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A NEW WAY OF SEEING - A PHOTOGRAPHY RETREAT FOR WOMEN, IN GENOA, ITALY, 2014

Not only has Di changed my perception of the city I have called home for the past six years, she has also taken me beyond my own limits as a photographer. She has inspired me to stop living my entire life on the default settings I have grown so comfortable with. By pushing a camera to its limits and learning how to manipulate the manual settings, I, for the first time in my life, realized how much potential I was wasting by always deferring to my default auto setting.

Leah Armstrong, from Help! I live with my Italian mother-in-law, and her article about the workshop over at Holiday Mag.

Come join me on a journey of discovery in an exquisitely ancient Italian city.

 

'Visit' Genova via Stefano's RIGHICAM.

Of all the things I wondered about on this land, I wondered the hardest about the seduction of certain geographies that feel like home - not by story or blood but merely by their forms and colours. How our perceptions are our only internal map of the world, how there are places that claim you and places that warn you. How you can fall in love with the light. Ellen Melloy, Writer
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the quick brown fox

Come travel with me to...

Rome from xx to xx December 2099

Monday
Jan262015

In Genova...

The sporadic posting from Italy has been all about it being the most difficult trip I've ever had here. 

After freezing in our first location we moved on after 3 or 4 days, developing a chest cold each while we were there.  We just couldn't get warm and sadly said goodbye to the dogs.   We headed for Rome and that beautiful city welcomed us, warmed us, and gave a space to recuperate in for a while.

I had a small health problem on our last night there, one that kept me awake all night long.  During that long and lonely night I researched all emergency information while knowing it wasn't serious enough to need anyone at all ... comforting myself with the fact that I now knew where the emergency pharmacy was, the after hours doctors, ER, taxis, and etc. I had hours to fill ...

The following morning we were back on a train ...barely making. We were heading for Genova.  It was a 5.5 hour journey where I was tested somemore.

We arrived.  That was last Friday.  Since then it's been all about finding our feet in this city I love so well.  Stefano helped immensely by whisking us off to an exquisite lunch up in Righi.   I'll write of it in another post, as there are photographs on my camera,  Our gratitude was intense.   It was so good to see the sun, to feel warm, to eat delicious Ligurian food.

Saturday night found us sitting outside at my favourite cafe, Douce, drinking lovely wine and enjoying the feeling that life might be calming down a little.  And, after all, we were in Italy. 

We are still coughing but I think there's an improvement ... :-)

Sunday and my lovely friends, Barbara, Alessandra, Federico and Davide showed us how to make pesto.  They cooked up a big pot of spaghetti and voila, that was divine.  There were sweet treats from Barbara too.  Followed by a walk through the old part of the city with historian, Davide, as guide.

Today I am feeling something like normal. Much skinnier than when I left home ... I think I've dropped 4 or 5 kgs.  This is no great loss, clearly there to lose but ohmygoodness it's been more epic than I can write of.

Today we have begun the search for medical help for Tanya ... who may have torn ligaments in her knee while we were moving the bags they packed for a year of traveling the world.  All 69kgs. 

I can say this with certainty.  It hasn't been boring ...

Wednesday
Jan212015

Reflections, Rome

The River Tiber, just before the heavens opened and I got soaked hurrying back to the apartment ...

Wednesday
Jan212015

View from the Balcony ...

It's 10 celsius here this morning.  I coughed all night and my throat still hurts but the view from the balcony makes up for a lot ...

It was an unexpected detour and I'll need to sell a kidney at some point, although our beautiful apartment was a huge bargain at winter rates.  I need to link to it at some point but not this morning.  There's a city to explore.

Tuesday
Jan202015

In Rome!

Arrived in Rome today. 

A 6euro train fare, a decisionto seek warmth and voila, here I am in the most remarkably beautiful apartment that allows me to see St. Peter's Basilica from the balcony.  

I do love Rome.

Photographs to follow, as I find my feet here.

Then off to Genova  :-)

Saturday
Jan172015

Out in the Garden, Here in Italy ...

There are blood  oranges and mandarins ready to be picked from the tree and eaten ...

Saturday
Jan172015

News from Italy ...

The house comes complete with two adorable small doggy souls ...

Thursday
Jan152015

Enough of Beautiful Things ... the world is a serious place.

Once upon a time, a tour bus stopped like this ... in Rome.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Kahlil Gibran

I do believe I have finished with the 3 beautiful things posts.  It pulled me out of the dark place and allowed me to celebrate some of the beautiful things but it's not really my style ...

Well, there was that and the fact that today was another dark day.  But really, dark and grey and wintery.  I had to go out in it, twice, so far.

But I fly tomorrow.  I love leaving.  Always, since I was a small child.

These days it goes like this.  The night before, if not sooner, I wonder whatinthehellIamdoing and have some anxiety about all that could go wrong. 

The night before, I sleep badly and, these days, the Belgian bloke mocks me a little.

But then I get on the airport bus and voila, some alchemy occurs and I relax.

I reach the airport boarding lounge and enter that state of ohwellIhopeIreachmydestination.Nothingtobedonenow.

I hate leaving, I love leaving.  Always.  Even on my trike as that very small child.  Fearful and yet needing to go.

Jack and Kay have sent photographs of my destination ... that small village somewhere in Italy.  I do believe I may post one or two photographs.  I'm hoping to photograph at least one good sunset and a sunrise.  I'm hoping for fresh air and good espresso.  I'm hoping to write and take a few hundred good photographs.  I'm hoping to walk far and often.  And that I come home so much healthier than I left.

Just all that.

I'm listening to Josh Garrels ... because I've just found him and I love his music, so much!

Wednesday
Jan142015

3 beautiful things found ...

Today I wandered into my Rome archives and rediscovered this shot where I had ended up using a bridge as my 'tripod' one evening while lost in that city I always get so happily lost in.

The second beautiful thing today was a chat with Lisa Chiodo.  She is one of those magnificent women I get to call a friend.  You can read about her and Sam and their big beautiful dreams over here here on their website

Think about booking a holiday with them too ... you won't regret it  :-)

The third thing ... after dropping Miss 10 off at school this morning, I discovered that the new bakery nearby sells the most divine custard-filled eclairs.  I carried one all the way home, reading Cees Nooteboom's divine book, Roads to Santiago.

A sample of his writing: I wander around.  The coolness of the garden contrasts with the heat of the landscape, the coolness of the church contrasts with that of the garden, it is almost chilly where I am now.  The thick walls of a church prevent the outside air, the ordinary air, from having its way.  Suddenly I am standing before an arbitrary structure made of stone: its mere presence alters the quality of what little air has managed to come in.  This is no longer the air wafting in poplars and clover, the air that is moved this way and that in the breeze.  This air is church air, as invisible as the air outside, but different.  Church-shaped air, permeating the space between the columns and, deathly still, like an absent element, rising up to fill the pointed vaulting constructed of rough-hewn blocks of stone.   There is no one in the church.  Enormous columns rise directly from the paved floor, the position of the sun casts a strange, static pool of light through the oculus somewhere on the right of the church.  It's a little ghostly.  I hear my own footsteps.  This space distorts not only the air, but also the sound of each step I take - they become the steps of someone walking in a church.  Even if one subtracts from these sensations all that one does not in fact believe in oneself, then there's still the imponderable factor that other people do believe, and especially have believed, in this space.

Cees Nooteboom.

Tuesday
Jan132015

3 beautiful things found + the doctor told me ...

I had a doctor appointment this morning, at 8.48am.  I wondered, later, what drove me to write down such a freakishly incorrect time but on checking the email I realised it was correct.  I think it's all about him having a new appointment every 12 minutes.

I was back for a repeat prescription as well as a blood test.  I can feel my anemia is all but gone however the blood will tell.  I hope it shuts up about me not taking my vitamin D.  I was prescribed 4 different pills and potions, I chose to take 2 initially.  Maybe I regret this ... maybe I don't.

I do understand any consequences are my fault.  Most especially the sadness that comes from being low in vitamin D but I need a change in direction.  Sadness helps focus one on the demands that emerge out of 'changing a life'.  I'll start with it this week, now that the other 2 appear to have worked.  And ummm, it may be that being low vitamin D doesn't really help a soul to make changes... 

I did decide I might adore my doctor.  It became clear when I explained how one of my health challenges had disappeared during my first 3 days in Italy.  He looked up and said, very seriously, 'then you must go to Italy more often'.

'Seriously' but with quite the twinkle in his eye.   Probably knowing there's nothing that sounds so good as being able to say, 'Well ... the doctor told me.  So I must, mustn't I.'

Today, still searching for a particular Istanbul photograph I'd quite like to post, I found another that I remembered loving.  This one was taken inside Dolmabahçe Palace, that fabulous Istanbul palace where Ataturk lived.  The place where I learned that I love a particular shade of red ... the one that's like slightly faded raspberries.

The quote below, from Goethe, seemed like more good advice.

And the song ... Beyond the Blue by Josh Garrels, just really worked for me on this cold grey rainy Belgian day.

Monday
Jan122015

3 beautiful things i found today ... day 2

There was much that I loved about living in Istanbul but I had to smile when I discovered that I had gone as far as photographing my favourite cheese there.  It's divine.

And I loved this small text titled For My Mother When She Doesn't Feel Beautiful.

Did I mention I've been listening to this song a lot lately?  Sting, They Dance Alone.