Tis Returns to Italy! Day 36: Taking the Beautiful Road Less Traveled
During my time in Genova, I had received a tip that I must visit Nervi, a seaside town just south of the city. The trip was just 15 minutes by train. This morning as I was working in a caffè not far from the train station, it was the perfect day to head to Nervi for a late lunch by the sea.
The train ride was beautiful, offering endless views of the Ligurian Sea. When the train arrived in Nervi, I stepped off to the most beautiful views I have seen from a train station. There was nothing but blue skies and sea all around me.
As I left the station, there were a couple of cute caffès amid green gardens. I followed a stone path in the direction of the center of Nervi. After passing through a tunnel under the train, I emerged on the most beautiful path. This was to be my ten-minute walk into Nervi’s small port area.
Along the path, there were quaint stone benches upon which to sit and enjoy the views. I passed a “beach bar” where people were relaxing with a cocktail or a coffee. Steep steps took you to the sea below, where people were sunbathing and swimming. Out on the water, people were paddle boarding and kayaking.
As I arrived in the small port, I saw a couple of restaurants right by the water. I chose one with seafood on the menu and a lovely view. While enjoying a very delicious seafood pasta that was full of a variety of fresh seafood, I watched the locals go about their days. A businessman was on the phone, finishing a call. An older man rowed to shore and pulled his kayak out of the water onto the beach. A woman took an occasional dip in the sea as she laid in the sun. A woman entertained her baby with beach toys and dips in the water.
As I watched this peaceful scene, it reminded me of my first visit to the lovely town of Vernazza, in the now incredibly popular Cinque Terre. Back then, I received a tip to go to Cinque Terre, a place where many Italians go. I visited Vernazza to eat lunch at the restaurant of a local friend I’d made earlier in my trip. That day I was one of a few people in Vernazza, similar to today in Nervi. It was then, as Nervi is today, a place Italians go.
After Rick Steves visited Cinque Terre, the crowds descended in masses. Cruise boats dock and flood the small towns with more tourists than the small towns can possibly handle. Homes that saw generations of families grow up have turned from residences to rentals for tourists. Now in Vernazza, you can hardly find a place to stand and eat a take-out hot dog, let alone sit at a restaurant and enjoy a dinner recommended by a friend.
It amazes me that people don’t opt for spreading out a bit and enjoying all of the beautiful towns in this country. One can have a much more authentic experience in a town like Nervi, instead of the “Disneyfied” version about an hour south in Cinque Terre.
Take a chance on a random town next time you travel. You’ll be happy you did.
Ciao for now!