Genova, last day & the train

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Julia, not carrying a backpack, and looking very grown up to me.

We are lazy and utilitarian on Wednesday. If our hotelier did not want to clean and straighten the room, we might spend the day in it. We would be forced out for food. We are ready for a lazy vacation. It has only taken three weeks of intensive museuming.

Right after breakfast, we found a shop to launder clothes. It was a short walk from our B&B with filled backpacks and, thanks to a very nice older man who was also washing, we were guided through the process. Not quite as intuitive as one might think. All our clothes fit into one medium sized washer and so there was no division between darks and lights. I had just enough change to wash and so, once the washer, we had to find a bakery to get sweets and change. Julia has never waited for clothes to wash and dry–ah, a suburban kid life. She is fascinated and bored. Continue reading

Genoa, Portofino, Camogli

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Portofino dope pranzo (after lunch)

Yesterday, we had a day in Genoa. It was Monday and much of Italy is closed on Mondays. We spent the morning at the Villa del Príncipe, the home built by Andrea Doria. I am not sure why his name is familiar but I learned that he was a very successful naval officer of fortune, working for the King of Spain and various Italian princes and kings. He made a lot of money, guaranteed Genoa’s safety (I’m not sure from whom) and then built his house. It was very grand, big as any royal palazzo but time has not been good to it. An elevated highway cut off part of the garden, the train station is next door and there is nothing but a traffic circle close to it. Still, it was open and we went. I didn’t realize it but most of the palazzos we’ve seen in Torino and Genova are publicly owned and thus have access to restoration funds. Good investments bringing in tourist euros. Andrea Doria’s house testifies to the value of a historic house being run publicly if family pockets are not deep enough. Although the Dorias have done some renovation (it is still owned by the family) much, much, much needs doing. Continue reading

Genoa, second day

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From the roof top of Palazzo Rosso

We are at a small restaurant in Nervi, 15 minutes by train from Genova and a much needed respite from the city. After a day of Genova yesterday, I was feeling a bit stressed. I resonate much more with the order of Torino than the chaos and grittiness of Genoa. Neither are real tourist towns, not like Roma or Florence. Last night, I wondered what we were going to do here for five more days. I wondered if my insistence on staying a week in each place we went to this year was an unwise decision. Yes, you can see the important sight of Genova in two days. And at least for me, the important sights of any town provide a way to get to know the place. Walking to and from the sights, taking in the sight’s surroundings and finding how a city is put together is what I do. Those sights provide destinations when I am not ready to wander and then landmarks when I can wander. Continue reading

at the acquarium in Genova

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The center of the old city of Genova

Travel day contained a bit of stress and anxiety. Because it has all turned out well, it was all adventure and a story t tell.

But first . . .

Our first full day in Genova and we are visiting the Acquario di Genova. I’ve been to a number of acquariums and this ranks with the best of them. Perhaps the best. Many of the exhibits are spotlighted in cool dark halls. I could have used a few more places to sit and take breaks but I have a kid who likes to read every description and look at tanks for a long time. Julia knew a surprising number of fish names and she learned more today. There is a cafe after the first long stretch for coffee or juice, although before the end of our tour I was ready to admit that we should have had more than a snack. An early panini lunch would have been a good idea as we missed lunch time in the restaurants. Exhibits are arranged on a number of floors with ample space between them. Elevators are placed where needed. Evocative, specifically not obnoxious, music accompanies some of the exhibits, not all. There is a lovely attention to detail, good signage in at least two, sometimes 4 languages. The fish seem happy, if fish are happy, and the exhibits are arranged to capture everyone. Continue reading