Sunday morning was Vivian Meier morning but as we walked through the Palazzo Ducale (it has become my favourite space in Genoa) we found lots of antique stalls and more outside on the piazza. Bliss!
The exhibition was just opening so we spent a very tranquil time in front of her photos with only a handful we had seen before. From there it was on to Elliot Erwitt, a photographer of whom i hadn’t heard but Lou had. In colour so a good contrast with Vivian.
After that it was defo time for coffee so my first proper Italian cappuccino.
And some people watching, bien sur!
Then back to those stalls. Some amazing things for sale, real antiques and collectibles eg Barbie dolls. 🙂 Inside I thought I had finally found the book style photo frame I’ve been searching for but it was too tatty. Lots of jewellery and amongst it some unusual earrings. 10 euros and they were mine!
It was back to piazza del erbe for lunch to try the other cafe whose menu I fancied. We both had fish dishes, beautifully cooked and presented, a light lunch before the walk to find the funicular.
Now, I had researched Genoa and had an article I had pulled out of the Sunday times of how to spend a weekend in the city. I quote ‘from there it is a short stroll to the first fort’. This being from Righi, the place at the top of said funicular. Finding the bottom was challenging enough! We had walked right along the port with a lot of people out and about enjoying a Sunday in the sun. The funicular station was tucked away behind a set of stone steps. A nice young man helped us buy automatic tickets and off we went. Our experience of funiculars is limited but exotic. This was not open and leafy – Budapest or open and dizzying height – Hong Kong but dark and mostly in a tunnel. My claustrophobia started to kick in. We were distracted by the poor young mum opposite whose gorgeous baby girl had just leaked poo all over her!
At the top Lou asked which way and I had no idea. No signs and our map didn’t go out that far. So we started walking up the hill hoping a viewpoint would appear. One did but a bit hindered by nearby buildings. Meanwhile some couples and several cars were passing us in the same direction so we pushed on up the now wooded road but only tiny glimpses of Genoa and the med far below. There had been a sign for a cafe so I hoped we’d find that. We did and grabbed the last empty table on the shady terrace. The decision was made that we cut our losses and go back down to the old town. I was bursting for a pee but on finding the loo was hectored by an Italian lady I didn’t understand. A young girl explained the toilet was being cleaned. Shall I come back in five minutes I asked. Ten was the reply. As I left I heard the girl behind the counter say bravo. Charming! I was a legit customer.
So, back down the hill and, after a quick look at the viewpoint above the station, back down on the funicular. Ice cream, I decided, preferably a gelatina with a loo.
We found both in a very clean place on via Garibaldi. We also found that medium means HUGE. We slurped our way through a large quantity of the cold stuff and made good use of the facilities.
meandering along we came to the tourist office. I went in hoping for a bigger map of Genoa. The lady was very helpful but apologetic that there was no map. However, she came up with a leaflet about the forts and a walkers map of the immediate area around them. Then she suddenly became animated and told us it was free entrance all day, first Sunday in the month, to the national gallery. Another map and scribbles to help us find it. We did, more by luck than judgement, and explored all its floors. Well, I did. Around the third floor Lou had had enough of painted ceilings and gold plasterwork so disappeared downstairs. I continued up to the attics and enjoyed the ceramics and fabrics.
I was ready for a cup of tea and kicking off my shoes back at the hotel but Lou had seen a shoulder bag dirt cheap and fancied buying it. Back to the main tourist street to find it, back through the Palazzo Ducale and home for that cuppa.
Later, we returned to our morning coffee stop to eat ‘typical’ Genovese food or so we were told. Lou had pasta with tomato and chilli sauce and I had minestrone that was so thick with veg I was surprised the spoon didn’t stand up in it. Primi platti but still substantial. I followed with polpettoni as the ricotta and spinach pie had finished and Lou had salad. All very filling and eaten in a busy alleyway. Brill.