Week 3 in Genova was all about walking- I went on 2 beautiful local hikes, and walked around Venice for a couple of days. I also got started on a short comic about Genova- sneak peak of page 1 below!
Hike 1: Camogli to San Fruttuoso
I had no idea what I was getting into when I began this hike- a coworker recommended it to me and assured me that it was a fun hike popular among families. It begins in the cute town of Camogli and ends at San Fruttuoso, an ancient abbey on a secluded beach that is only accessible on foot or by boat. This all sounded good to me, and I set out without looking into it further. To make a long story short, this was NOT an easy hike, or even a medium-level hike. This hike was downright life threatening at some points, famously featuring stretches of path that cross steep, sheer rock face with just a chain to hold to prevent you from sliding to your death. Some parts of the hike involved climbing or descending rock faces, some involved zig-zagging up steep, rough dirt paths, and some involved walking carefully along narrow cliff edges. There were virtually no safety features in place besides the hand-hold chains at the sheerest points… and I loved every bit of it. It was challenging and scary at times, but the views were incredible, and the challenge was very welcome. It was so satisfying to get to the end, to have finished this hike and to rest in the peaceful little cove at the end. Plus, an older couple completed the hike shortly after me, so it can’t have been all THAT dangerous. I wouldn’t recommend this to someone with a fear of heights, but anyone else should definitely check it out, or any of the other hikes in the beautiful Portofino National Park. Overall it was about 8 miles long, and took me 3 hours to complete.
Hike 2: Forte Diamante
For my second hike this week, I went with a couple of other people up to Forte Diamante, one of many abandoned forts that perch on the highest hills above Genova. This hike was almost the opposite of my previous hike- it was on relatively level ground across grassy hills dotted with scraggly trees. Rather than views of the sea and densely forested mountainsides, this hike offered beautiful views of the little towns and communities nestled in the mountains, as well as the constant view of Genova below us. The only challenging part of the hike was the last 30 minutes or so, when we faced an almost vertical climb up the top of the mountain to get to the fort. The views from the top of this mountain were spectacular- it is the highest point in the area, and we could see the mountains going on and on for miles. The fort itself is abandoned and graffiti-ed, but is in pretty decent shape overall and fun to walk through. This hike was also around 8 miles (round trip), and much gentler overall.
This was my first big trip out of Genova, and I opted to go to Venice during their annual Carnevale. Ultimately, I was disappointed by Venice. I expected it to be a regular city with some tourist attractions, but it turned out that Venice is a really just one big floating tourist attraction. It has a dwindling number of permanent residents and is instead constantly swamped by tourists- especially during events like Carnevale. I walked around most of the city in the day and a half that I was there (it only takes about 45 minutes to walk across the city), and ended up missing all of the Carnevale events that I had planned to see because the crowds were so thick. However, away from the crowds of tourists, the rest of the city is like a ghost town- it was a strange juxtaposition. I enjoyed walking the quiet neighborhoods, and I saw plenty of beautiful churches and picturesque canals, but overall the experience of Venice was not what I hoped it would be. I don’t think I’ll be back, especially since Italy is full of other lovely places to visit.
New Comic Project
Lastly, here’s the art for the first page of my next book project! This will be a short, fictional story set in Genova, the first of several stories that will be based on the places I visit this year. More info to come as the project develops :)