Somebody poked the ant bed yesterday; the city was crawling with people in a hurry.
We would’ve been one of those ants if I’d made reservations early enough, but all of the high speed trains were booked weeks in advance for yesterday. After witnessing the crowds I’m glad we were forced to leave today instead. The streets, the metro and Part Dieu were all pleasantly vacant when we boarded our TGV to Nice this morning.
Barreling down the tracks at a good 320 kilometers per hour (200 mph) was a bit disconcerting. As soon as I started to get used to it, another TGV would whip by going the opposite direction and snap me back into a “should I panic?” mode. Our ears would pop every time we whizzed through a tunnel. Other than that, it was a very pleasant ride.
After this train ride, we had two more. From Nice we took a local into Italy, stopping at the border town of Ventimiglia. Here we had to quickly jump on another train that would take us to our final stop, Genoa. Jumping quickly is hard enough with a full size suitcase, two large computer bags, a backpack and two kids, but add in the fact that signage is very poor and there are no working escalators and you feel like you’re competing in a marathon. Not exactly to the relaxing vacation part yet.
But we made it.
Once in Italy, the train route hugged the shoreline. From one side of the train you could see the deep blue and aqua swirled sea; the other window displayed jagged hills dotted with colorful houses clinging to the edges.
The vegetation appeared green and lush and we spotted many lemon trees loaded with fruit.
We arrived in Genoa and I’d purposely picked a hotel only a few steps away from the train station. The Grand Hotel Savoia turned out to be a great find. This was another “not first choice but turned out better anyway” scenario. The plan was to stay in Nice, but all the reasonably priced hotels were booked. Tourists seem to overlook Genoa since it is more of a working port town.
We are on the sixth floor with a great view! Did you know it is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus? The giant white statue that you see is of him.
This hotel has a restaurant on the top floor, but it was too foofoo for us tonight. Mark went out for a pizza and the kids got to play at the hotel’s “Pirate Park.”
Now with our tummys full of pizza and nothing on t.v. but the pope, we’re turning in early. Oh, check this out – the room numbers are hand painted on the doors.