It has been so difficult to blog here in Genova. So difficult to sit down and relax into attempting to describe some of the magic that has been happening here in this city I love. But I woke early this morning, woke early and here I am, at the kitchen table, next to that window that opens out onto the street ... ready to write.
Already the neighbours are hanging their laundry on lines strung across the street here. There is a pink duvet cover and a blue fitted sheet hanging between the ancient city gate, called Porta Soprana, and I.
People are heading out to work, August and holiday already being anticipated in their casualness. 7.30am and there's a warm breeze, blue skies and 20 celsius or more.
These last few days here have been full ... even those times marked down as 'free'. But 'free' ... what do I mean by that? I guess they've been marked down as nowhere we have to be however the places we've ended up and the moments we've had have been so good.
Over years I've come to know some special people here in Genova and these last few days have been full of visiting with them although, as is always the case, I'm meeting new people too. Last night we went to aperitivo with Alessandra, catching up with Federico, who introduced us to Paolo ... who gifted us a copy of his new cd.
Later, down in Piazza delle Erbe, we had dinner with Paula and her Paolo, not pausing in our conversations until 11pm ... when we were surprised to realise the time.
And don't imagine that these are conversations or meetings where we talk lightly. The weather and small stories might weave their way through our conversations but mostly there is this divine intensity with people.
And there is always laughter.
Two city apartments have been involved in this visit. We were testing a new Air BnB space, with our future clients in mind, before returning to my much-loved space here in Via Ravecca. Paola's place.
Our dates for the Air BnB were 9-13 July but it appears that there was a brainfade and yes ... we included the night of 13 July as a night spent at the first place.
Our Air BnB host smsed us at 10.30pm on 13 July, apologising for missing our leaving, hoping our stay was a good one. We were out at dinner with friends, up on the side of those hills that surround the city. Reading their message, I felt quite some alarm and shared its contents with Helen, business partner and extraordinarily wise woman.
She was startled too.
A few sms messages later and we decided we would move ... right there and then, in the middle of the night. We had a huge working day planned for the following day and so it would be fine ... an Adventure in fact.
This all unfolded while we were dinner guests up at Donatella and Luciano's place and the evening had been one of those magical ones. There's always a bit of magic with those two. Their friend Eleonora offered to drive us back down into the city and we accepted, with much gratitude and some laughter.
Midnight found Helen and I packing, stripping beds and etc before moving apartments. Two loads, two giggling hikes through the city ... 1.30am, 24 celsius, we arrived at Ravecca.
Yesterday, despite best intentions and big work day planned, the day was a slow one because ... well you know, we had fallen into bed some time after 2am.
Yesterday I also caught up with our BnB hosts and they apologised for not making it clear that they were relaxed about our mistake that we didn't need to move at that time of night. They were lovely actually and their BnB is the best I have stayed in yet. Photographs to follow.
I think one of the things I love best about Genova is surely her people. They have shown us so much kindness already and we haven't even been here a week.
Iit's always intense for me here but I suspect that's how I prefer to live life. Planned meetings with people merge into unplanned meetings with other people. Invitations and adventures arrive. There is much joy.
And how do I write of it all? Of Lorenzo introducing us to the loveliest people at his cafe yesterday. Or Paolo, the singer, gifting us a copy of his cd. Of Donatella and Luciano preparing a most marvelous gluten-free, vegetarian meal ... Actually, we discovered they know Lorenzo too. The Lorenzo who came and stayed with us in Antwerp.
There was a lovely long lunch with Stefano and Miriam, and meeting their beautiful friend from Haiwaii. Dinner at Stefano's restaurant, and a long conversation with a woman I have come to know via a series of accidental meetings over years. I photographed Paola more than a few years ago. But that ... that story is so long and delightful that I can't tackle it here. Not yet. I want to tell it true and it's complicated.
Today we're off and wandering again. The weekend is full of another kind of adventure and there is so much to write about ... and already my tummy is saying, But Di, what about breakfast?
I've been here an hour ... mostly sitting staring out the window that looks out over the small alleyway, or caruggi, drifting in and out of these stories I want to tell here ... overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of what has already been.
It's good to be back in Genova. Really really good.
Below ... Donatella cooked us zucchini flowers, as well as so many other dishes (but my flash batteries ran out just as I began. Living out of suitcase can lead to chaos with me). Anyway, it was my first time eating zucchini flowers. They were divine.