Day 22- Genova

We arrived in Genova after 10:00 pm due to our train being delayed. There were a lot of unhappy people, including the conductor, but that was because this old Italian woman kept following him around and yelling at him. By the 3rd time she had confronted him, he threw his bag, and cussed her out. The funny thing was, (Austin told me because I don’t speak Italian), was that he was still using the formal version of “you” (more respectful for older people) whilst he was cussing her out. Train stations in general are not generally the best places to be late at night, and are not in the best parts of town, so Austin takes off to find our B&B. Well, I made him take the directions out and I carried them and tried to keep him on the right path since he was going so fast. We stuck to lighted, main streets, and even ran into two prostitutes on the corner outside the place we were staying! We were very happy when we got there, but kind of unhappy about news we received about our relocation. This was our last day in Italy, and our things were not going to be able to be relocated to us in Chicago. So, my take is that we are not homeless, we have a lease that we signed today, and we can “move in” tomorrow.
Argh! Pirate ship in the harbor
We have a place to stay, a kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom. We are renting a car, so really we have most of things we need. Austin is enraged that we will be without our things for a few weeks. Anyway, Austin didn’t get very much sleep that night, and I tried to sleep but the bed was so hard that my hips were taking turns doing numb depending on what side I was turned to. Because everything in Italy is tiny and multipurpose, several of the “double” rooms we have stayed in with 1 “double” bed have actually been 2 twin beds pushed together. Very nice for the B&Bs because they can have more flexibility in their room options, but not so great when the gap between the beds widens in the middle of the night, or one of the beds is significantly more comfortable than the other. Anyway, we took a slightly lazier morning in Genova, ate breakfast (the lady at the B&B was really nice), left our stuff at the place while we ventured around Genova. First stop, the Aquarium! I love aquariums, mostly because I love the ocean and I love fish. If marine biology was a viable career option for more than a few people, I totally would have done it. Anyway, the aquarium was really cool. Austin noted that it was much smaller than the aquarium at Monterey Bay, but I commented that Genova had some cooler stuff.
Manatees! My Favorite!
Social Dolphin!
Freaky fish… This fish had legs so it could crawl around.
It also had colorful winglike fins that it can swim with
Ok… this is crazy! Some rays have little feet… and look like they have a smiley face!
This little guy was smushed up against the glass and wiggling his little feet, he looked like
he was dancing!
Austin loves frogs. This frog is especially cool because
it secretes a substance that glues its predators’
mouths shut!
Things that I liked at the Aquarium included the dolphin tank. I guess they have a few dolphins in a series of interconnected tanks, but they can decide when they want to show themselves. It seemed like only one dolphin was being social today, but he swam around the tank quite a bit, and I loved watching him. There were also two manatees! I’m not sure I have seen manatees in real life before, but they are SO cool! They are like nature’s sea sloths, just floating around and eating lettuce. Both Austin and I liked watching the seals, and in the shark tank they had this sawfish that wasn’t actually a shark, but had a very long nose that looked like a saw. VERY COOL. Also, the tanks were not as nicely decorated as the tanks in Monterey Bay. I guess in Italy they don’t really care if the animal feels as much like they are in their natural environments. There were also cool tropical fishes and fishes indigenous to the Mediterranean that I hadn’t seen before, as well as a whole section dedicated to the plants, fishes, and amphibians of Madagascar. That section was pretty cool because it was like a tropical rainforest. Prior to the forest, they had made the exhibit like a ship so that you walk along and learn about different explorers and their contributions to the world, ending with Darwin and his theory of evolution. Then, you get off the boat and are in Madagascar, like you sailed there!
Another cool thing about the aquarium is that was smack in the middle of the harbor. Half of it was actually on a floating barge! There was also a free 3D movie that we could view at the beginning of the aquarium. It was all about how humans are destroying the environment, but it was narrated by a cute turtle, and in Italian, so it was fun for me to watch.
In the Biosphere
After the Aquarium, we stopped briefly by the Biosphere. This is a clear plastic or glass dome that is also floating on the harbor. Inside were a host of tropical plants, birds, and a couple of other animals. There were these bright red birds with long pointy peaks that were just roaming around free, and a South American water turtle that looked like a rock(body) and leaf(head). Austin had a hard time finding him, but he reminded me a little of the snapping turtles at the Atascadero zoo. I was always scared of them growing up, thinking that as my parents held me up over the edge to peer over at them that they were snap at me and take a finger or something.
Anyway, after that, we wandered around Genova for quite awhile. We made it to look at the outside of the Duomo and into the main town square. We were on the search for a Carpisa, an Italian purse, wallet, and luggage company that we wanted to find so that we could buy gifts there. We found the main shopping area, with all of the other stores that I had come to recognize from 3 weeks of wandering around Italy, but no Carpisa. Finally, when my feet started really hurting, I got Austin to ask someone. Turns out, just like in San Remo, they had closed the Carpisa in the downtown area and opened one in a mall far away out of town. I was SOOO glad Austin asked because otherwise we would have been searching forever. There were several other streets with shops on them that we could have tried prior to receiving that answer. Anyway, we decided to go back to the place we stayed, check our email for updates, and take the train to Milan (we had a hotel there that was going to take us to the airport in the morning). When we got to the B&B, we had an important email with papers that Austin needed to fill out. First we asked for a printer. She had that. Then we needed a scanner. She had that too! We felt extremely lucky, and even missed the train we wanted to catch so that Austin could start the relocation paperwork a little sooner. Unfortunately, the scanner scanned with a big black line down the center of the page, so the lady at the relocation place wouldn’t take it. Darn it! Later on in the night, Austin took pictures of the documents and sent them to her, and I think she liked that better.
While on the internet, we also found the nearest Carpisa store to the train station… it was in the train station! When we got there and looked at a map of all the shopping available at the station, it was not on the map. I was fairly sad because this was our last chance to get family gifts and I had nothing! After a short cry/freak out on my part, we decided to see if the maps were outdated and the Carpisa was a newer shop in the train station. I wandered around a corner and there it was! Hooray! We found everything we needed and were very happy about it. Austin wanted Kebap (Italian mystery meat sandwich originally from Morocco maybe?), so we ventured out of the train station to buy them, and then had to hurry very fast back to catch the train to the airport. From the airport, we called the hotel and had them pick us up.

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