When we first started planning this trip we knew we had to go visit a friend who now calls Genoa home.
Federico Castro use to work for Princess - most recently as Captain Circle Host. We become friends with him a few years ago and have had the pleasure of sailing with him a few times. Our friendship is one that is like family. I know many of you cruise people will totally understand when I say the crew are like family. Our Princess family.
So when Federico moved from Buenos Aires to Italy - for love of course we both were happy for him but then thought we may never see him again. But circumstances put us on the path to reunite with him and Andrea (his new love).
Federico wanted us to come visit and stay for a bit and offered up his home to us. Well that is a gift we can't refuse.
So our morning begins with us packing back up our carry on, heading downstairs from the hotel for a complimentary breakfast - which was quite good.
Oh I forgot to add that before turning in last night we were able to take our suitcases down to the British Airways check in counter and check our bags the night prior. A great perk that you should check to see if your airline allows. This way we got to sleep in a bit more this am.
After going thru security (no priority line here for us) here at Gatwick. Note the UK has security clearance down to an art form. North America can learn a few things here. The whole process was very streamlined and efficient with lots of stations and place to regroup. Bins automatically come up for you to place your stuff in. After clearing you take your bin to a cubby where you can regroup and gather your stuff. Much more civilized if I do say so.
One other great thing they do here is once you clear security you enter a large area with shops, restaurants, bathrooms, currency exchanges and well you name it. You watch the main board for your gate. The gate only appears just before boarding.
This means no hanging out at your gate forever and a day. Once our gate is announced we start the trek to the gate and we can start boarding right away. Because we don't all arrive at the same time they can board more fluidly.
Once on the plane - Bernie and I are across the aisle from each other, our preference. I am sat with two ladies who are heading with another to Genoa for a weekend away - aka Girl's weekend. They just don't shut up.... hmmm maybe I am still a little tired and cranky. Okay settle down Vickie it is a short flight.
Wow British Airways serves us a little meal - yoghurt, juice, croissant. I am in shock. Even though it is not the best meal I have ever had it was free and certainly more than a 9 hour flight on Westjet gave us.
We land in Genoa and the airport is small - and so authentic Italian. Not crazy like Vancouver or Gatwick. As soon as we get off we are led to EU passport control - two booths where the agents show up only when a plane lands. There are two lines - one for EU citizens and one for non EU citizens. The lines move fast and we are cleared in no time.
Baggage collection is right passed the booths and there are only two carousels. I like this. After collecting our bags we have to pass another agent but not really a big deal, we are cleared.
Andrea and Federico are there to meet us! Big hugs and kisses. So nice to see them.
Right out the door and Andrea has parked right at the ramp to the airport where there is free parking - again another wow.
A drive thru Genoa we are both in awe and have to pinch ourselves we are in Genoa.
|this tan building is their building|
We settle in and catch up with Federico and enjoy getting to know Andrea more.
They make us a lovely lunch of an authentic Genoa meal - Pesto sauce with Triumph pasta.
After lunch we have a nap, we need it.