I - Genoa
There's a site in Europe called blablacar.com, no kidding. I highly recommend this service when you’re trying to get from point A to point B in Europe and there’s not a convenient train time or location. I rode with a chemist, Francesco, and 2 older businessmen from Milan to Genoa…and boy did they get more than they bargained for! First of all, it was my American friend’s Italian girlfriend who set the ride up and she would NOT let them leave without me. Which became important. I had given myself plenty of time (I thought) to walk from my friend’s flat to the Famagosta train station. The ride was waiting for me at the waiting area on Viale Famagosta and that’s right over there…but how do I get there? A convoluted series of crosswalks, pedestrian bridges and raised highways intermixed to form a maze more complicated than any diner’s placemat. But they weren’t leaving without me so I eventually stroll up having completely sweat through my t-shirt so off came the backpack, off came the shirt, rummaged around, found a clean one and stuffed the sweaty shirt into the pack, stuffed the pack into the tiny trunk of the car, got in the backseat and tried to act completely natural not knowing the language, having ruined these guys commute home and engorging myself in the passing landscape.
The drive itself is amazing. In about 60km you go from the Midwest through the Rockies to the West Coast. My fellow passengers didn’t offer me much in the way of local knowledge which distinguishes blablacar from a private car tour service like mydaytrip.com where you can pay an extra 400 euros and get you own personal tour guide. I’ll review this service on the first trip I take after winning the lottery. Anyway, the
view went from farmhouses (one of which housed a local serial killer, this I did get from my gracious non-guides) and fields, to river canyons cut on the side of foothills, before opening out on to the coast; and the first stop on my adventure.
By the time we got to Genoa, it was raining pretty good and I’d like to think that added to my discombobulation like my friend here must’ve felt after years at sea only to discover that what he’d discovered already had been discovered (or something like that). It did not stop me from having my first meal in Genoa in the sheltering presence of this Columbus statue: a panini (not my last) and a tall moretti (not my last).
I had to figure out a way to get to my hostel since Francesco dropped me at the wrong bus station: "Car stop here!" Like I said, not exactly what they bargained for.
After two bus changes and a short walk up a hill, I did manage to locate Ostello per la Gioventu Genova: https://ostello-per-la-gioventu-genova.business.site/
Totally clean and great view but still my first hostel stay so an adjustment. They don't make those top bunks for men of my, um, stature. It was only $25 US for two nights so no complaints other than my own directional difficulties. They cleared up somewhat the next day as I took the bus back into town to wander and wonder and be in this place at this time. It may sound typically touristy but I staggered slack-jawed through the city center like a traveler from the Midwest who has seen the coast for the first time not to mention a city that seems to be a series of colorful explosions on the hillside leading to the sea where Colombus set sail for whatever fate was his.
Wandering around lost in foreign waters you are bound to come across some interesting sites. I had no idea at the time but I had stumbled across the Piazza de Ferrari and it’s beautiful fountain. Back in the day (circa late 1800s), Genoa was more of a financial center for the country so right here is where the stock exchange and other financial institutions were established.
From the el centro, it’s an easy downhill walk to the harbor and port area with it’s various attractions. My favorite were the street musicians playing music that coulda been from The Godfather soundtrack. The next picture is the biosphere which looks way cooler from the outside.
Their very esteemed aquarium is right behind it. We got one of those here so I didn't check it out. Some damn cool private boats in the harbor, too. My favorite name: Night Caress II
The whole Porto Antico area had great restaurants, bars, boutiques, etc. The final shot is from there looking up one of Genoa's hillsides. Would love to have spent more time here and, I think, would fly into here next time instead of Milan, Rome, Venice, etc.