"Boungiorno" from Genoa! 44:23.30N, 08:56.30E

Saro's Gyda
Derrick Thorrington
Sat 26 Mar 2011 10:45
    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.
Piazza and church
    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 complex
Palazza courtyard
    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!