With an almost becalmed ink-like Mediterranean Sea, one would think that these condition for the overnight ferry from Barcelona to Genoa is conducive to peaceful sleep…
…but no, this is going to be a sleepless night, without any lulling to sleep.
This has nothing to do with the sea, but everything to do with the paper-thin walls between cabins.
Splitting this 2015 post for a faster read so also check Part 2 of the Genoa experience.
Grandi Navi Veloci: ferry experience continued
On one side of the wall a very loud Italian family – not sure of the number – is squashed into the small. The mother screeches at her children like a deranged Banshee.
The other side of our cabin hosts an Italian couple with delusions of being in a nightclub, with the need to shout loudly over each other’s voice, while playing extremely loud music.
If the night isn’t bad enough, the bunk bed’s thin smattering mattress feels just like an aged wooden plank and not at all comfortable to sleep during this 20-hour crossing. The bedding is clean though so this is a bonus.
The morning finally rolls around with a picturesque sunrise and Genoa in the far distance – always excited to land in a new country regardless the mode of transport.
I notice passengers frantically filling out a little white entry card, so I ask staff for a couple.
The ferry is about an hour late into the Port of Genoa and understandably so, as we left Barcelona late, so time wasn’t made up during the night. With apprehension starting Reg after the stressful boarding up the steep ferry ramp backwards, he starts first go – amazing. Good old Fiats!
Drive out of the port without anyone checking passports. No border control checks. No handing in of the little white entry card. Nothing.
We could have brought anything or anyone into Italy. Whether it is because of the Great Britain number plates sported by Reg or whether it is just a slack entry port, I have no idea. Amazing though, as it is only one week after the Paris “Terrorist” attack, which killed 130 people and injured over 400 people.
Lizzy (GPS) is programmed to take us to the campsite – and take us she does – well almost…
Towards the spiralling steep uphill road we drive.
Of course this is Italy so most roads are quite narrow, tight, and spiralling. This one is not any different.
Lizzy became confused: “Turn right, turn left, turn right, turn left.” But wait, there isn’t a right or left, so, stuck on a loop she stays. I’m sure everyone has experienced one of these sessions with your SatNav?
Luckily, spotting signs to the campsite saves the day and guides us on our merry way, and such a relief to finally reach this pleasant site.
Distance: 13 kilometres
Diesel: No fill
Roads: E25, SS1
Campsite: €25/night cash or €27/night for credit card including power (we stayed 11 nights, which gives us a €15 discount)
Note: 2015 prices
Campeggio Villa Doria (Pegli) – About 50 pitches in a lovely leafy surround and very quiet this wintery time of year. Excellent hot showers and very clean facility block.
Ewa and husband (owners) are excellent and very helpful. Ewa speaks English fluently and very vivacious, especially about Genoa – her excitement about site-seeing in Genoa is infectious.
When it’s time to leave, Ewa even phones our next campsite to see if it is open as this is winter, so a problem finding open campsites.
Only around 10kms out of Genoa, Pegli is a small seaside town with a much quainter feel. Although traffic isn’t slower – it is Italy after all – there seems to be less cars here so streets appear to be quieter.
Gorgeous old architecture graces this town and Genoa is easily accessible by train, water bus, or bus. Take a lovely relaxing walk along the seafront.
If you have time, stop and watch elderly men play Petanque.
I had a full-on half-hour conversation in Italian about religion, migrants, philosophy, and more. My head hurts as after only three days in Italy, I am struggling to remember my Italian, which I’ve barely spoken in decades.
Where to eat
Just one mention in this section as it’s easy to prepare all meals using Reg’s kitchen.
Bar Pasticceria Marzio’s Café
On via Lungomare di Pegli, this cafe offers great coffee (€1.30) and pastries, and local meals. This little place is along the waterfront and exudes a lovely ambience.
A couple of supermarkets worth mentioning for the motorhomers out there, but also for anyone with cooking facilities while travelling.
Great supermarket with everything you need on via Pianilucco 15q Rosso. Everything is delicious here, cheese, fresh pasta, fresh fish, hams, and fruit and veg.
Seafood is more expensive in Genoa than in Spain, regardless of where you shop. Alcohol is around the same price. Hams are almost double the price of Spain.
On via Martiri Della Liberta 15, is another great supermarket although much smaller than the COOP, but with loads of supplies at cheaper prices than the COOP.
With this much selection, just have to stock up Reg again. Alcohol is sold at varying prices, but there is always a bargain.
Valle Calde – meeting long lost cousins
Sometimes, FaceBook can be beneficial and helpful. Especially, to connect with long lost cousins, friends, and colleagues.
Lovely meeting my cousin for the very first time. And, kindly collecting us from Pegli for the drive to Valle Calde to have lunch and meet more cousins. Valle Calde (warm valley) is around half an hour away.
This gorgeous house in the mountains is substantially colder than Pegli but also very scenic and serene. It snows here in the winter…a lot.
My cousin and her husband bought the house and slowly renovating it between working – a slow and hard labour of love. Also met Hero the 6-month old pup, who is absolutely gorgeous and full of mischief.
Many fruit trees adorn the grounds, even a Kiwi fruit tree.
Meeting my cousins for the first time is great and we speak for hours, ending up staying for dinner – very hospitable and kind.
Remember, food is never a fleeting moment in Italy – something not to be rushed.
Strange how you meet people for the first time and thre’s an instant connection and feels as though you’ve known them for an age…a lovely encounter.
Travelling between Pegli and Genoa
If you’re taking the Metro from Pegli to Genoa, the journey takes around 20 minutes and the bus is about 35 minutes. In 2015, a ticket cost €1.60 for 100 minutes of travel on buses and trains.
Buy all bus tickets before boarding a bus. Preferably the same for trains, but conductors will sell you a ticket on the train.
Principe is the station to get off the train, which is a tad closer to the old town and sites than Brignole. If you get off too soon, it’s a short easy stroll from Brignole. Why not stop off for a coffee in Principe as it’s cheaper than the old town.
Check Part 2 of the Genoa experience for more travel tips and great photos.