Getting Lost in Genoa, Italy
A soon as I stepped outside of the train station in Genoa, everything exuded a whimsical charm. Petite fruit stands, focaccia shops, convenience store and locals sipping fresh coffee were all a part of the narrow path leading to my Airbnb destination. Ah, home sweet home - for the time being at least. Less than a 2-minute walk to Cattedrale di San Lorenzo in Duomo di Genova, the high ceiling, marble flooring and tall windows were the perfect touch to my air-conditioned accommodation! This lively mix of an ambiance revitalized my senses!
If I were a meteorologist, I'd simply describe the forecast as hot and steamy with a high chance of change of wardrobe needed. Nonetheless, I began exploring Genoa by hopping on a bus heading to Boccadasse, a charming small village just 20 minutes away. The pastel-colored buildings were beautiful and inviting. Venturing my eyes towards the beach, I spotted locals and tourists alike enjoying the making of a golden glow. Ironically, looking at everyone in their teeny bikinis opened up my appetite; I enjoyed fresh catch of the day at a nearby restaurant. After fighting the temptation of laying down soaking the rays all day, I headed back to Genoa to explore its narrow streets in search of hidden gems. They certainly lend themselves for a wonderful adventure.
On my quest, I ended up in Via Garibaldi... also known as a time capsule. Curious about the 1500's? Just take a stroll along this historical mecca and you'll feel as though you're in that era. The details and structural architecture of the buildings are simply magnificent (some of the palazzi are part of UNESCO). After walking aimlessly, I found Piazza de Ferrari, Genoa’s main plaza, which leads to Via XX September, the main street of Genoa. Here you will find many shops and cafes for a relaxing experience. I found myself ordering peach gelato (only for the purpose of cooling off) from a local Gelateria. With every bite of decadence, the heat mattered less and less and as I sadly finished my treat, I wound up in front of Europe's biggest aquarium.
Acquario di Genova is a great experience to observe a variety of marine life. It's a venue for all ages with high levels of interaction that are both educating and fun. The aquarium is the biggest in Europe and has a variety of marine life including an Arctic section where you will find penguins! My favorite part was watching the dolphins swim by - someone had just become a new mom!
Roaming around Genoa required gelato to keep me refreshed but roaming towards the apartment required focaccia so I could relax. ;)
The night fell upon this quaint city; I ventured toward Porto Antico with some Italian friends to enjoy more focaccia (yes, more). I loved how lively the port was - street performers, couples, and families walking around, fully occupied restaurants. After a late dinner (11:30 pm), we visited my friend's favorite gelateria (yes, more gelato too).
The next day I headed to Cinque Terre, came back around 8 pm and met with another friend for dinner. I decided to compare my experience at Eataly in the US versus in its home country. The restaurant showcased an eclectic view of the Port. We indulged in delicacies while conversing about life in Italy.
Alas, the sun rose and it was time to head out to another country. Genoa is a very charming city. I was absolutely enamored by the narrow alleys where even locals get lost (my friends got lost trying to meet me in front of my building). The food was fantastic; not surprising since it is Italian. I loved how lively the city was at very late hours; a clear contrast to Miami where everything closes at 10 pm except for clubs and bars. I finally understood what my Italian friends in the States meant when discussing cultural differences.