My earliest memory of our encounter was that one morning in October. I had only been at the school for maybe a month, and was asked to read the prayer to the entire school over the PA system. My partner that morning was this tall girl with wild, curly hair in a Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt and jeans, a girl who eventually became one of my closest friends today, 17 years later.
Lisa and I have known each other for more than half of our lives. We’ve spent summers in the pool in her backyard, we roller-bladed through our neighbourhood streets, we competed for the highest marks in all the classes we shared (yes, we were very nerdy and she always won), she threw a surprise 16th birthday party for me (and I thought it was the most awesome thing anyone has ever done for me), we worked on multiple assignments together (she was my lifesaver in Physics), we went through love and heart break, and I saw her got married to the love of her life (Hi, Alex!!).
She’s that friend you’d sing crazy love songs with (like Shania Twain’s You’re Still the One or Yovie & Nuno’s Dia Milikku, despite the fact that she does NOT speak Indonesian) or watch a marathon of all 3 Lord of the Rings movie in one night or run an ACTUAL (half) marathon with; she’s the person you’d want to be on your side when all hell breaks loose because she’d fight and slay everything with you.
All that is to say: when your best friends moved to Italy and then invite you to visit them, YOU GO.
My brother and I spent 3 days in Genova last December and left the itinerary in the capable hands of Alex and Lisa. They took us to museums and showed us the places they loved, they taught us a little bit of Italian, and explained Genovese culture and traditions. They were the best tour guides one could ever ask for and we are so grateful.
Here is how we were entertained:
Hike to the top of Forte Diamante in Parco delle murra.
Genova is surrounded by hills with forts on them. So on our first day in the city, we donned our hiking clothes, packed some sandwiches for lunch, and hiked to Forte Diamante. We took the funicular to get to the start of the trail and made our way up stopping to catch our breath and to enjoy the view every now and then.
Stroll through Centro Storico
All the narrow vicolis and winding alleys complete with traditional shops, take a look.
Try all the Genovese food.
Focaccia al Genovese. Small, light, and topped with olive oil, the focaccia were handed to us as soon as we stepped off the train and made for THE perfect snack.
Farinata. A traditional fare made from chickpeas, cooked on a flat iron pan in a wood oven pizza, served with a variety of side dishes including anchovies and artichokes. It’s almost like a very thin and very delicious pizza crust. There are many places you can have this in Genova, but Lisa took us to one of the more traditional restaurant with tiled walls and communal tables.
Gelato. Of course you need to have gelato. Ours were from Eataly on the port and mine was pistachio smothered with Chestnut cream. SO CHRISTMASY.
La Forchetta Curiosa. The only thing I remember from this dinner is how wide my brothers’ eyes got when Alex told him about Digestivo or the Italian tradition of consuming liquor after dinner to aid with digestion. Cue all the questions about all the liquors.
Your stay in this Ligurian city wouldn’t be complete without doing aperitivo, a revered pre-dinner activity in Italy. We had ours at Ai Troeggi, a medieval stone bar, where the spritz(es) were so refreshing and the bruschetta serving was generous and came with varied toppings (my favourite was topped with Genovese pesto!)
Spend golden hour in Bocadasse.
We didn’t just eat when we were in Genova. We walked to Bocadasse and enjoyed this little seaside village at sunset when everything was bathed in a golden hue, the waves lapping against the walls of the port, the smell of the salty air, and the slight breeze from the sea. It was the perfect way to conclude our stay in Genova.
Until next time,