An interesting morning in Genoa and we finally reach Cinque Terre

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September 17th 2017
Published: September 21st 2017
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We had a whole morning to spend in Genoa which was a great trading port and has a long and interesting history. After breakfast we left our luggage at the hotel and set off for the old port which was quite nearby. The first thing we found was a replica galleon built in the nineteen eighties for a film. It was very impressive and photogenic despite being fake. We strolled around the harbour area and came across a huge row of luxury yachts – a few even had sails. One had a helicopter and all were polished to within an inch of their lives.

Genoa is surrounded by hills, a bit like Wellington but on a larger scale, and we found one of the funiculars that Dave wanted to take. There was a fine view from the top then we walked up further, along residential streets some with million dollar views. When it came time to to turn back we had a lot of difficulty interpreting the map and eventually went down lots and lots of steps which finally came out near the centre of town. We walked back to the port and had an excellent minestrone, none of this mostly liquid variety which you get in New Zealand sometimes, and a glass of wine. Dave had a lively discussion with the bar owner about low alcohol beer, and the owner was very rude about Moretti beer. You can get Moretti Zero in New Zealand and we quite like it.

We decided to get to the train station in good time so picked up our luggage from the hotel, and found it was actually really easy to get to the station where we checked which was the correct platform. Tamara and the man at the information desk exchanged compliments about their proficiency in Italian and English respectively. We beat up a jumbo cryptic crossword while waiting for the train which arrived so early that wer thought it was another train, but fortunately we realised in time and it did not get away.

The ride to La Spezia had a lot of tunnels and was not particularly scenic, and the train stopped for a long time at Rapallo so it got to La Spezia late and we missed the Cinque Terre train. We didn’t realise that these go every half hour and the ticket is valid on any of them over a certain time period so we stressed out quite unnecessarily, but in the end we got to Rio Maggiore only a bit late. This did mean that no one was there to meet us but Tamara eventually managed to ring the accommodation agency, the first time she had tried an international call on the cellphone. After a while a nice young man turned up and took us to our accommodation which is a little apartment only a few minutes from the train station. It belongs to a D. Ratti so we turned into rats for the duration.

To get in you first open an outer door, then go up four flights of steep stairs, no lift, then you open a door onto your corridor, then you open your own door. The apartment is just one room with a bathroom, quite comfortable but rather minimally furnished. The young man warned us that the jug was for boiling water only, and when we asked, said that people tried to boil milk in it. I can see why, there is no way to make hot milk drinks or cook anything, we felt that Mr Ratti should have supplied a microwave. We have vouchers for breakfast at the nearby bar.

He then took us through a tunnel to the main part of the village where he pointed out the supermarket, the bank, the laundromat and dining places and then took us to his office where we completed the formalities. We found our way back to the apartment and got in after a fight with the corridor door, however we have now got the hang of it. We went to the trattoria nearby which he recomended and it really was good. The woman serving is had lived in Australia for a while and we had a lively conversation about wine and food, and travel experiences. We are very glad to have a few days off from travelling.

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