Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wet, Wild Goose Chase

The Web site clearly stated that the Chocolate exhibition was going to take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the Beatles tribute band would appear at 5:30 p.m. So, despite the downpour, it seemed to make perfect sense to Trofie Wife and Martello to spend the latter part of Sunday afternoon and early evening exploring Varazze. Just two train stops from Arenzano, in the opposite direction from Genova, Varazze is advertised as a lovely highpoint along the Italian Riviera, and it definitely leans towards città as opposed to commune. Despite having traipsed through it (and its puddles) in the middle of a rainstorm, the wind pulling us along what is likely a gorgeous boardwalk during the summer months, it does appear to be a bona fide shore town, complete with amusement rides and surfside cafes. It also has a large centro with a surprising number of shops open at 6 p.m. on a Sunday evening—perhaps just for the Christmas rush? We were able to see so much of Varazze’s main drag because Martello did not want to adhere to Trofie Wife’s Number One Rule of Exploring Italian Cities: Read the Signs. They are incredibly helpful in pointing out all the major sights in any town, small or large (we even have them in Arenzano). Martello thought we should just follow the lights and people heading towards centro. Big mistake. After a long walk and major soaking, we headed back in frustration towards the main part of town (and the train station, readying to return home if need be) and finally saw a sign telling us that we were headed in the right direction (we would have known that if we had just looked at it in the first place…).

Our destination Sunday evening was the porto turistico, otherwise known as the Marina di Varazze. It’s sort of like the retail portion of South Street Seaport, filled with name brand shops and restaurants along with actual port-related activities (there were some mighty large boats anchored there, all sure to bring on acute seasickness in Trofie Wife). When we arrived we saw little sign of a chocolate tasting/cooking demonstration, or any other large gathering of people. And “Yellow Submarine” with an awkward Italian inflection was not being piped out of any sound system. But we did walk around the marina and imagine that it would be a lovely place to spend a warm, spring day, perhaps taking in some music and gelato. To add insult to injury, none of the marina’s restaurants were yet open for dinner (no early bird specials in Italy!). So, we headed back to centro to try and find a table. On our way, we did see a sign for the event, which at the very least helped secure Trofie Wife’s sanity in the eyes of Martello (the poster did say Chocolate Event all day and Beatles at 5:30 p.m.). Luckily, we found an open and fairly decent pizza place on the tourist strip. From there we headed back to the train station, still damp, and not so happy about the 30 minute wait for a train. But what did we see there? Just at the very moment when we so desperately craved it, we spotted a Lavazza vending machine! We “ordered” a steaming hot chocolate and were instantly warmed (other options included various espressos and tea, but seriously, hot chocolate is the only way to go if you really want to get warm and cozy quickly). We had not yet seen one of these so it was even more exciting.

But we think in the future, we will avoid frigid rainy day exploring. Brr.

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife


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