Europe 9: Genova!

How am I on Europe “9” and not even halfway through the trip!?  I think writing everything out is even more exhausting than being on the go real-time!  Lesson learned: next time, try to blog while on the trip, not after 🙂

Genova, Italy is where we stayed for two nights, during our day in Portofino.  Did you know that Genova is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus!?  I didn’t.  Until I went to Genova, saw the statue, and forgot to take a picture.  (Don’t worry, my mom snapped one on her camera.)

Genova had more lowlights than highlights.  Highlights included that it’s a huge Navy port so I got to see some big ships!  We also stayed at the most awesome Holiday Inn EVER.  After night after night in small hotels, entering this giant, super modern Holiday Inn was like re-entering the comfortableness of America.  I’m talking dark hardwood floors, crisp down linens (with a bed pillow menu!) accented with purple (favorite color!!!!!!), sleek desks with frosted glass tops….you get the picture.  Oh!  And it even had a ba-day.  (However you spell those things that clean you butt.)  My mom claims she just turned in on to see what it did– like she didn’t know what is was I mean, hello, have you never seen Ritchie Rich?!– but I think she was trying to use it.  All I know is I heard a scream from the bathroom, came in, and found this mess:

Lookin' reaaaal suspicious, Mom!
Lookin’ reaaaal suspicious, Mom!

It basically just reminded me a lot of the W hotels.  And those are my favorite 🙂

(They also had free apples at check-in…..or maybe not free, likely actually decorative, but there wasn’t a sign saying “no,” so I took  one and ate it, so it counts as free.)

Low points included how industrial & gritty Genova was; the super creepy Italian men about to pounce at any second; the giant port in the middle of it that made it hard to get anywhere; the lack of stuff to do; the trash everywhere; the pigeons; etc.

Oh– another highlight was the train station was pretty.

(Okay, okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit.  It actually was probably still prettier than any city in America:

IMG_2665 IMG_2667 IMG_2955 IMG_2957

Still though….post-Portofino, I was unimpressed.)

Despite all of that– such lame highlights relative to the other stops in the trip, and so many large negatives– I still am SO glad we stayed in Genova.  Why?  Best. Meal. Of. The. Trip.  (And that was before I got to Switzerland and Austria and realized how lucky I am in America to have normal food.)

Check out this meal:

Fried clams!! (You can bet your bottom dollar that I sure as heck did NOT eat those slimy little suckers.  My mom enjoyed them though!)
Fried clams!! (You can bet your bottom dollar that I sure as heck did NOT eat those slimy little suckers. My mom enjoyed them though!)
Bruschetta duh.
Bruschetta duh.
Spaghetti with clams!  (Mom's meal)
Spaghetti with clams! (Mom’s meal) (This picture makes me think I should be a food photographer.)
The World's Most Delicious (Pesto) Gnocchi Ever. (my meal)
The World’s Most Delicious (Pesto) Gnocchi Ever. (my meal)

Mad props to my mom for finding the restaurant!  As I mentioned, she planned our trip to Portofino & also researched what to do in Genova.  (“See Christopher Columbus statue.  The end.”)  Included in her research, she found reviews for this restaurant, the name of which I absolutely cannot recall right now! 😦  When we first found it, after an hour of creepy men leering at us as we wandered around, it was down a sketchy back alley with a ghetto neon sign.  I felt like I was trying to sneak into a club underage.  After walking a bit more and debating what to do, we finally decided to give it a try.

Entrance to the restaurant....sketchy.
The lit-up circle is the entrance to the restaurant….sketchy.

Inside, past the Red Light District-esque neon lights, we were delightfully surprised by the interior!

IMG_2962 IMG_2963

Then came the DELICIOUS food!  I was a bit hesitant to order the pesto gnocchi, since I don’t normally like pesto, but since pesto is a Ligurian region speciality, I decided to go for the gold and order it.  (I was “being cultured.” So trendy of me.)  When they served it to me, and it was lime green, I was nervous.  But when I took the first bite, I immediately decided it was one of the yummiest foods I have eaten in my entire life!  The gnocchi was literally world class.  I have always loved gnocchi, but I have never in my life tasted gnocchi like this!  I think it melted in my mouth.  It was the perfect texture, and the pesto sauce had the perfect amount of flavor, without being overbearing.  I would go back to Genova, just for that meal!

My mom herself, enjoyed her own spaghetti & clams 🙂 Not to mention, the brushcetta was great too!  The waiters were all very helpful and kind and, to top it off, we met a very nice, older English gentleman dining solo by us.  I had a lovely chat with him about work, school, traveling, hobbies, life in general, etc. My mom on the other hand just nodded & smiled; I thought she was obviously disinterested and just being polite.  Turns out she actually can’t understand English accents at all and had no idea what she was saying, so she just nodded and smiled because she had no clue what we were saying!  I’d pay good money to try and see her understand anyone from Manchester, given the much stronger accent, since this guy was from London!  Anyways, it was cool for me to talk to and andomly connect so well with a stranger, say “good-bye,” and walk away knowing we’d never see each other again, but always have the happy memory of our chat over dinner 🙂

After dinner (which followed our day in Portofino), my mom and I headed back to our magnificent Holiday Inn, to rest our feet before it was off to Milan in the morning!

(Never in my life did I think I would be raving about a Holiday Inn so much lol.)

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