Genoa – Turning Fifty at Portifina…

As we left Menaggio we stopped in Lake Como for a coffee and a quick dash through the shops. Wow, italian women know how to dress.  Very stylish and simple.  The tourists stand out a mile. From here we moved onto Genoa. 

Genoa is a very interesting city history wise, as it was a previous super power in its day and still shows remnants of that era.  There are grand buildings and Christopher Columbus is one of their favourite sons.  He lived in a very small three storey house.  Mind you, alot of people lived in very small houses on top of each other, but they would have done the trick in the day without all the luxuries that seem to be absolutely necessary in todays world. 

It is very multi-cultural with every nationality in the streets.  We found an amazing Chinese restaurant a couple of doors up from our apartment which was unreal.  Very fresh and clean food.  So nice to have some rice and crunchy veggies. 

Apparently, the Chinese brought long round noodles from china made of rice flour, but the Italians got hold of it and used wheat flour and hence ‘spaghetti’ was born. Do they eat alot of pasta here – my Lordy Yes…

There apparently, is alot more history to be discovered here, but the Red Bus tour for an hour around the city centre was a bit hopeless.  Found out more on Google when I got back to the apartment.  The Genovese owned huge tracks of land right into France – down past Nice and was extremely wealthy.  It was a hub for international trade to the east, hence, the spice markets that are still in Genoa and the great diversity of food and people. 

Still a hub for cruise ships to all parts of the meditterean. 

On the first day of wandering the myriad of alleyways we found the best coffee shop.  There were beautiful rose petals on the ground leading into it, so thought it would be different.  It sure was.  Owned by a very gay dood (complete with black nail polish and waxed external body parts) who had many friends of various shades of flamboyancy floating in and out.  Very colourful but had great coffee and these wrap things with fresh cheese, spinach or ham in them.  Just a snack but just the right size for lunch. He did a pretty good prosseco as well – sparkling white wine. 

On Sunday when we had coffee before catching the boat to Portofino, he was very hung over and not looking too sharp.  But by Monday, he was back to his flamboyant self and serving great coffee again. 

For my birthday, we caught the ferry down to Portifino for the day.  What a delightful way to spend a milestone birthday. To contemplate the next 50 years  etc etc… If it is half as good as the first 50 I will be a happy camper, but something tells me it will be better.  At last I can be totally eccentric and get away with it. Hah….

This Photo is by Alby. After we had done the village thing we sat and watched the world go by in front row seats at a nice little bar.  Another aperol spritz afternoon which was just delightful.  Can life get any better than this….

A quaint little fishing village (or would have been in the past), colourful buildings all stacked on top of each other.  Neat little designer shops of course and delicious italians everywhere.  There was a boat show on at the same time so that was nice to see, how the rich and famous like to play.  A different world I can assure you. I think I prefer my life to theirs, it is alot simpler…

We did the walk to the top of the hill to the Church, but not to the Castle – too hot.  The view (above) was spectacular from here and the cemetery at the rear was also interesting with huge coffin walls, I guess you would call them.  They were about 3metres deep and it looked like the coffins are slipped into the square holes and then concreted up.  There was a vacant one and it intrigued Alby no end to see what happens.  

On the opposite hill was a beautiful big Albatross nest and mum was defending her babies for dear life. 

 The three of us on top of the hill.  A fantastic day.

Very easy and not at all stressful, much like this whole holiday really.  

The Saturday night before this we all went to a delicious little restaurant in Genoa.  Mumma was out the back cooking with her son who delivered the food to the front of the restaurant, while his wife looked after everything else.  We had a delicious bottle of red wine from Chianti to compliment the delicious food. Mumma did a great job and we wandered home happy and full. 

It was here, I was well overdue for a hair ‘do’.  What an experience at Willy’s Art  Hair Salon. Willy’s english was almost as good as my Italian, but we managed to get it sorted.  The ‘do’ turned out Red and the cut (extra) short.  What else can I say.  Now a week or two later, it is settling down quite nicely. 

Just opposite Willy’s salon was a fab dress shop.  The first day we went in there, the snotty lady would not help or try to speak even sign language english.  So she missed out on a very good sale by one of her younger colleagues.  Alby loved it all and I ended up with a few very simple but good outfits.  Plus a pair of delicious leather flats.  All easy and ideal for Cairns. Felt like Julia Roberts – ‘big mistake’….

Also, on Saturday Alby went in search for a little jewellery shop where we had seen a lovely little silver ring hand made in Greece.  He got lost in the myriad of laneways which is very easy and ended up being propositioned by a ‘lady of the night’ and escaped that one.  Then stumbled on a fantastic gelato shop and the jewellery shop.  God knows how, I could never figure it out.  Brought the ring and then the dood in the shop asked him out for Coffee – Alby said no, but he persisted, so Alby ran for the hills.  I killed myself laughing but Alby was not impressed in the slightest.  ‘Oh Puss – Bloody weird people here’, he kept saying.  

That is about it for Genoa.  Just easy walking around the cobblestoned streets soaking up the delights of a somewhat dirty city.  Another one that needs a good gurney but overall a nice vibe.  Ella not so sure, thought it a bit manky with the streeties, but we felt safe enough.  

Once again there were dogs everywhere and the odd cat.  Many old ones with old owners which is just the way I love to see them.  Growing old with a pooch, has to be the best experience ever.  

After Genoa, onto the Cinque Terra – 5 villages on the edge of the sea just south of Genoa and alot of fun to be had there. 

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