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Arrivederci, Italia! (Week 9 Recap - Nov 26, 2018)

Arrivederci Italia!

The fact that Italy was the first stop on our trip was driven by my teaching appointment at the American University of Rome. But the fact that we decided to spent a full two months there was driven by the fact that Italy has been one of our favorite countries to travel to. We took Italian class in preparation for our trip, and I used my nascent, beginner’s Italian a LOT, particularly in smaller areas we traveled to where not much English was spoken. But this week marked the end of phase 1 of our trip, Italia.

Grandma Joan (Mike’s mom) came to visit for this last week, so it was action packed. We met her in Milan where we stayed just long enough to go to the roof of the Duomo, which was all but deserted on a Tuesday in November, and to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper on the wall of Santa Maria delle Grazie (get tickets for the Cenacolo Vinciano in advance via the poorly SEO’d Viva Ticket and avoid all the markups from tour companies).

Then we left for Genoa. We didn’t quite know what to expect, beyond pesto. We were staying in a very, very odd Airbnb in the centro storico. We kept mapping things we wanted to go to and being like ok, time for a long walk, and then it would turn out to be three minutes away.

That mainly because Genoa’s old town is filled with caruggi, tiny little alleyways big enough for 2-3 people to walk abreast where the buildings are leaning into one another. The picturesque ones had holiday lights, focaccia shops, and places to pop in for an espresso. Accidentally we went to one with prostitutes. But as a result, everything is close together, just down or across one alley or another.

Genoa felt like it was full of simple little surprises. The onion pan arabe that Mike impromptu bought for late night snacks and then we fried up with eggs for breakfast. The chocolate pear tart that melted in your mouth. The amazing, amazing focaccia at every turn. The cheese gelato. Of course the pesto. And it was all pretty inexpensive to boot.

We went to the aquarium, which was an extremely confusing experience for WP. Joan and I went to the Palazzo Rosso and Bianca (skip ‘em and spend your time eating more focaccia) and lucky us the Christmas Markets were set up in time for our last day there.

We paid for our fun with two back to back days of travel, from Genoa out to Milan Malpensa airport (two trains, about 3h), and then a night in an airport hotel, followed by parting ways with Grandma and a flight to our next destination… Amsterdam!

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