This morning I had the most remarkable, almost overwhelming, time.
The other day, Stefano had introduced me to a lovely man, an artist who is something of an expert on the truly ancient part of Genova. ‘Truly ancient part’ translates as more than 2000 years old.
Today we 3 met under the gate known as Porta Soprana, one of those ancient gates built back in 1155 as part of the Republic’s defense against Barbarossa, and we set out on our walking tour.
The tower photographed at the end of this post is, of course, medieval.
The New Zealander in me, the child who remains, found that fact stunning. And by the end of the tour my mind was mush. I felt extremely fragile but understood, eventually, that it was coming face-to-face with explanations of ancient history. Legend has it, that the man who built this tower was responsible for ... inventing a kind of mobile ladder to scale the walls of Jerusalem during the Crusades.
I don’t write of the days where I find myself on my knees, completely lost in the world. I feel things quite deeply. I presume it’s an artiste thing (let’s put a positive spin on this) but there are times when I am crippled by a feeling of immense fragility as I wander the world. It happened in Cairo. It happened in Istanbul however it doesn’t seem to stop me wandering…
It happened today. I felt so small in this ancient world and I had no idea of how to save myself. But I usually do. Or someone else does without knowing what they have done.
Sometimes I wonder if I just can’t somehow become a stay-at-home-kind-a-woman-with-my-labrador-dog... but then I need to wander again. But I love labradors. I love belonging someplace. However I seem to need to climb that gate I used to climb as a very small child.
And so, to walk through these streets today, with two men I respect immensely and being offered a glimpse of the enormity of Genova’s history down through time ... I had to rest this afternoon because my mind was shattered. I felt like I might just implode. I felt so very small ... and lost.
And yet we all know ... I’ll do it again and again and again because that seems to be what I do.
If living alone in Istanbul for two years didn’t cure me of the loneliness and fragility that comes with this strange life that I live, then nothing will I think.
Today I learned so much about a very small part of this ancient city I love and it was good. Mille grazie to those who patiently led me through these ancient streets telling me stories and translating. It was a golden day.