All went to plan. Got searched as usual.
The journey was routine with an 04:30 alarm and breakfast. The drive to Stansted was calm with a gray overcast dawn to enjoy. The alternatives of snow, fog or ice are much less fun. The check-in was routine too. As usual my rucksack failed security and had to be completely emptied. As usual nothing illegal was found. Carrying a camera, gps and laptop will all the chargers and connecting leads is clearly just too much for the scanning machine. I doubt if a Samsung galaxy would replace all my hardware. My Asus EEE laptop runs a web server which duplicates the server at work and the walk-across-Europe web server.
I managed to ignore the intrusive advertising throughout the Ryanair flight and even got some sleep. This made the flight feel short. The Swiss Alps looked pretty but it was dull and overcast on the coast. On arrival, there was a bus waiting. It was 6 euros to the town centre. This departed straight after I boarded, putting me ahead of schedule. At the Stazione Piazza Principe I had a few minutes to kill so I was able to discover that the trains were on strike on Sunday and the ticket machines were not too hard to use. So I have lost a day of walking before I even started.
My hotel reservation had worked and the 14:00 check-in was really efficient. I was settled in by 14:30. The one internet review I saw had made me doubtful about my choice of hotel but the room was spacious and clean and there was a somewhat industrial view over the harbour. A huge cruise liner and another ferry departed that afternoon. I was not woken up by the other guests. So it's more than adequate and good value although the WiFi fee of EUR 10 per hour for a restricted bandwidth connection with usage caps was shockingly high. A major plus; the hotel is a one minute walk from the railway station. A curiosity in the hotel is Schindler's Lift. I had no idea that Schindler made lifts.
With the rail strike, plan B is to do a walk north of Genova. The town only reaches 1 or 2 km inland and there is a mountain path on the map that may be worth investigating. At least I can start getting fit even if the main walk is not being done.
Ventimiglia to Genova is a coastal stretch, mainly on busy roads with mountains inland making alternatives difficult. There are some bits of disused railway, converted into coastal paths. These were really nice to walk. There were a couple of mountain tracks too.
From Genova heading north, there was a narrow valley with the railway, the autostrada and a parallel main road. This should have had nice views but the weather was dreadful. There was fog, drizzle and finally sleet and snow. Umbrella ice build-up was not an expected problem! The main road walking was tedious but not much traffic crosses the pass so this was nicer. The terrain becomes much flatter south of Milan. There were few back roads heading in the right direction so there was a lot of main road walking with occasional reprieves.
The train services have been excellent apart from one day of walking lost due to a strike. Mostly waits for trains have been under 20 minutes. Oddly this became less good nearer Milan. The Trenitalia website is not too good. Getting good advance information was really difficult. There was an excellent journey planner but this only works if you know the names of the stations. On the last day, I found and photographed an incomplete route map showing the stations. This was posted in Broni and is probably years old. It's better than nothing. It really ought to be on the website.
The weather; my umbrella saw far more use than my sun hat. There were some nice days though but only one when the sun block was deployed.
Visiting a new country is always fun because of the language. I was in camera 626 on piano 6 reached in Schindler's lift. Many of the trains departed from Binari 11.