Well, this was definately not on Plan A when we started our voyage, but as a
good friend and fellow sailor says, "All plans are set in jelly!" This phrase
has been regularly used by many other sailors, who, like us, have constantly
changed their plans throughout their voyages.
We had thought to
put the boat on a ship to somewhere like Gibralter from whence we would continue
up into the Med, along the east coast of Spain, into France and then up the
Canal du Midi to return home some time in June. However, as it happens,
it appears to be easier to get to the French Canal system from Genoa
so, so far so good.
We arrived in Genoa in plenty of time to meet the ship, as the
penalty for delaying it is E21,000 per day! We were
welcomed by cool weather with heavy rain. The hotel was clean and comfortable
except that we were at the back facing a courtyard, surrounded by 9 story high
buildings. You could see the sky if you opened the window and leaned right
out.The electric light had to be on all the time! As there were no
curtains and the inside of the room was clearly visible from at least 5
other windows, this meant that in order to have any privacy, you had to close
the blinds. It was very difficult to know when it was morning! Thankfully, after
2 days of rain it became sunny and warm so that we were able to stay out
all day and make the most of our new surroundings.
Despite D's memories of 15 years ago when he spent a month here,
working on a ship in the docks, Genoa has proved to be great place with a
huge variety of things to see and do. This is just as well as the ship was
delayed and didn't arrive until nearly a week after us, and now we are waiting
for good friends from CSC to join us for a couple of weeks to sail along
the rivieras of Italy and France. Even so, 10 days here is probably not
sufficient to see all that there is to offer.
We are now in a marina in the middle of the old area of the city with
it's high buildings, very narrow alleyways and corridors full
of interesting little shops, small piazzas and churches. At the edge of
this warren is a road of magnificent palaces where the rich owners were put upon
to host royalty when necessary. Several of these have been turned into art
galleries and museums, the most interesting of which houses memorabilia of
Paganini including his two favourite violins.(I wasn't allowed to have a go!).
Yesterday we visited the large Maritime Museum with it's excellent full scale
reproductions of life aboard various types of boat. Although the museums are
expensive (Maritime, E16 each), it is possible to buy a 2 day pass for E16, so
we did and made the most of it!
Part of the port
The coast on either side of the port is
lovely. We took a bus out to the east to the little town and port of Nervi and
enjoyed the walk along the prom in the sunshine and on another day, took
the funicular, straight out of the city to the hills behind and enjoyed a lovely
walk which took in the defending walls and forts.
Determined to enjoy all things Italian, we have, of course immersed
ourselves in the gastronomy of the area. The specialities are foccacia of
many varieties (now the standard lunch fare, along with most Genoese),
olives, pesto and anchovies as well
as the many varieties of pasta, gnocchi and the most delicious ice cream
- Pistacio for D and Stracciatella for me (an Italian man was very helpful
when I had trouble pronouncing it the first time!)
The only downside is that we are having to wear trousers and fleeces
and have the thick duvet on the bed, all for the first time since last
June! Roll on summer!