My girlfriend and I picked up a brand new Peugeot from Nice airport. After an easy two hour drive on the Autostraat (twice as long if you take the local roads, but prettier) we arrived in Genoa. Even though I knew Genoa was a major Italian shipping port that has existed since the fourth century BC, I had no idea what to expect, especially after leaving breathtaking Nice in France. I was blown away by the sheer scale, grit and compactness of the place. I’ve decided not to include any photos of the city because looking at boring old brown buildings will not give you the right idea. The buildings seem like they’ve all just been built on-top of each other over the past two thousand years and roads criss-cross many times over the same square mile. In fact, even with our trusty GPS, we ended up looping on the Autostraat at least three times, trying to get off and just out of the city to camp. Eventually we drove about 20 miles back toward Nice and found a great little caravan park. It was late when we arrived to begin our first night of camping with our new car as home-base for the next two months.

Extremely flustered with what we’d just gone through, it was nice to be out of the city.

The campground, called Campeggio-La-Vessima, was certainly nothing fancy, but if you’re hiring a car to drive around Europe, 18 euros a night to park your mobile-base and the ability to sleep next to it in a tent is pretty awesome. The highlight of La Vessima Caravan Park would have to be the private beach (which you can only access with a digital swipe card) and the awesome bar and restaurant area which are set on a cliff top hanging over the crashing waves below. Try one of the pizzas if you get a chance. 6 euros and totally hand-made!


As you can see from the video footage I took, it’s a pretty bloody cool place to eat local pizza as the sun is setting while enjoying a few beers. There would be plenty of closer and better places to stay near Genoa, I’m sure, and although I wouldn’t highly recommend this place, it didn’t totally suck either. I hung around to watch the moon dance for a few hours on that very balcony in the film clip, before resting up for our big Genoa Aquarium visit, the following day.

Fully-rested, we endeavored to make another attack on Genoa. This time we avoided the toll-roads and things were a lot easier. We found parking at the aquarium that ended up costing around 5 euros for a few hours. However, being the dumb-Aussie-newbie-tourists we are (at this stage), we were hassled by men claiming to represent a poorly-developed country, who showered us with “free” little wooden gifts and helped us find a parking spot. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were ordered to donate 30 euros to help their country. We weren’t sure if we were being played or not, so we donated four.

I’ve made a little video of the aquarium for you to enjoy and included a few snippets in the beginning to give you a general idea of what Genoa is like at least near the aquarium. I’ll let the visuals speak for themselves in a second, but just before I sign off… Genoa is impossible to see in a few days, but if you have limited time, I can highly recommend a visit to the aquarium for around 17 euros each.


Rob Kaay is an Australian author & musician

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