Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July with Columbus

We celebrated the Fourth of July by driving four hours to Genova, Italy to see where Christopher Columbus was born. It's kind of a stretch, I know. He's not one of the Founding Fathers. He never set foot on mainland America. And Stephen Ambrose and Joseph Ellis never wrote about him. But his childhood home was as close to the New World as we could get on the Fourth. And we'll take any excuse to go to Italy.

Here's a pretty spectacular statue of Columbus in downtown Genova...

What you don't see are all the hobos sleeping in the shade, and the grungy train station to the right. This picture was taken in the bus parking lot.

I think there are about six cities that claim to be the birthplace of Columbus including Lisbon, Chios and someplace in Ohio. But I think Genova is the only one that actually has a house they claim he grew up in...

It was interesting to drive through this massive port city full of huge cathedrals, dingy apartment complexes and baroque banks to find this tiny brick hovel standing untouched in the middle of it all. It was something out of the Lorax.

Apart from Columbus' house, the highlight was gelatto. Although my curiosity led me to try a lilac-colored flavor called "Viola" which tasted exactly like fru-fru handsoap.

On the whole, Genova is not a destination spot. It had its charm, but it was kind of Amafi Coast meets Ogden, Utah.

No fireworks. Happy Fourth, everyone.

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