Identifying the Orange Drink

Trip Start Mar 31, 2011
Trip End Jul 05, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Italian Riviera,
Saturday, June 4, 2011

The train from Pisa to Genoa was direct and pretty nice! We had a huge train picnic-- Chris's mom sent us with a ton of food and a giant bottle of Chianti so we had a pretty good time. Finding the hostel in Genoa was substantially harder. We had pretty good walking directions up until the actual street the hostel was supposed to be on, and then we got really confused. None of the street numbers were in order and there were no signs anywhere for Bed and Breakfast Maura. We asked a guy in a shop and he pointed us down the street, then we asked a different person and they pointed us the opposite way! As we were wandering around, a man came out of a building and asked us if we were looking for B and B Maura. He turned out to be the owner of the hotel! Apparently most people have trouble finding it, so he just keeps watch for people with luggage wandering around lost when he is expecting guests. At least we found it eventually!
The hotel was really small-- only three rooms-- but it was really nice! An Australian couple checked in at the same time as we did, so the five of us decided to cruise around Genoa together. We took the metro to the port and walked from there into Old Town. We went inside a really beautiful cathedral and spent some time walking around, enjoying all the ornate decorations. Then we continued on to the square, which had a really nice fountain. Unfortunately, it was pretty windy and we were getting seriously sprayed by the huge fountain, so I don't have very many decent picture of it. Had to protect the camera... 
We grabbed some gelato at a local shop and tried rose-flavored gelato! It was really delicious! The lady working at the gelato shop was really hilarious and spoke at least 5 languages... pretty impressive! We decided to try and climb up a hill to reach a viewpoint of the city, but we found a free public elevator at the base of the hill! First of all, it is uncommon to find elevators that take you up European hills. Secondly, nothing is free, so this was a really good find! The elevator was pretty creepy, but it was WAY better than walking up the hill. The view was fantastic and we sat at a table on the top to watch the sun begin to set. 
By this point, we were sort of hungry, so our new Australian friends taught us something cool about eating habits in Italy. Somehow, after nearly two weeks in Italy, we managed to not discover appertivos until the last day.  Appertivos are drinks meant to entice the appetite, and they are commonly served with free snacks! The traditional drink is made with a liquor called Aperol and Sprite or Proseco, and it is bright orange! All throughout Italy, we've been seeing these orange drinks on people's tables and wondering what the hell they are. They are a really beautiful color of orange too, so I always have a creepy desire to go take pictures of random people's drinks.. Glad to finally be able to take my own orange drink pictures! The snacks were really good too-- little sandwiches, olives, chips, peanuts, etc. Good find! 
After the appertivos, we ordered four pizzas to take back to the hotel. According to our hotel owner, Genoa is taking the brunt of the North African immigration influx and the streets are not particularly safe at night. So we decided to play it safe and just hang out with our new friends in the hotel. The pizza experience was pretty funny-- they don't usually slice the pizzas in Italy but we asked the man to slice them for us. He sliced them all in half. Not in slices, in half. HAHA! I don't think we explained ourselves successfully. We spent the evening getting to know our friends and researching the European ecoli epidemic. Don't worry-- so far we are ecoli-free. It's been a fair amount of time since I've been in Germany, and vegetables in Italy come almost entirely from Italy. But we have decided to avoid fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce anyway. Better safe than sorry.
In the morning, we woke up early to have breakfast and leave for the French Riviera. We barely had enough time to get Chris tickets for the first train from Genoa to Ventimiglia and had to run to catch our train. The line in the train station in Ventimiglia was totally appalling and there was no way for us to make our connection, so we just got on the train and Chris got a ticket from the conductor. Glad that worked out okay... will post again from Nice in a few days! Arriverderci!
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Mom on

Bummer to learn on your last day in Italy that you could have had free food during happy hour! Oh, well. Of course, I have to ask if you had any Genoa salami? My favorite!

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