Still hurt from my missed train from Barcelona to Marseille, I was at Marseille train station with plenty of time to spare to catch the first of three trains that’d get me to Genoa. Today was definitely what can be classed as a ‘travel day’ and I was ready to embrace it. I had snacks. I had activities. I had the deep urge for a nap. Bring it on!
First train – delayed, but very comfortable. I was super excited when it pulled up and I realised we were going on a double decker train…it’s very exciting for my train geek self. Although delayed, we arrived in Nice early so I went to find left luggage to drop my bag for a couple of hours so I could go for a walk and get a taster for the city. When I found the luggage store, it was €5 for a couple of hours. Shocked that it’d be so much for such a short time, I decided instead to just grab a coffee in the train station and save myself the money. As it turns out, that’s basically what the coffee cost and it was awful, but before I knew it I was back on another train bound for Ventimiglia, a small town just across the Italian border. As it’s such a small town, the train station is super close to the beach. Hoping to make use of the hour between trains, I had big plans to head for the beach for a short while. As it turns out, the train was super delayed arriving in Ventimiglia, and the hour changeover turned in to ten minutes. I was getting really nervous as I wasn’t sure I had the right ticket for the next journey and needed to fit in a visit to the ticket office in that time!
Thankfully something went right for me, and the queue for the ticket office was tiny, my ticket was fine and the ticket office was right next to the platform I needed. My last train of the day pulled away and I was so tired from doing absolutely nothing that I’d hoped to just have a bit of a nap for the journey. As it turns out, this was the most uncomfortable train journey I’ve probably ever had, not helped by the fact the man sitting opposite me insisted on slouching to the point I thought he might fall off his chair, and continuously bumped legs with me whilst simultaneously enjoying a good ol’ scratch of an area that shouldn’t be scratched in public. I was not happy.
My not so happy mood continued once I arrived in Genoa, and I didn’t have the best first impressions. The weather was rubbish, pretty much everything was closed, I couldn’t find my apartment and when I did the check in agent had left for an ‘emergency’ leaving me hanging around in a random square for twenty minutes. Still, I tried to be positive and headed out to grab a slice of pizza that I’d looked forward to so much. But of course, couldn’t find anywhere open that had pizza – who’d have guessed in Italy?! I instead grabbed a burger and just had a quiet evening in with the funniest shower experience ever, to be ready for a day of exploring tomorrow.
Next morning was a huge effort to get ready and get out. First stop of the day was the marina, where the wind blew out any cobwebs and definitely woke me up! I can imagine when the weather is nice that the port is a hive of activity, but this morning it was just me sitting admiring the huge boats, cruise liners and yachts while a few people walked their dogs nearby. Needing warming up a bit, I made my way for a coffee shop where I had the best cuppa and boost I needed. Continuing along the harbour, a visit to the aquarium was a bit much to justify when I’m travelling on a budget, and I instead wandered up to the funicular. Not sure the views would be worth the trip, I instead made my way to Via Girabaldi with the intention of going to Palazzo Rosso. The place to get the tickets from was closed, so I instead popped my head in to Palazzo Doria Tursi to have a quick look at the courtyard and admire the architecture.
Today seemed to be a day of plans not going so well, so as I walked to Monumento a Mazzini I passed a group of people up a huge hill. People tend to gather where there’s something interesting to see, and assuming the mass of adults was a tour group, I took my nosy self up the steep hill to see what was going on. Turns out it was school kick out time, and the group of people were parents waiting to pick up their children. I had a little chuckle to myself as I passed by, and wandered through the park down to my original destination of the monument.
As much as things didn’t seem to be going in my favour today, as I wandered through the shopping district I managed to pick up another pair of sunglasses after mine had gone walkabout the day before, and I just stumbled upon Piazza de Ferrari and Christopher Columbus’ house. Continuing on and up the hill, I had my sights set on a visit to Basilica di Nostra Signora Assunta di Carignano – I’m a real sucker for a church! As soon as I stepped inside, I was overcome with awe. Different to any other church I visited, and not decked out in the traditional Italian style I was used to, I took a quick wander round, trying to ignore the screaming school trip that was also having a tour. As soon as they left and peace settled, a church service began and I also left, not wanting to intrude.
As I wandered back to the city centre, the sun broke through the cloud and I smiled to myself as I attempted to navigate the narrow maze-like streets, eventually popping out by the cathedral in the city centre. Of course it wasn’t too soon for another church visit, so I made my way in and took a seat to soak up the atmosphere and architecture. Just as I sat, a busker began singing just outside the door, and the sound filled the church. It was just what I needed after today, and was so soothing.
Although I had another day in Genoa, I’d be heading out to explore the small town of Portofino tomorrow, so I had an early night with a slice of what I thought was ham and pineapple pizza, but actually turned out to be some kind of ham and potato dauphinoise tart. Let me just say, it was blooming delicious and epic.