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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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November 05, 2015

Tuesday in Genoa - a frightening beginning but a happy ending

But first, good old Chris - look what he found for me (and I didn't even ask him to):

Found this online:

In the 1800s, walls enclosed the city of Barcelona, and people who could not afford to live within the walled city set up home in Poble Sec.  Named Poble Sec­—dry village in Catalan—because the neighbourhood had no source of water until the late 19th century when a fountain was built, it holds an important place in the history of Catalunya.
It was here that American engineer Frederick Stark Pearson set up the Barcelona Traction Light and Power Company to administer the development and implementation of hydro-electric power originating from the Segre and Noguera Pallaresa rivers. Dubbed La Canadenca—the Canadian—by locals because it was incorporated in Toronto, Canada, the factory provided electricity to Catalunya and turned Poble Sec into the industrial capital of Barcelona. The factory brought with it many employees, who took up residence in the neighbourhood due to its low-cost housing and close proximity to the factory. 

(and here's the good part)...While the original plant is no longer operational (Red Eléctrica de España has stood in the same location since 1985), a nod to La Canadenca and the neighbourhood’s roots still exists in the form of the original smoke stacks, which tower over Poble Sec. - See more at: http://www.barcelona-metropolitan.com/living/el-poble-sec/#sthash.DetmwV1x.dpuf  
So there's the answer to those impressive stacks I was so curious about.  I thought about searching but had no idea what terms to use - putting in "three stacks in Barcelona" seemed like it might not work. 
But now on to Genoa with Rosanna.  Rosanna works half a day on Tuesdays so the plan was for me to go to the aquarium in the morning and she would meet me there around 1:30 (after she called or texted me to let me know she was leaving work) with her son, Mateo (a very pleasant young man) and we'd have lunch at a restaurant that serves traditional Genovese dishes.  And the plan worked but not without a glitch.  We had discussed the night before how to get there, me saying "draw me a map", Rosanna and Mateo offering different options.  One way was to take a bus from very near her apartment to its final stop, get off there and walk the rest of the way (a relatively short distance).  That one appealed to me because there were no transfers from train to bus or bus to bus, etc.  She had even shown me the bus stop when we went to the market and I kind of kept track of how we got back to her apartment from there.  Well, in the morning off I went (without a map but with confidence) and immediately ran into trouble.  I DID finally get to the aquarium but only after many requests for help, the first one of which grew until it involved 4 people all debating in Italian what I should do.  Fortunately one of them was getting on the bus Rosanna had said I had to take so I got on with her and hoped for the best.

Got to the aquarium which is right down at the harbor, and I forget why I went to look up something on my phone, but I discovered it was dead.  That pretty much did it for me.  I did go in the aquarium and I did find the three babies that have recently been born that Rosanna had told me about, but the whole time I had moments of being close to tears as I contemplated the fact that we were going to have to try to meet up with no phone contact.  I figured when she couldn't get me, she would sort of panic too and I hated knowing that and I also figured if we didn't just luck out and see each other I had no idea what I would do.  I didn't know her address so I couldn't get back to the apartment, I didn't have her phone number (except in my phone) so I couldn't use a pay phone, I was just really beside myself.  She had said meet at the front entrance which as far as I could tell was the ticket window tucked away back from the street behind a building that looked like it sold tickets but didn't.  So I went out early and wandered around that for a bit but realized I wouldn't be seen from any direction she might approach so if I wasn't actually at the main entrance, she would head somewhere else and miss me.  So then I went out into a large open area with benches and figured I was more visible there.  Finally when it got to about 1:20 I decided to go even further to the front and did that.  All the while I was thinking if we don't see each other, this is a disaster.  I had decided I would try to find the police and see what they could do to get me back to her house if worse came to worst.  Around 1:35 or 1:40, I decided okay - this is not working.  I will head back to what I THINK is maybe the main entrance and pray.  I turned around and started walking back there and there she was running towards me and I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life!

So, we went for lunch and that was very good and I warmed up, then we went to a little tiny chocolate shop tucked away with no sign or anything on a little tiny street and bought some delicious chocolates.  Mateo parted ways with us at that point and Rosanna showed me around till it was time to go home.  The first place she took me was a beautiful shop - their inventory was fun - pretty much all very nice things for your home - kitchen, bedroom, and so on but what made it a beautiful shop was the fact that it was in an old building that had been some very rich family's home and it went from gorgeous room to gorgeous room - frescoes everywhere, beautiful parquet floors, frescoed ceilings too - and very high.  Huge windows with heavy draperies.  Just wonderful.  However, no picture taking is allowed inside so you'll just have to take my word for it.

But I DO have pictures starting with a few sort of pitiful ones from the aquarium and the first one which was of I think the sort of main Genoa cathedral - it's one of those black and white banded ones that I've seen in a number of Italian cities/towns.  And now I will quit with all the words and let you see some pictures.

I posted this really awful picture for my daughter January because it is seahorses and there was a very large tank with who knows how many of the little creatures swimming around and I'm pretty sure a few of them were pregnant.  Big round tummies on them.  Her dad once made a comment that God had a good sense of humor because really, who needs seahorses actually?  Those are probably not the exact words, but she wrote it in a very nice poem she gave to him one Father's Day and I've always loved it.
And the penguins of course were adorable.  Some smaller kind...
And this alligator sure knew how to hide - are you seeing him?
This is what looks like a very old ship (too old to be believed really) but Rosanna told me when I asked about it that it was built for some Roman Polanske film.  I remember reading in something about Genoa how this ship had a figurehead of Neptune very white and very naked and when they brought it to display here, they added some "tasteful" drapery over the appropriate parts. :)  I didn't take a picture of all that because the the statue was huge and very white and kind of dumb.  

 This is one of Rosanna's favorite churches because of the octagonal tower she told me.  And it is about 1000 years old.  That's old.
 We had seen a fantastic two-story grafitti on a wall fairly close to this but Rosanna and Mateo said this was a legal painting advertising something.  Fantastic isn't it?  I wish I had taken a picture of the other one - it was fantastic too and wasn't legal. :)
 And this, all you Americans out there is the childhood home of Christopher Columbus.  There were I believe Rosanna said 7 children and the father and mother living here in what basically looks big enough for a room on the ground floor and a room up above.  No wonder he took to the high seas!
This is for my stock-guru sister.  It's Genoa's old stock exchange building - huge and quite beautiful.
 In the rotunda part of the building is this skylight, unfortunately kind of ruined by the network of whatever they are but you can still get the idea.
 And one side of the rotunda...
 This picture didn't turn out at all well and I had to edit it way too much to get it to even show but Rosanna is the one who pointed it out and said I should take it for Chris which I thought was very nice of her.
 And if she reads this post, she'll kill me when she sees this picture because it is not flattering to her - she is a lovely woman.  But it's not flattering to me either and I don't care - at least it proves I'm not sitting somewhere crying with Rosanna frantically trying to find me! :)
Part of the reason I took it was because we were inside this real honest-to-goodness old-time elevator that we ran ourselves.  This was how you got up to the delightful shop.  Actually, now I say that, I'm not sure.  Good grief this is pathetic.

The last place we went was to what Rosanna says the city residents call the "lift to heaven".  It's an elevator that takes you up to a different level of a hill and when you get off, there is a viewing deck still inside and protected from wind and rain and such and the views are absolutely wonderful.  The rest of the photos are from when we were up there.  It was a cold, kind of wet, windy evening but it still was beautiful.

And that's basically all there is to report.  I think I must have reported on our dinner on Monday's post because I remember talking about the cod and how it was cooked.  I had pretty much packed up that morning before I went out on my quest so we got to the train station in plenty of time.  Rosanna stayed with me until I was on the train, probably worried that if she left I'd decide to go to a different platform or something, bless her heart.  This may make her decide she won't have guests over 65 years of age in the future!

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