Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sentiero Liguria 5: Genova!

Genova Nervi - Genova Pegli 
17 km

A day of "urban trekking" covering the entire length of the city of Genova. Long and narrow, squeezed between the mountains and the sea. Old and new. Always colourful, always dramatic. I definitely crossed paths with more people today than any other day on this or any other hike - but spoke to less. Crossing the entire length of the city on foot wasn't as bad as I thought it might be - most of the route was very scenic and colourful on a crisp, sunny autumn day. 
I had originally been planning to take a variant on the Sentiero Liguria which draws a 60 km circle around the city, completely avoiding the urban area and climbing high into the mountains to join the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri for a day, but in the end I decided to just plough straight through the city. I basically took the same route you would take if you were driving through the city, as it was the most straightforward way to get across. The only time I deviated from this route I found myself in the ferry terminal parkade with no way to get out, and finally had to pass under a barrier and through a construction site (Hey! where did you come from? was the workers' amused comment when I emerged in front of their bulldozer) so from there on I decided to stick to the route suggested by Franco Citti and Monica d'Atti in their guide to the Via della Costa - a more direct route across Liguria, intended for long-distance pilgrims who are on their way to either Rome or Santiago and don't want to waste too much time and energy taking a longer route even if it is more scenic. In their book they warn that this is the worst leg of the walk across Liguria, in that it takes you through some areas which were definitely not designed with pedestrians in mind; but, they note, what makes a pilgrim different from an ordinary hiker is their determination to keep on walking through even the most difficult stretches. 
And, I might add, to find beauty in even the most difficult places. To take advantage of the opportunity offered by travel on foot to take a closer look at places and things we speed past in a car or a train hundreds of times without ever really seeing them. 
Here are a few shots of the city of Genova. As usual, they are all taken in the direction of travel, and of the views to either side, but never looking back - except for the shot of the cathedral. 

Via Venti Settembre, the city's main shopping street, constructed in the 19th century.
Street musicians playing the balafon.
Piazza De Ferrari, the symbol of the city centre.
Palazzo Ducale

The Cathedral
The Museum of the Diocese. Came here looking for a stamp for my Pilgrim's Credential, but they didn't have one, so I ended up getting it stamped at the tourist information office
The Aquarium
West of the Aquarium, in the port area
Palazzo Reale
Stazione Marittima - the cruise ship terminal
Inside the ferry terminal area, which I thought would be a more scenic route but ended up being a dead end!
Genova old and new.
The "Matitone" or "Big Pencil" building, near the old harbour

Graffitti in the port area
Cornigliano. Gives you an idea of what it was like when it was a beach resort town, before the steel mills came in

Billboards between Cornigliano and Sestri Ponente
Sestri Ponente. Finally, a pedestrian district!

Multedo. Sports centre built in 1930
Pegli waterfront: My final destination!
Upon arrival in Pegli I went to visit my aunt- and uncle-in-law, who also had a cousin drop by for a visit at the same time, and we spent a fine afternoon over yet another tray of delicious pastries. Then I returned to the centre of Genova (by train!) and ended my day of urban hiking with a gallery opening and dinner with friends at an Arabian restaurant. 
By the end of it all I was ready to drop!
Luckily the next day was a day of rest back in Chiavari. Rest from hiking, that is: I spent the morning tying up some loose ends with work, and the afternoon at a rehearsal for an upcoming concert, as well as getting my backpack ready for the next week of hiking!
To be continued - soon!

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