The city we left has successfully blended a modern lifestyle in an old setting. Nice has obviously new technology, fairly modern transportation, has a flair for arts and culture and is mostly well kept, such as freshly painted shutters on the buildings and no garbage strewn about. In contrast, Genoa, at first glance, looks like no one has spent much time or money on it since the great explorer departed from here. Well, that's a bit harsh maybe, but the broken neon flashing lights, the abundance of graffiti, the shutters that look like they may break free from the last rusty hinge, as well as the litter and bad smells seem to surprise us at every turn.
I know not all coastal towns are a sea-side holiday escapes for the wealthy, but this is a bit like entering the land the 21st century forgot. It's not the obviously lack of money that rubs me the wrong way, rather it's the lack of care. It looks like everyone gave up on the aesthetics, which is a shame, because there's so much great architecture to work with here. I wasn't expecting Genoa to be as fine as the great cites of London and Paris but this is less that I expected.
Now, I must move on to what I like about Genoa before you think I've turned into a snob. I like the bustling commerce we passed by on the train coming in - there's still a very active port here. I like that it's a compact town that's easy to get around in. I like to view the paint in pastel colours all along the hillside houses. I like the local focaccia and pesto, and of course, we all like the gelato. Dad likes the massive yachts in the harbour.
Genoa's greatest tourist assets maybe the host of attractions in the harbour. We climbed aboard the replica 17th-century pirate ship, Neptune ,which was used in the film called "Pirates" in 1985. The kids though it was pretty cool. I can't ever imagine cruising an ocean in such a thing. I'd be so sea sick.There's also a fantastic aquarium in the harbour which we visited for 4.5 hours yesterday (my feet are still aching from it this morning). We'll also visit a biosphere, arctic museum, and the classic coastal ship museum. We bought a pass for all of them after my concern we wouldn't have much else to see here...I'm hoping to be proven wrong.
Today we also hope to wander by Christopher Columbus' childhood home and learn a little more about his history. Molly said her only Christopher Columbus connection comes from a Junie B. Jones book she read years ago, where Junie acted the part of the Nina, and her friend was the Pinta. She couldn't remember the poor lad who was the unsuccessful Santa Maria.
We originally booked just one night here, but Dad had thought we'd booked two. Since this was a place he really wanted to spend time, we modified our unsolidified plans and booked another two nights here. Our hotel wasn't able to accommodate us, and neither was any other hotel, so we booked an Airbnb apartment for two nights that we move into today. By doing this, we are forgoing our visit to Cinque Terre (I think they paint their shutters there). Perhaps this extra two days will help me develop a better opinion of this place. Maybe it'll start as I have my first Italian coffee this morning.