160512 Genoa Italy

Genoa is the capital of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy with a population of 588, 688 within its administrative limits on a land area of 243.6 km2 (94 sq mi). The urban area called Genoa Metropolitan City has an official population of 862,885. Over 1.5 million people live in the Genoa Metropolitan Area. Genoa is one of Europe’s largest cities on the Mediterranean Sea and the largest seaport in Italy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes, overcast again. The weatherman hasn’t been kind to us – yet. But things may get better as we enter the eastern Mediterranean in a few days time. Rain is forecast for the day in Genoa.

We have planned an excursion to the little village of Portofino, know as the village for movie stars and famous people. When asked where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor used to live, our guide was not sure who they were. So I guess, they aren’t famous people to the Italians, even though they lived in Portofino during one or two of their marriages.

Portofino is known as the playground of the rich and famous. The unique luxury designer boutiques have price tags on their goods for those who have gained a lot of monetary wealth over their years. Many of the houses are surrounded by lush gardens, well manicured and colourful.

Our journey to Portofino included travelling through many tunnels along the highway. Australia has never embraced the idea that tunnels are a great saving for all and seem to baulk at the prospect to bury this mode of transport. But I suppose with such rocky terrain as Italy has, it was not hard to decide on this speedy method of traffic movement; driving up and over the ranges would be very tedious.

In Santa Margherita, we change to a smaller bus that will get us around the sharp and narrow coastal road that takes us to Portofino without having to back up if on coming traffic becomes a problem. The village is a great place to just sit and watch the many visitors to the village. We didn’t pick any famous people shopping or taking a coffee. The sun shines for an hour or so which is most welcome for our photos. We were sitting next to a couple from Australia who owns a classic car in the UK and travel to the UK to drive around Europe for their vacation. They had never seen so many Australians on their journeys before.

After the purchase of badges, patches, and keyrings, we find a hot chocolate shop (which is more like a chocolate fondue). The use of the WiFi for publishing our daily post, downloading of email and the results of the previous day’s Giro d’Italia Stage is most appreciated. Even though we are in Europe, we cannot get direct coverage of one of my favourite cycling events so the internet comes in handy. (I cant read Italian).

We return to the ship at around 2:00pm in time to have lunch and walk back into Genoa to check out the city. Our departure from the port is delayed 30 minutes while we wait for a late excursion coach. As we depart some ports, our ship plays a tune on the fog-horn but we don’t have that experience this departure. It seems they only play the ‘fog-horn dance’ when departing a country.

Tomorrow, we dock at the Italian port of Livorno, which is close to Florence and Pisa.