27th Nov- 1st Dec 2011 Genova/Cinque Terre/Torrino
when we arrived at the train station in Genova, we got out of the train and in slow motion ran into the arms of gadis rempah. Well not quite, we waited for a while before she turns up with one of the many housemates of the host. Although I was so very excited, seeing my dearest friend again made me feel like it was just yesterday I last saw her. Funny how our memories and emotions work, it felt like she was plucked out of the Malaysia album (of my memory) and plonk in Italy simply by the click of the mouse. So surreal and so …normal. The human ability to adapt to changes is quite astonishing but I was glad to see her.
We all went back to our temporary home here in Genova (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genoa) to homemade hot stew. The small kitchen was filled with 8 people, 5 of those living there and the 3 couchsurfers. It was a warm, bubbly and passionate house of people. After our crazy hitch-hiking adventures and also finally meeting up with gadis rempah, me and jamban basically just hung about at home the next day, recuperating and doing our laundry. We went out just as the sun set for a brief walkabout this quaint old city to get some grocers for gadis rempah to make some spicy indian dish (it is not curry but I don’t remember the word now, she will kill me!!) for the house. I cannot express the joy of eating someone’s else Malaysian cooking.
The next day we ran (literally ran across the town because we were late) to catch the train to one of the village in Cinque Terre. A few weeks back, we found out that 2 of the villages were affected by flood, we didn’t let that deter us from trying anyway. We went to one of the other villages, Riomaggiore, and had a lovely time strolling along the cliffs and exploring the nooks and crannies of the the little village, ending up in the only open restaurant for a light snack before heading home. We also tried looking for gelato, but when we ask some local old men, they shiver and say it’s ‘freggo’ cold! No gelato! I guess it’s only a summer thing here for ice cream. We’ll get some back in Genova city. Upon arriving home, we were greeted with homemade pesto (with pasta of course) and apparently the best gelato in Genova. It was a truly Genovian meal, as pesto is suppose to originate from here.
Jamban volunteered to stay back and apply for couches in Venice the next day while me and gadis rempah went to Torrino (Turin in English, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turin) for a day trip. We were very astound by the very grid-like urban planning of the city which dated back from the late 1800. you can see down to 10 other parallel streets and cross junctions from one cross junction. Usually a modern day phenomenon but Torrino is one of the earlier industrialised city, home to Fiat. Walking among the square, old and intimidating buildings, we went searching for a park for a rest. In the quest for a toilet, we managed to wiggle into a royal palace (who knew, all the buildings look equally old and grand) which we eventually were sternly but politely invited to leave when we were found without tickets. Onward to the park! It took us another hour before we found something that resembled a park, but it was worth it. I lay down my head on my friend’s lap while she read, and I doze off in the midst of falling gold leaves and chirping birds. It was an idle autumn afternoon in old Europe with a dear friend. Although one of the more uneventful moments of my trip, that picture is framed with much affection in my mind. After a while, grumbling stomach took us across town towards the river and a little cafe for some hot lasagne and wine. Then a stroll along the beautiful river, followed by coffee, then home to meet Jamban. Jamban had a good news for us, he found a family an hour away from Venice whom will take us in tomorrow. I went out to get simple ingredients for a quick noodle stir fry dinner. In the morning while my fellow travellers are still asleep, I went to walk around the neighbourhood, then found myself a nice spot for people watching, I ordered a capuccino and some focaccia ( really good and cheap local bread that is flat like pizza dough with toppings) and watched old italian people walking about, chatting with the bakers, the butchers and drivers in passing vehicles. In love with the world, I got some fresh bread back for the sleeping beauties. Then off we go, another train, another place. Life as time travellers never stop.