So to flanuering about Genova!
I bounded out of bed at 7am or so and took off for a trot along the harbour. It was such a swell time of the morning to be out; all the Italians were buzzing about on their way to work and what not, stopping off in their little café bar to shot back an espresso and a pastry before their little jaunt to the office. School children with back packs bigger than them ambled along the little lanes, dragging their feet and dawdling as long as they possibly could before they had to be in the classroom. It was an amass of activity, a domicile of hubbub, and my “word” for Genova struck me then and there – a Bustling Beehive.
On return home to the apartment (with only a mere misdirection and attempt to get into a wrong door) I found our superhost in the kitchen with places set out for three; “Breakfast?” he inquired, gesturing to the kettle whistling away on the stove.
To Claudio. Honestly, what a superstar. Airbnb works that to maintain a “superhost” rating, one must receive five or more five-star reviews a month from stayers. Well, if there was a possible higher title then this champ deserves it. (Honestly if you are ever in Genoa, look him up).
He had laid out a little banquet of croissants, multiple types of biscotti, Italian coffee and was at the sink motorising along glasses of freshly squeezed blood orange juice (I cannot even describe how delicious it was). We sat down and he poured PMS a coffee (which was what the bowls were for on the table – we had thought them to be plates or such lark) and then proceeded to dunk away his biscuits in his milky bev and chatter away in broken English. We taught him “mate” and “aye” (which he then peppered into convo throughout the rest of our stay) and had lots of laughs.
I went off and skyped the old bestie Ab and when I came back out Claudio called me to the lounge; on YouTube, he was blasting out none other than Fat Freddy’s Drop and excitedly gestured to the TV, saying, “New Zealand!”. I wrote him out a list of other top notch Kiwi artists to have a listen to (Six6o at the top of course) and he was so excitedly eager he started disemboguing Katchafire then and there.
Claudio works in some sort of admin role at the university a mere five minutes’ walk away so he went to get ready for work, returning all Barney Stinsoned (I.e., “suited up”) and looking on point (he’s in serious good shape for a 30-year-old, let alone 60-year-old man). We waved our farewells, then PMS and I got ready to go and go around Genova.
What a beautiful place. We were in the heart of the old town, so the more historical region, which we wandered for a while (visiting the main local church where I – you nailed it – lit a candle) before taking a tram up to the top of a hill to see a castle (like, an actual fortress from back in the day. Arrow shooting windows and all). We then rambled back down (at a very steep gradient; those stairs were severe), stopping off at Claudio’s recommended Don Paulo for PMS to find his soulmate in some pistachio gelato. Once back at the bottom, we went back to the harbour and went into Eataly (honestly, such a fantastic place; reminiscent of a Farro or Nosh, it’s kind of like a gourmet food supermarket that also has a restaurant within). PMS had a spaghetti allo scoglio (I.e., seafood spaghetti) and then I FINALLY got to indulge in a scoop or two of my favoured biscotti gelato (poor PMS got his first bout of grumped up Pop when it took me a good fair few different stores to find one that had it) (but seriously, how fucking fab is gelato?!).
And wow, the eatery options around Genova are like Milan two-point-oh, my favourite part being the names. “Gastronomia”’s and “Focaccieria”’s and Pasticceria”’s and “Paninotera”’s – just amazing. I spent many a moment perusing the displays and cabinets of each café to feast my eyes on the creations.
We sat (well, I lay flat on my back on the concrete to stretch out my back) by the sea and yarned for a wee while, then went for a wander around the newer area of the city where all the more chain shops and such were nuzzled. One thing I truly loved about Genova was its seaside town feel – down by the waterfront you’d never guess that within the core of the city lolled a sector of shops. (We had made a bet on the population of the city with closest estimations getting a pint from the other; I won’t even tell you PMS’ guess, let alone mine – all I’ll say is that we were a fair way of the 550,000 actual approx. number). After a fair while of further flaneuring we headed back to the apartment to chill before our main man Claudio came home at 8pm.
And what a lovely evening we had, sipping back on sangria and my favoured drink of the past – red wine and diet Coke (actually a properly sold pick-me-up in Spain, I’ll have you know – calimoche). Claudio was once again on YouTube looking up vids of the All Blacks doing the haka (which seemed more and more enjoyable the more wines deep we were) then he plated up pesto and parmesan pasta for him and PMS to bite back on.
Once the vessels were vacant, PMS and I watched a snippet of Schindler’s List (evanescent excerpt not through choice – the streaming dropped out and we were deserted in the equidistant of act one) then settled down to sleep.
So Genova; most definitely a Bustling Beehive. But not in a swarmy, scary type way – no, I mean it in a very ordered, people-going-about-their-business modus. I loved it. Not as a place to live mind; I mean in a holiday vay-kay destination type regard. But yes, a humming hive. Beautiful and lively. Seaside-esque (well, not even “esque” as it is by the seaside) and unflustered.
Just on point.
So where to from here? None other than Cinque Terre, my friends. Going to hike about the cliffside villages and trundle up and down the series of steps (apparently staircases are quite the go about there). So time to get on track (I.e., catch the train) and get on with it.
(On route to the station had another moment whereupon my ankle caught the curb and I stumbled, the weight of my backpack catapulting me into the gutter. Turtle number two of the week and what not. But I’m getting extremely good at manoeuvring my way out of such conundrums – lean to the left, push off on the calf and rock with it until back on the feet. Nailing it).