Genoa was not so hot on our list in all honesty, only a day prior it was in the worlds headlines after a bridge collapsed killing hundreds of people, injuring so many more and devastating peoples homes. Our friends and family were nervous about us heading there to say the least but I was shocked when I witnessed the devastation first hand. Its unbelievable how close the diversions took us to the scene and it was hard not to cry when witnessing it first hand. The city had a somber feeling from the off but still we were determined to see the good that Genoa had to offer. We parked up in the closest campsite to the city – I say closest but it was up a bloody great big hill and a train journey away from the centre. The city was beautiful, the architecture was ornate and grand and the city buzzed with life in comparison to Turin and surprisingly after what had happened. We walked the streets towards the main square taking in the sights and sounds of the amazing place. We slipped into a secluded coffee shop for some rest and planning time, making use of the wifi we planned away our next few days and relaxed whilst sun leaked through the window next to us. When we’d finished we wandered the streets of old architecture as the sun set casting long shadows through the alleys. We hadn’t eaten yet so keen to sample some true Italian cuisine we headed to our chosen restaurant. It was one of the best experiences we’d had on this trip and loved the service and the food was divine. If you ever get to visit this amazing city I would highly recommend if I could remember the bloody name of it! With the darkness truly set in we headed back to the train station. On our way we crossed the main square in front of the city hall and a circle of peopled gathered holding candles and singing it was such a beautiful tribute to those who had lost their lives on the bridge. It was a sobering way to end the day but I feel blessed to have been a part of it and shared in the silent prayers.
The next day we were up bright and early and we were keen to get into town for the free walking tour. We nipped into the hostel and were greeted warmly with a cup of tea and a biscuit, which was an ace bonus! The tour guide Spyros was amazing and gave us so so much more than just a regular tour with the usual facts, his comical notes on the Italian way of life and living here as he himself was greek was really funny but still informative. We strolled around the city up stairs and hills and down many cobble alleys and into local squares again I know I always say it but I would so recommend this tour if you want the facts but presented in a casual and fun way! The heavens opened as we finished the tour and soaking we ran through the streets to our van.
It was early afternoon when we arrived in Portofino only a short pitstop but I was so excited I had been searching online for some time to find this amazing picturesque place. Only accessible by boat from a nearby port it meant we had to park in xx by the train station before walking down to the harbour. I tell you know it ain’t cheap to get there at about £12 for a return ticket but with it being the only physical way of reaching the place (i think you could possibly hike) I suppose they can charge an extortionate amount. As the small ferry pulled up we chugged along the coastal edge enjoying a blissful breeze and salty spray of the sea. As the boat turned the corner Portofino came into view. A harbour filled with the most extravagant boats bobbed in the waves. The beautifully coloured buildings shone in the sun and brightened the cliffside. The waterfront restaurants looked to be as extortionately priced as the boat but that didn’t stop the masses of people sitting in the loungers upside sipping fancy cocktails and indulging in fine food. It reminded me a little of St Tropez because I mean I know its beautiful but it all looked a bit showy. Maybe it is because I was with the masses staring up at the ginormous yachts or maybe I am just being super honest. As picturesque as this place was I couldn’t imaging spending little more than a few of hours there. We took a short stroll round picking up a couple of slices of pizza before plonking our bums on the waters edge people watching. It is most definitely my favourite past time and the clientele of this place didn’t disappoint. Come 6pm we were done and dusted and back on our way to the van.