Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sentiero Liguria 4: Bogliasco - Genova

Bogliasco - Genova Brignole (via Sant'Ilaria, Nervi, Boccadasse)
16 km

Once again the day started out with a steep climb. Part of the way up, I stopped and talked to a man who was moving out (to Mulinetti! There's hope for the ghost town yet!) because the only way to get things and people to his house was on foot, up a steep staircase, and he and his wife felt they were getting too old for it. He had a little vehicle on caterpillar tracks he was filling with stuff to take down the stairs to the car and from there to the dump. 
But the views from Sant'Ilaria at the top of the step down over the parks of Nervi were well worth the climb, and the path was very quiet and pleasant in the morning sun.   

The view inland toward Monte Fasce

A narrow lane between Sant'Ilaria and Nervi, and the only vehicles that can make it up there!
Upon descending from Sant'Ilaria I came to Nervi, originally a fishing village in its own right, now on the outskirts of Genoa. Famous for its big park, art museums and waterfront promenade - where I stopped for cappuccino and focaccia!
Lungomare di Nervi - the waterfront promenade which is very popular with the Genoese on a sunny day
Lungomare di Nervi - Monte Portofino still visible in the distance

New benches being constructed on the waterfront promenade

The little harbour in Nervi
After coming to the end of the waterfront walkway and into the centre of the village of Nervi, around its little harbour, I walked along the road above the sea.

The city of Genoa proper starts where Nervi ends

Il Monumento ai Mille in Quarto - Monument to the thousand "red shirts" who set off from this very spot in Genova Quarto with Giuseppe Garibaldi to unify Italy 

Today's walk was also a stroll through memory lane, as I spent a lot of time in Genova when I first came to Italy. I passed many familiar spots marking various moments in family history: the bar next to the church in Sant'Ilaria where I remember spending a long afternoon with friends whose language I didn't yet understand the first time I was in Genova 30 years ago; the ice cream place we used to go to all the time in Boccadasse; the nearby church where my brother- and sister-in-law were married (I wasn't there) and the house where they held their silver wedding anniversary party (I was); the gas station where my son threw up after getting over-excited at his tenth birthday party; and Gaslini hospital, where I spent four days and four nights with him when he had his kidney operation at the age of four.

Istituto Gaslini - Italy's most important children's hospital
I got so distracted taking pictures that I missed a turning and ended up on a busy road, and only when I saw a traffic warning "High ozone levels: limit exposure" did I realise that was probably not where I wanted to be! 
Oh yes, the down side of sunny weather, in big cities, is inversion and high ozone levels!
In any case, I cut down a side road back to the waterfront, where I found a beautiful little square, far away from the traffic, more like something you would expect to find in a little fishing village than in a central part of Genova!

I discovered this beautiful little square on the sea I had never seen before - I think it was called Piazza Vernazza

This beauty spot was connected via a few narrow laneways to another one - Boccadasse, another fishing village now incorporated into the city of Genoa, but a quiet spot where people can escape from the city for lunch or an ice cream - which is exactly what I did. I had both!

After lunch I walked along Corso Italia by the sea to the Foce district, the part of Genova built in the 1920s and 30s over the bed of the Bisagno River (which is why there is so much trouble with regular flooding in the city). Here I turned away from the sea and into the city, where I bought some pastries and some flowers to take to my mother-in-law, who celebrated her 86th birthday two days ago! 
Too bad I didn't arrive in Genova on her actual birthday... 
But the pastries were delicious!!!

Corso Italia, leading into the Foce district: the end of my walk for today!

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