This post will be a bit of a compilation of places we visited on the weekend of 8-11 December. On 8 December, the Italy observed the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In other words, Nick had a long weekend, so we decided to go the French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur) for a couple of days.
Thursday, 8 December 2016:
After a couple of hours driving, we entered France!
There is a place in Italy along the Italian Riviera coastline that is called Le Cinque Terre (The Five Lands). It consists of five villages that are centuries old and each contain beautiful and colorful houses. On top of this, there are large vineyards that can be found and seen in between some of the villages.
The five villages are called: Riomaggiore (village #1), Manarola (village #2), Corniglia (village #3), Vernazza (village #4), and Monterosso (village #5).
We decided, spur of the moment, to take a train ride to Genova for the day on Saturday. The train ride was inexpensive and pretty comfortable (for a 2-hour ride).
Our first stop was to get these lovelies. Yum, yum, yum. Can you guess which one I had? Cioccolato? Si!
While walking towards the Italian Riveria (coastal region with a subtropical climate), we saw this beautiful archway that leads to a garden/park.
This hill is called La Scalinata delle tre Caravelle (The Steps of the three Caravels, which are sailing ships). This flower garden shows the anchors and ships from Christopher Columbus’ fleet. Silly us, as we walked up, we kept track of the number of steps. We counted 106 steps to the top. We did eventually make it the Mediterranean Sea and walked this nice promenade where one can take a passeggiata (stroll).
It was so peaceful here that we could easily spend hours, wasting the day away, just watching the sea. A little geography: Nick and I were talking about the difference between a sea and an ocean, and we could kind of guess, but couldn’t really figure it out. In case you aren’t sure either, a sea is a smaller body of water and usually located where the land and ocean meet.
We decided to head back into the city after some time walking along the riviera. We quickly learned that Genova is a very hilly city. I’m not exactly sure how many paved hills we went up and down, but boy were my legs getting tired!
Did you know that Genova is filled with small cobblestone alleys? Walking up and down these alleys, you could probably fit three people across. Any more than that would be nearly impossible.
2. Along with these alleys (that I would definitely never walk by myself or want to live in), there are some buildings with extremely tiny doors (that are part of extremely GIANT doors). See where I marked in red? We someone practically climb out of this door. If you’re not careful, you can take out your head, an elbow, or even an ankle.
We refueled by grabbing some focaccia bread (which is a specialty of Genova) and gazed upon the Genoa Cathedral, which you can tell by the picture below is very tall! After we ate, we visited inside the church, which was breathtaking. You would think after seeing a few different magnificent churches that maybe we would become a little less impressed. However, that is not the case at all. Each church we have been to so far has its own unique beauty that it’s an adventure each time.
Continuing on our journey, we made it to the fountain that I have been wanting to see ever since finding it in one our travel books, the Piazza De Ferrari Fountain. It is placed in the center of the city. Again, a peaceful place to relax and hear the soothing sounds of the water.
Being in Italy, we, of course, had to grab some gelato. We read about this particular gelateria called Purfumo di Rosa. Here, they have homemade gelato. So delicious! My favorite, hands down, is fondente. Think of fudge in ice cream form and that is what fondente is like.
*Fun Fact* Did you know that Genova is also known for making gelato with actual flowers? Nick got the flavor and I tried it. There is no other way to describe the flavor except as it tastes exactly how a rose smells (if that makes any sense).
Afterward, we went back to the sea side to go up this 360 panoramic outdoor elevator that overlooks Genoa and part of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s called Il Bigo. If you look at the picture below, the Il Bigo is circled in red.
The picture above has a couple more angles of Il Bigo. It was pretty cool. It did not revolve like advertised, but at least we were able to move around a bit in the elevator at the top.
We also saw this biosphere that is more or less like a sphere-shaped greenhouse.
Lastly, we went to have some delicious Genovese pesto because like focaccia, Genova is also know for its pesto.
No other words except – wow! So yummy!
We went home exhausted and I slept well into Sunday. Not much happened on Sunday. We went to a couple of open markets and relaxed more than anything else.