Day 27: Genova

Ok so falling asleep early doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to sleep a long time apparently, just that I couldn’t stay up any longer. I woke up at 4am, and forced myself to go back to sleep until about 5:30. After I couldn’t make myself sleep any longer I showered and bought some internet(bit of a splurge) so I could try to reserve a hotel in Genoa. I’ve come to the realization that Italian hotels don’t advertise on websites like booking.com or orbitz.com unless they cost well over 100$ and are *** or more. This makes life hard on me because I want to find cheap * and ** hotels that are 30-40 euros (my average so far has been $34). I’m going to have to stick to the technique of going to the tourist office, or looking through my guide book, but even that has limited options written in it, usually 3 hotels in total. The hotel I had last night was nice but far from anywhere.

Breakfast was included in my hotel price though, which is worth a good 5 euros, and at this hotel was very nice with a large assortment of breads, tarts, cereals, and drinks. I’m going to miss having Nutella in the morning, I hope where ever I move has a Trader Joes near by since they’re like the only ones to carry Nutella it seems. I hear Albertsons in some places does, but I know Stater Bros. doesn’t.

I had to catch a train 3 stops to get to the proper part of Verona since my hotel was so friggen far away. I dropped by backpack off with the baggage service, but that costs 3.50 euros for a minimum. Usually I can use lockers for 2, but they were out of order(they use these electronic ones). I chose to carry my laptop case because I didn’t want to spend more, and I was hoping I might run into another cafe like I had found in Venice where I could sit down for a water and use the internet but no luck.

Verona is a cute town really, but not a whole lot of eye catching land marks, and over all cities like Venice, Sintra, Prague, and Budapest really have more to see and more character. Verona seems more about the mystique of Romeo and Juliet. The only Juliet I found though was a bronze statue(though can you really tell if its her since Shakespeare didn’t sculpt it? Its fitting though that the character that represents the unattainable women is a bronze statue.

The one point that did interest me was this old bridge that had a look like a castle wall. I don’t know what it is about castles and their walls that interests me, I guess its just the allure of times long since past that are best survived by these walls.

I didn’t spend long all in all, I decided by noon to leave for Genoa. My trip had me passing through Milan(or Milano in Italian), but I didn’t go walk around. The high speed trains are expensive here in Italy, a reservation on one will run 15 euros, which is too much for me, that’s large part of my budget, so I don’t intent to ride on one unless I really need to get somewhere in a hurry or its the only train for many hours. When I got on the train to Genoa however I messed up, and got on the first class car. As it turns out I had read the number correct on the side of the car, but didn’t notice that the number 1 appeared on the doors. I wasn’t the only one, a couple of girls from the Bay area had made the same mistake. The second class seats all filled up though and it was either stand or hope that the guy didn’t notice our tickets said second class. I realized though that because Milano was the hub and starting point for this train, it most likely would be when the most passengers were on. Sure enough after about 30 minutes the ticket man hadn’t come by to check our tickets, and I was able to find a few empty seats and moved without incident. Approaching Genoa was really quite amazing. The area around this little port town is mostly high cliffs, and the train passes over deep gorges and through tunnels. When you arrive the entrance to the station is actually a tunnel, so its a bit surprising when suddenly there is light and you see a bunch of train tracks and a station.

Genoa as a whole has more character than Verona.. but I wouldn’t describe it was good character. Other than the revamped marina/harbor, the town is pretty seedy. I have a hotel on the main drag close to the station though, but walking down some of the narrow streets makes the hair on my neck stand on end when someone passes by. Like Verona this city doesn’t have a whole lot to offer in terms of sights, but there is a famous aquarium which is the largest in the Mediterranean. Being such a lover of aquariums(especially the one in Seattle and Long Beach), I went and had a look. It was a bit pricey on my strict budget, but I needed to go haha. They had a lot of interesting exhibits, many were similar to ones I had seen in the Aquarium of the Pacific. Its amazing how much of the fish from the pacific I’ve seen, the only ones I hadn’t were from the Antarctic region I think. I really think that it would be hard to find better diving than what I was able to experience thanks to my parent’s crazy idea to sail around the South Pacific for 2 years. I really don’t think even with my adventurousness traveling I could do what they did, I have too much trouble tearing myself away from civilization (but maybe that’s as a result?)

There was also a very nice fountain, but really that’s all there is to report from Genoa… Tomorrow I plan to go to Pisa on my way to Florence. Florence supposedly has a whole lot of hotels, so I think I might be safe arriving in the late afternoon and still be able to find one, but I’m going to try to check tonight to see if I can reserve a cheap hotel.

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