12 May – Genoa, Italy

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May 12th 2016
Published: May 12th 2016
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Genoa - looking down from viewing terrace above city
Hello from Italy! France did not last very long we have moved on to another country. We arrived in Genoa this morning. We needed to start a little earlier than usual so we had a quick breakfast in the International Café before going to the theater for our excursion. Joyce and Jerry were also on the same excursion, so we arranged to be on the same bus.

We left the ship about 9:00 and started with an hour drive through town with our guide (Paula) providing information as we drove around. Genoa was founded about 600-700 years BC and became a Roman City-sate in 200 BC. There are now about 600,000 residents in the city. She described the city as being shaped like the bowl of an amphitheater. The ships are in the port with the land wrapped around going up the hills. The newly renovated harbor has been transformed into a modern center of shops and bars/restaurants. There is a very tall lighthouse which can be seen up to 50 kilometers out at sea.

Genoa is actually a fairly steep grade going upward so the bus zigzagged back and forth. The houses/villas and apartments

Stock Exchange behind the Fountain
are wedged in shoulder to shoulder so no land is wasted anywhere. In any case, it gives an impressive view looking up from the ship as we at the surrounding city.

After half an hour we arrived at Castelleto Hill and had a short guided walking tour to a couple of terraces looking out over the city. This is where Paula handed out “whisperers” so everyone could hear what she was saying. These are actually little receivers and our guide had the broadcast unit. She had trouble getting her unit to work so we were afraid we would have no narrative – but it got fixed fairly quickly. Anyway, the view from above was pretty impressive when facing both the east side of town and again facing the west side of town. This lasted about 20 minutes and then we go back on the bus.

There are both a series of “lifts” (elevators) and “funiculars” (cable cars) which help people moving up and down the hillside. There are lots of public buses, and we saw motor scooters all over town. It’s really a very tightly packed city, but it’s is indeed an interesting city

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (Genoa)
to visit. We were driven down to the center of the medieval section of town, which they say is the largest of its kind in Europe. There were numerous historical sites around De Ferrari Square. It is the heart of the city, surrounded by public buildings, the 19th-century Stock Exchange and the Neo-classical opera house, which is one of the largest in Italy.

This is where we got off the bus until it came back a few hours later to pick us up again. All the streets and sidewalks are made strictly of cobblestones with a few sections of bricks. Even the curbs and drains are made of ancient stone. There is an impressive fountain in the middle of the plaza and in front of the Opera House is the statue of Garibaldi. It was also a meeting point for the bus, so we saw it better than some of the other places. Anyway, the walking tour started at the 16th-century Palazzo Ducale, once the residences of the Doges, and later used to house the courts. He we were given a 20-minute break for anyone who wanted to use the restrooms in any of the local cafes.

Chapel of John The Baptist inside the Cathedral (Genoa)
They said we should buy a coffee or something, but it wasn’t actually necessary.

We actually started with a walk down the street to the Cathedral. This is the “Cattedrale di San Lorenzo” with its dramatic Gothic façade. Two large carved lions stand guard outside the building with large Carrara marble archways. Our guide gave us an explanation outside of what we would see, and then we went inside. Inside the 13th-century doorways we saw some large rose windows. Paula pointed out some of the main items, including a special chapel where they had the remains of John the Baptist. Back during the Crusades, some of the earliest crusaders were from Genoa and they found his remains and brought them back to Genoa. He was initially buried until the main alter but later had a special chapel built on the side of the cathedral.

After that we headed back up hill a little to the Loca Chiesa del Gesu, a former Jesuit church constructed in the 16th century. We were not allowed to go in as a group (with a guide), so Paula told us about it and then “whispered” a little more information

Gesu Church (Genoa)
after we had gone in one at a time – somehow different from “a group”. Inside this richly decorated, baroque-style marble church you will find two paintings by renowned artist Peter Paul Rubens. Janet waited outside on a bench but it was another pretty church with lots of paintings, stained glass, and marble.

From there we headed further up the hill to the second of two original arched gates in the original walls – we had seem the first gate during our driving section of the tour. After that we came to Christopher Columbus’ house. It had been hit with a bomb during one of the wars and had been pretty much obliterated, but there is a little of it reconstructed now. But following this, we were given a bit more than an hour for “free time” to explore and then meet up at the bus spot.

We first rested for a little bit. We had not walked on any level ground since we went down the gangway, so we needed a short break. Paula had been fairly good about walking slowly and not wandering too far off because there were lots of tourists

Main alter inside Gesu Church (Genoa)
in this popular area. Regardless it was quite a bit of up, down, and sideways. We had brought along a few cookies as an “energy snack” which we shared with Joyce too. But after a little rest we felt better and went around looking at some of the shops. Frankly this is a fairly high-end set of store right where we were and we didn’t feel like wandering too far to look for less trendy places. There were however a set of street vendors having set up around Garibaldi’s statue and it was fun to look at their stuff. There was one cheese stand which particularly attracted David’s interest, but that didn’t seem like something we could easily bring back home – so no sale.

There was a little mix-up about the bus pickup but everyone got together and our bus found us. We returned to the ship safely and concluded a pretty interesting visit to the city of Genoa. We had started the morning in sweatshirts and with the threat of showers, but the sky cleared early and we had very good weather. Just as we were returning to the ship it started to cloud up

Janet & Elvis
and threaten to rain, but we dodged those sprinkles. They did not last long and the rest of the afternoon was overcast but nice.

There are other shore excursion options available here in Genoa but we chose something that wasn’t too taxing because tomorrow is going to be somewhat strenuous. If we come back again in the future there are other things which might be interesting. Getting back at the ship today about 1:30, we came aboard quickly and went straight to deck-16. Janet had a couple of slices of pizza and David had a couple of hot dogs with fries. It wasn’t a fancy lunch but it was quick and good - it had been several hours since we had eaten and we were hungry again.

Looking out from our balcony or from the upper decks, the hillside provides a barrage of colors as each building seems to be painted in a different color and no two adjacent one seem to be quite the same. It is a very festive look – hopefully the pictures do it justice but unfortunately they were all taken while it was overcast. We returned to our cabin

View of Genoa from our Balcony
after lunch for the remainder of the afternoon. We got yesterday’s BLOG sent (sorry it is late) and started working on making notes from today’s excursion. Trying to understand all the Italian names spoken by someone with an Italian accent, may have caused a few errors in our description but we hope you got the gist of our day. When possible, David tried to photograph name plates to help identify what he was seeing. We have a very big day planned tomorrow so a restful afternoon seemed like a good plan.

David went to the International Café to bring back one of Janet’s fancy coffees and a coca cola. Then we had some of Janet’s birthday cake from the other night which had been wrapped up in the fridge. Janet had a short nap before getting ready for dinner while David went up to the Lido Deck (#16) for a little stroll. He found the pool was filled with some of the kids and their parents – making the best of 68 degrees. That brings up the fact that this cruise we may not be in the older half. There are a fair number of preschoolers and

View of Genoa from the bow of the ship
their 30-something parents. There are also a bunch of 40’s and 50’s-looking people on this cruise, who probably took a week’s vacation from work. There are still some really old looking coots, but on average we may have crossed the line to join the older half. At least we are still in the younger portion of the older half.

Tonight was the last of the Formal Dress dinners for the segment from Barcelona to Rome. We will have more next week, but this is the last formal night for Joyce and Jerry. They did not have an appetizer session in Club-6 before dinner because there is an after-dinner session instead, but we will get to that in a minute. For dinner Janet and David both had the Beef Wellington entrée. For appetizers and soups/salads Janet had Princess Tomato Soup and Veal Raviolis, while David had Cold Apple Soup and Fettuccine Alfredo. We both had wine with dinner this evening and Janet had Irish Cream with her coffee and David had a glass of Port. For dessert all four of us had Cherries Jubilee.

Right after dinner (at 7:30) we attended the Captain Circle Reception for returning members which was one deck up in the Vista Lounge. They welcomed all the returning passengers and said there were 717 Platinum passengers (like us – more than 50 days cruising) and 385 Elite passenger (with more than 150 days cruising). Then they announced the 3 couples who had won bottles of Champagne for the most cruises - they were pretty much the same folks as who had won on the Atlantic Crossing. Then they drew 3 names of other passenger for the attendance prizes of Champagne, and we were one of them. It’s not like we don’t get enough chances to drink, but tomorrow night we will take our bottle to dinner and we can toast the final night with our friends Jerry and Joyce.

After the reception we decided to skip any other evening entertainment and went back to the cabin to send the BLOG and get an early night’s sleep. The captain predicts some unsettled weather during the night, so it might be a little bumpy, but we expect it will be alright. So that wraps up an interesting day in Genoa. Good night.


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