My mother visited for 10 days in November over Thanksgiving, which just happened to coincide with the glorious warm sunny weather turning to chilly rain. She had a lovely visit yet was eager to see Genoa in the sunshine, so she booked a second visit this past April . . . just in time for a 4 day break for the Italian Holiday (Festa della Liberazione) from Thursday April 25 – Sunday April 28, followed by a 1 day holiday on May 1st for European Labor Day.
When she arrived, she already felt comfortable and at home in my apartment while I worked, and was looking forward to living like a local, shopping, walking around, and meeting me at an osteria or bar for lunch or making lunch together. At night, we’d visit Nervi or downtown Genoa, make dinner, or just enjoy a light snack in the apartment. We settled into a cozy routine and tried not to be too disappointed that the glorious spring weather everyone had promised us had not yet arrived. It was still a bit cool and awfully rainy.
We booked 3 nights in the Cinque Terre, my favorite nearby playground. The Cinque Terre is only 1.5 hours away by local train, yet feels like a magical vacation paradise. In fact, when I was first recruited for this job, I looked at Genoa on the map and gasped, “It’s right on the water! And . . .it’s right by the Cinque Terre!” I had always wanted to go there after seeing gorgeous blue glimpses from the windows as our train darted between tunnels back in 2004. My Mom and I were traveling around Europe together as a gift for my Masters in English. It was her first time in Europe, and I was taking her to some of my favorite destinations. We glimpsed a new possibility and knew one day we had to return.
We had originally only booked 2 nights in a Monterosso hotel on the beach, but added a third night when we saw a chance for sunshine on Thursday. Our original hotel wasn’t available, so we opted for an upgraded wonderful hotel with a wraparound balcony, also on the beach for that first night. Yet while we left a warm sunny Genoa, Monterosso had turned chilly and cloudy unlike the prediction. It was still lovely. We spent the next few days enjoying the quiet peace of the Cinque Terre, walking through town, hiking hills, and wishing the sun would come out just a bit so we could see that stunning blue, the scene we saw from the train, the scene I loved when I visited my second weekend in Genoa last August. We hoped to swim, but we didn’t mind reading on the beach when it wasn’t raining. And we ate very, very well.
In fact, one of my favorite stories in Genoa happened while eating in Monterosso. My mother and I were feeling a bit hungry and were about to look for a place to eat. Randomly, Mom said, “What about here?” We were outside a turquoise blue and black colored place with indoor seating and outdoor seating overlooking the beach. Gorgeous, and the food smelled great. We sat down, and our friendly server said to us in perfect English: “Are you from NJ?” My mother looked a bit embarrassed, thinking Is my accent that bad? But actually, she’s originally from NYC. Anyways, I said, “Yes,” wondering why she asked. “Are you from Waldwick?”
“Yes. . .”
“Are you Rich’s sister?”
“Yes . . .” I was floored.
“I’m Christine. I went to school with your brother.”
WOW! My mom then immediately recognized her from the church and from town. We talked a while, and she explained the story about meeting her boyfriend while studying abroad and how the family sponsored her work visa and now she works for the family business. They also own the restaurant down the street. Amazing. So amazing that the Australian couple next to us who overheard . . . they were floored.
Christine said, “You should join our American girls’ club. There are 16 of us in the area, 4 here in the Cinque Terre and a bunch in Genoa.”
The food at Cantina di Miky was so amazing and delicious that Mom and I went twice, and on our last night, we tried the food at the fabulous restaurant, Miky’s, and met most of the family. These restaurants feature some of my favorite food in the region along with excellent hospitality, and I return each time I’m in the area now.
Mom and I finally had some warm sunshine on her last day in Genoa, and we enjoyed some time in the Medieval Center. She left but said, “I’ll return soon . . . next time for a month.” But right now, I’m writing this sitting next to Mamma on the couch in Waldwick, NJ. 🙂
Photos from Mom’s visit are featured below in this circle gallery. Click any photo for an enlargement and entry into the gallery with captions. With so many photos, I thought this was a better method than the slideshow. All of these were taken with my Canon PowerShot SX260HS, which is a really nice pocket camera, but alas, not as stunning as my SLR. I’ll have to make sure to use her more in next year’s adventures. I just don’t always want to lug her around. 🙂