A memorable few days were spent in Italy last October, at the beginning of autumn on a mini road trip. Music was prepared for the car, with the favourite all round crowd pleaser being Jungle the Brit collective that the kids happened to love. First stop was Genoa. I’d read that this once grimy town had been transformed into a more hip and happening city. Well I’m not entirely sure that lived up to its promise but it was great to cross the border and be in a different country. Where I’m from you need to take a plane or a boat to reach the border of another land, so the prospect of such easy access to other countries still naively excites me.
Genoa has a few claims to fame, most notably as the birthplace of Christopher Colombus. It also is the home of pesto and foccaccia, two food products that have winged their way across the world. Focaccia had a moment in the 90’s and I hadn’t tasted it for quite some time, but the bakeries had the best versions which could be picked up for a song. I love pesto and couldn’t resist having this with pasta on our first night. We ate in a slightly rough around the edges, casual restaurant in the old town that didn’t look too touristy and we happened to have our best meal there.
The highlight of the visit was the Acquario di Genova, Europe’s largest aquarium and it was definitely the best I’ve seen to date. It had an abundance of interactive displays, plenty of sea creatures to view and dolphins jumping to be fed. That is always sightly disconcerting but it was a fun and educational way to spend a couple of hours when the kids are reaching their boredom threshold. There was a Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition that I was dying to see but sometimes on family trips squeezing too many things in on a day does not go down well, so it wasn’t to be.