Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Genoa

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Genoa, Italy

We took the train from Marseilles, France to Genoa, Italy, a journey that took  over 6 hours during which we passed places like Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo (beautiful, very elegant and classy), which are only minutes apart by train.  How pathetic that these are world-famous cities for sea and sun! There was plenty of sun but the beaches were small stretches of pebbly shores! When it comes to beaches, the tropical islands have the best, hands down.

You know you've crossed into the Liguria region of north-west Italy because the towns are old and houses are perched on hill slopes. The trains drastically change from sleek, modern ones to old rusty ones with small compartments for 6. You just feel the energy, the beat of Italy.

We arrived in Genoa (Genova in Italian) about 9 pm and checked into a hotel we found near the station. Hotel Aquaverde had those iron elevators you see in thrillers and our room was small but clean, at 75 euros for two. Since it was nearly dark, we did a quick tour of Genova's harbor area, Arena Del Mare. We were told that the aquarium is a must-go. Genoa had a small town feel and was quite different from all the other cities we'd been to. Like other cities and towns in this region, Genoa is surrounded by hills on which houses are built. The city looked and felt old, like it never changed from hundreds of years ago. I expected a merchant from Venice to appear anytime.

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Maybe because we were hungry (we arrived about 9 pm and didn't want to wander far from our hotel so we ate at a little Japanese restaurant nearby), but this was the best plate of fried udon (8 euros!)  I've ever tasted anywhere!

As in all Italian cities and towns, there are churches at every corner and Italian churches are gloriously designed and decorated:

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This church has ornate gold ceiling.

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The Genoa Cathedral has moorish influence.

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So sweet, going to church early in the morning.

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The next morning, instead of hurrying on to Cinque Terre as planned, we decided to wake up early and spend some time checking out Genova. That was one of the best decisions we made because Genova in the morning is absolutely lovely, with shopkeepers opening their shops and the locals strolling and shopping . Genova may not have much in terms of tourist attractions and famous buildings but the city felt authentically Italian and I can imagine how it's like to live there until old age, shopping in little shops tucked in old, narrow streets that never change.

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Homey cafes

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Narrow streets with friendly shopkeepers who say "Ni hao!" because Genova has quite a number of students from China.

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Abundant fresh fruits n veg.

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Freshly made pasta. The fine spindle-shaped pasta upper right corner is called 'trofie' and is very common in the Liguria region.

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Sea asparagus (zeekraal in Dutch) is crunchy and saltish.

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Freshest fish I've seen so far.

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Moscardino-are they cuttlefish or octopus because they have octopus' body and cuttlefish's head.Must taste so good...

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An unfriendly door.

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Waiting for their coffee in the early morning.

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Insalata russa (russian salad?) looked like a creamy dessert but is really made of potatoes. Seen in many Genoan shops.

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Pesche (peach) dolci is YUMMY! I thought it was two donuts sandwiched together with cream. Instead of being doughy and dense, the 'donut' was fluffy-light and a surprise awaited at first bite--the cream  and donut were spiked with lots of flavored liquor. I wish I know what liquor they used, because it was just heavenly. There was plenty of yummy cream because the centers of the 'donuts'  were hollowed out. I was mewing as I ate. Oh, I want this again!

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Just in case you are going to Genoa, this is where I bought the pesche dolci and all the bakeries sell them so maybe they all taste as good.

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Genoa, big little city that's frozen in time.

5 comments:

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

Terri, how do you upload photo from flickr after they changed their feature ?
I click the photo, click Share this, copy the HTML, paste the URL column, but still cant~ why ah ?

terri@adailyobsession said...

ei, u click 'share this' and grab the html, cut n paste like usual. try again dear.

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

ok, " Tak Joh" ! Thanks~
Miss your cooking la, as much as I miss Wey Wey :D

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

I still remember Genoa vividly. It was there where a 4 year old half naked gypsy boy pickpocted my entire money belt which I stupidly left in my backpacked.

It took me two agonizing years before I managed to get my Malaysian passport and swapped it with NZ as soon as I can. The experience I had with the consulate and embassies in Europe just to make my way home was horrendous. I've never felt more like an unwanted, second class citizen of Malaysia.

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

oops. horrible spelling mistakes!

pickpocted - pickpocketed

backpacked - backpack

I think it's time for a cup of coffee.

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