Also known as the last weekend we can get Liam in for free with the ‘under three’ rule! 🙂

We’re just back from our weekend away in Genova (Genoa). It’s about 2 hours up the coast in Italy, and we’ve often been through it on our way elsewhere, but never actually visited it. I’d read that there was a big aquarium (the second largest in Europe) and so I though it would be a nice pre-birthday treat for Liam.

The weekend was nice… although not necessarily to plan. Firstly, I got sick while we were away. Liam had a bit of a chest cold last week (enabling him to miss Kids Club on Thursday) and then I got it, only much worse. And it was COLD in Genoa. Same temperatures as Nice, but the wind was insane!!

We arrived Saturday early afternoon, checked into our little hotel in the old town, and then went for a wander down to the ‘Porto Antiqua’ (the old port). We stopped for the most amazing foccacia sandwiches en route, and Liam enjoyed his very heavy, dark hot chocolate!!

In the old port is a replica of a 17th century Spanish Galleon, called ‘Il Galleone Neptuna’. It was built in 1985 for Roman Polanski’s film ‘Pirates’ and is permanently on display in the Genova. Liam had a grand time exploring the inside decks and cannons, and horsing about on the upper deck. The ship was HUGE and also gave us a nice perspective of the port.

Afterwards, since it was so bitterly cold, we took Liam for a stroll around the far end of the port to the Cittea dei Bambini (City of Children) which is an indoor science and play area for kids of all ages. A nice place to hang out for a few hours on a cold day!! Liam had a great time, especially with the bubble sensory area, and in the construction zone.

Afterwards, we headed into EATALY, a concept restaurant / supermarket of local foods. The idea is to bring the best of the fresh, local foods to you. Basically, once you go in, you channel through various food stations and market displays (produce, meats and cheeses, dairy, wine, dry goods, etc) and you choose your table (all of which overlook the port which is lovely!). The restaurant is cantina style, and you place your order at any one of the cash desks at any food station, and they’ll bring the food to your table. And then on your way out, you can pay for whatever other goodies you’ve selected off the shelves on your wander through. We stocked up on some fabulous italian cheeses, meats and yogurts on our way out today!

And dinner last night at EATALY was great!! I had a pasta with locally grown broccoli and black olives, and a generous helping of grated pecorino cheese, Liam had Trofie alla Pesto (a local type of pasta with a freshly made basil and garlic sauce) and Adam had a fantastically tender cut of meat — which, quite frankly, we still don’t know what it was! But it was goooood!

This morning was not quite as cold (at least it was sunny, and the wind seemed to have died down a bit). The plan was to spend a few hours at the aquarium — but Liam just wasn’t in the mood, and he complained half of the time… actually, most of the time. Still, after it all, he was speaking highly of the penguins, so he must have enjoyed something! Unfortunately, I don’t think the Genoa Aquarium is any better than the Monaco Aquarium, other than it has a few big tank displays (manatees, a dolphin, seals, and penguins). Other than that, I find the Monaco Aquarium to be much nicer, and certainly not as far away!!

But like I said, despite all of this, it was a nice change of pace, and a nice weekend away. Another place to mark on Liam’s Google Map of places he’s been.

We’re all happy to be home now. Liam is lying on the sofa watching a movie, and I’m waiting for the sinus medication to kick in. Early to bed tonight! It’s going to be a big week — someone is turning 3!!!