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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 1 - Genova

Again, Europe is the destination of our summer vacation for this year. It's not that we haven't considered other places, yet Europe still remain our 1st choice. 

One of the main reasons is because Milan is an easy port if compared to many other ports that CP will fly to. For the consecutive 3 years, we were able to get 4 seats confirmed prior departure. That makes everything easier, particularly the hotel booking and car hiring. 

Same like last year, the departure time was at 1 am midnight. I felt quite sleepy while waiting to board the plane. The flight was delayed as a consequence of no.8 typhoon signal strike HKG on 2 days ago. Luckily, the delay only last for 20 minutes. 

13 hours later, we landed at Milan International Airport safe and sound. As usual, the 1st thing we did was to collect our hire car from Hertz, then husband drove straight to our 1st destination. 

Initially, husband wanted to drive 4 hours to our genuine destination, Nice in France. But I strongly against about that long hour driving, particularly soon after landing. Even though husband thinks he can manage that, I think it's too tiring and dangerous to do that.  

So, he changed the plan, and we stopped at the half way, Genova. 

It took us 2 hours to this city, Genova. Even so, I felt sorry that husband got to drive 2 hours to here, alone, while the boys and I couldn't help but fell asleep in the car the whole way. 

Luckily, the hotel in down town area isn't too difficult to locate. After we off loaded our luggage in the hotel room, we wanted to go to city center for a walk. This time, we took the bus instead of driving. This is because parking is quite a problem in town, as said by many tourists who left comments in the trip advisor. Also, the hotel people said the same thing too when we checked with them. 

The public bus to town is frequent (every 5-10 min), and it stops 100 m away from our hotel. So, there is no reason why we shouldn't take the advice from many people. 

15 minutes later, we got off the bus when we saw this big ship. We weaved our way through all the illegal immigrants selling fake merchandise and keep on going to the ship. 

The ship is called "Il Galeone Neptune".

The Neptune is a ship replica of a 17th-century Spanish galleon. The ship was built in 1985 for Roman Polanski's film, Pirates, where she portrayed the Spanish ship of the same name.

An accurate replica above the waterline, but sporting a steel hull and a 400 HP auxiliary engine. The Neptune is currently a tourist attraction in the port of Genova.

The interior can be visited for a 5 euro entry fee, kid for 3 euro. Husband thinks it's not worth to pay that much for all of us to get on. So, he asked me to take the kids to go inside, said he would wait for us outside there. I obeyed diligently.

The boys were thrilled anyway, cause this is the biggest pirate ship they have ever visited. To me, it's a fun 3 minutes activity to do with kids, but that's all about it.

The ship itself is a replica and though we can get a sense of what a "real" one would be like inside, but those plastic cannons pretty much cheapen the experience.

I suppose the pirates boiled their water and cooked their foods here.

We then walked up to the upper floor, the wooden deck.

Kids were happy to walk on the deck. I guess the ship had fulfilled their imaginary play as a pirate. Thanks to Jack Sparrow, one of the kids' hero.

The wooden deck is more fascinating, with many ropes and crafting and complicated layout that made my eyes spinning.

There are many freak creatures on the ship, for example this one. I wonder is it because the life on the ship was too boring when not robbing, that the crews had made them up?

William said this place is great for playing hide-and-seek. Yes, I agreed with him but I won't allow him to do so.

How am I going to look for the boys if they hide somewhere here, down or up?

Anyway, I could see that they were pretty tired to have the mood to play hide-and-seek here.

Plus, the sun was glaring hot.

View of the surrounding...

Genova is the capital of Liguria, and the sixth largest city in Italy. It is also one of Europe's largest cities on the Mediterranean Sea and the largest sea port in Italy.

This replica is bigger than many other real ships. Sometimes I really respect those who would build a gigantic replica just for the sake of a movie. Worth it or not is another question, but their dedication is something very extraordinary.

Gosh, looking at all those ropes, I wonder if its total length is enough to wrap the globe for at least 1X?

One must look so cool standing up there, as a captain.

Rope is everywhere...

At the tail of the ship...

At the head of the ship...

with a bell on the ship.

William can't even move it a cm...

not even Vincent can move it a little bit, who is by now, had grown to my height but stronger than me.

Not wanting husband to wait for us for too long, I made them to leave....

Back to the middle inner deck..

Ok, time to go now.

Well, it's truly a stunning ship from the outside so worth the walk there but no need to enter if not because of the kids.

The time was around 3 pm, still "early" to go to bed. We then walked into the city center for sight seeing.

Although it's Saturday late afternoon time, the streets were quiet, to my standard.

Not too many people high-tea-ing there.

Genova has been nicknamed Ia Superba (the superb one) due to its glorious past and impressive landmarks. Part of the old town of Genova was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2006. 

The city's rich art, music, gastronomy, architecture and history allowed it to become the 2004 European Capital of Culture.

Genova is also the birth place of Christopher Columbia, who was an Italian explorer, navigator and colonizer.

He had completed 3 voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American Continents. 3 voyages, and his effort to establish settlements on Hispaniola island, initiated the Sapnish colonization of the New World.

St Lawrence Cathedral

Some artists on the street...

Seriously, I don't know if doing so can support their living?

By then, we were too tired to continue the walk, though we knew there are lots of landmarks haven't been discovered yet.

Before we went back to the hotel, we think it's better to take our "early dinner" first. Since most of the eateries were not ready to serve dinner at 4.30 pm, sons suggested to go to MD. Fine, MD we go then. 

But where is MD? We asked a lady who seems to be a local resident, but she didn't look very confident when she pointed the direction to us. End up, it proved that she was wrong. 

By her wrong direction, we had walked down to an alley...

Nope, MD is not here.

Sons were tired and hungry, not in very good condition. So did we. 

Vincent suggested we should walked back to the main street. He thinks the chances we could find MD over there is bigger. I agreed with him...

On the way up to main street, saw some window displays that look very interesting....

But the price, gosh, really too expensive for my liking.I remember this one cost around HKD 10K+

Alright, back to main street...

Piazza de Ferrari...

Where is Ferrari?

Vincent is so right, finally we had found MD around this piazza, in the middle building. 

In fact, MD proves to be one of the important eateries when we travel around Europe, for it provides the familiar foods to us. Also, foods are always available when we needs it, even at the "odd hour". 

After eating, we waited for the bus at this station to take us back to the hotel. 

Based on experience, we would sleep soundly anytime after 5 pm for the 1st day. After all, it's 11 pm back home, our usual sleeping time.

The moment I laid down, I slept like a dead pig.... 


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