrace:

As I rest myself at the balcony sipping a cheap strong Grappa while overlooking the port of Genova during a wonderful sunset, my host comes to me and says "you're lucky" with a promising look in her eyes. Before my imagination would spice my thoughts she adds: "I give cook lessons and tonight I have my students here so you will try some pasta with pesto if you don't mind". It's times like this that decisions are made at lightning speed. Not much later I'm having one of the best pestos ever escorted by quite considerable amounts of red wine. Almost a whole bottle of Grappa and almost another one of wine drops me almost dead but super happy on my bed at the end of this better than expected night.

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