We woke up this morning to a beautiful pink sunrise and us sailing slowly into the harbour. Genoa harbour is full in equal parts of million dollar luxury yachts, cruise ships and work boats and industrial areas. The water is like green glass, no swell, no dirty brown sludge. The harbour looks directly out onto Genoa, which is situated against the side of a hill, its almost surreal looking out onto town with its old buildings staggered almost precariously on top of each other.
The ship itself managed to reverse itself into a space no bigger than a car bay at a shopping centre with us watching from our balconies with baited breath.
After a hectic breakfast at the buffet, (we still have not found the other more civilised dining options) we got ready disembark and explore. I have to say that before we had even left the port terminal there was an attempted scam by our favourite local italians … the taxi drivers. Apparently there was a huge strike in the centre of town and we would be much better off paying extra to spend the day in Porto Fino instead. We ended up leaving the poor beleaguered taxi driver to battle the strike and wandered into town ourselves. Instead of the 60 minute walk the man had promised it took us all of 10 minutes to wander slowly around the harbour into the town centre.
The tourist centre of town as you can see was packed with people on strike … it was empty and peaceful as we wandered slowly down the large shopping streets. Huge vaulted ceilings, large stone walkways and ornate detailing made this one of the prettiest places we visited. In a lot of places we visit, huge amounts of time and effort seem to go into preserving these ancient structures. In Genoa it seems that they just live around them, they build around them, they live under them and then just ignore them. Beautifully detailed vaulted ceilings are cracking, white limestone is grey and covered in graffiti and mosaic walkways are covered in gum and rubbish.
However as is common with us, we ended up wandering down one of the many side streets into the slightly less touristy side of town. the streets and walkways got narrower, darker and just that little bit seedier. The cobblestones are more uneven and graffiti is more common, washing is hung openly between buildings. This is the real Genoa and its fascinating to see.
So what did we think of Genoa? From afar it is a beautiful place, full of history, amazing views and expensive toys, however it really gets interesting when you get off the tourist track and wander down the side streets. When you get just a little bit lost and explore the undiscovered side of the city.
So back on the boat tonight and a rest day at sea tomorrow, we both look forward to exploring it ourselves and maybe showing you a bit about life onboard the MSC Fantasia!