Places We’ve Loved: Genoa
When Blonde and Brunette planned our trip to the Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera we scheduled a stopover in Genoa. We expected Genoa to be exactly that – a stopover, not a destination.
As is our habit we bumbled into town in a small car strewn about with our possessions hoping we would be able to find the Hotel Bristol Palace where we had reservations. As we were arriving on a Sunday there was very little traffic in the city and we miraculously didn’t have our usual difficulty finding our lodging.
After gladly tossing the keys to our traveling shack to the parking valet we registered and went to our room so we could also make a mess of it.
The hotel had a beautiful staircase and an old world feel. It did not have a dining room that was open that night, only a small bar with a couple dejected smokers lolling about so we sought a dining alternative.
The desk clerk told us there weren’t a lot of options on a Sunday night in that area but suggested a restaurant by the name of Zeffirino. Although we had some trouble finding the place (it’s tucked away up some steps off the main street) it turned out to be a real jewel. We didn’t know at the time it had been established in 1939 and had served luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren and Pavarotti. And now they were serving Blonde and Brunette! Talk about moving up in the world!
We both had pasta with pesto. It was unbelievably fresh, tasty and so good it was pesto porn for the taste buds.
The next day was the only one we had available for seeing sights in Genoa so we promptly got in a cab and asked the driver to take us away from the main attractions to the famous Staglieno Cemetery. The driver wasn’t familiar with this landmark but willingly looped us through Switzerland and Austria in search of it. We were finally deposited near a rather dubious location which did indeed lead in to the cemetery.
After eating we took a boat cruise of the harbor. Genoa is a huge working port that has also made room for some interesting attractions for visitors. From the boat we saw the Genoa Aquarium, one of the largest in Europe. The aquarium opened in 1993 and more than a million people a year visit. Although its outward appearance looks like stacked up freight containers, which is a bit odd, inside are “virtual tanks” where you can hear waves, currents and echoes from the sea (even if you haven’t been drinking).
The harbor also has the Biosfera which is a mini ecosystem in a dome. Whose life can’t be made richer by experiencing one of those?
For exceptionally trusting visitors to Genoa there is a crane-like apparatus known as The Bigo (not the same as “the big O” but could maybe cause one) which provides panoramic views of the city or panic attacks for people afraid of heights.