A Small Roadtrip, in the Italian Riveria

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Joey the Wondercar, Leah's valiant little Cinquecento, (Fiat 500) took us on a delicious road-trip yesterday.  We wandered, really meandered, from Genova to Portofino and back again, with many stops along the way ... lunch, coffee, aperitivo.  

That would be Leah, the Canadian blogger writing over at, Help I Live With My Italian Mother In Law.

The one who laughingly told me, that my camera gear was the only thing that saved me from a soaking yesterday.

This water came that close, as seen below ...

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The Ligurian coastline is completely underrated, almost a secret, but I kind of like the peace of that.

And as you can see, if you know New Zealand ... it reminds me of home.

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Everything was beautiful out there.  Divine even, without exaggeration. 

There was this confused feral cat, who stretched and smooched nearby but hissed if we reached out to stroke her.  She was a beautiful creature.

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And we met up with Leah's little dog soul-mate, and I whispered to him as I clicked the shutter.

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And then?

Well, we found these hammocks, up in the olive grove, above Leah's house.  

I have wanted a hammock my whole entire life.  I had spent a few hours in one as a child and loved it.  I thought I had died and gone heaven yesterday, up there on the top of the hill at Portofino, in the hammock hanging between two olive trees, as the sun started its slide into sunset.

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And on the way home, walking back through the city, people called out and greeted me.  And that's gold when you live in a country not your own.  

It was a good day ... 

Grazie mille, Leah. 

Another Sunday Morning, in Genova, Italy

I woke slowly this morning, enjoying the sensation of being in a bed fitted with beautifully heavy white sheets that had belonged to a friend's grandmother, and thinking about how it is to wake up here in Genova.  The city I have loved for so long now.

On this quiet Sunday morning it felt a little like Christmas morning ...

I had my window open to the world outside and the church bells began ringing in the Sunday morning silence.  I wanted to sleep again but I couldn't.   I have too much I want to write ... of these past days and nights, and of my photography workshops for 2017.  I know i can share this city and my photography in ways I have never been able to offer them before.  They are my passions ... 

I was out last night (Thursday and Friday night too) but last night, listening to a band called Nickel & Dime at  the agriturismo called E Reixe.  E Reixe (Genovese for Roots) where we were served the most delicious food before the dining room became the concert venue.   

I was out until 1 am, like the previous two nights ... different friends, different music. 

The people I've met these last few days ...it's been remarkable.  But last night, the most striking thing was the love I saw there in the room. The band members are all friends, and they were having a really good time, as were those who joined the band and played or sang for a song or two.  And then there was the love between husbands and wives ... it shone, even managing to warm those like me, out there on the edge of it all.

Perhaps it's because I'm a photographer who loves to write, or perhaps it's simply my way of being but I enjoy quietly studying the people I meet.  It's like exploring a new country, although just as a tourist.  I only get to see what is there on the outside but last night seemed special, as people let this curious New Zealander question them, and tell her stories too.  

Those stories that feel like they get more surreal as the curve of my life expands and is lived in different countries ... as I live different lives.  

I have fallen into bad ways.  I've been using my phone camera to take photographs, enjoying the freedom and lightness of it but it's just not good enough. I just went through the photographs I've taken these last few nights but low light remains a problem.  It turns out ... phone cameras aren't magic wands and one must still observe the rules of photography and light.  Mmmhmm but it was a great night, with music that made me smile so hard, and good people.  I wandered off to youtube and found Nickel and Dime playing in another bar that I love - da Ostaia da U-Neo, over in Sestri Ponente.  I was there Thursday night.

But it's Sunday.  Let's see how it unfolds.  

10.15am, and the church bells are ringing again, louder ... and my bed is calling me back.  Just for a little bit.

Buongiorno!

The New Phone ...

I've finally done it.  I finally gave up on the phone I left Belgium with and, when replacing its little dead body, I inquired about phones with decent cameras ... not including iPhones.

And I think I've done well.  I'm entirely in love with this new machine so very necessary to my life, as people need to be able to contact me and that wasn't a given for a more than a year. But more than that, I have this lovely little machine that lets me take decent snapshots as I wander.

The series of photographs that begin this post ... Piazza De Ferrari's fountain lit up for the evening.  Then, Palazzo Ducale in yesterday's 7.30am sunrise light.  And the last, taken this morning around the same time, looking forward along Piazza Garibaldi. 

I love my morning walk and I'm rapt to be able to share a little of this city I love so well.

I share these photographs on Facebook.  Sometimes on my page, other times on my Genova page - Love Notes to Genoa.  

I had to smile ... the most feedback came for the leather shop photograph below.  People wanted to know the shop's location, and the price of the bags.  

They're exquisite, aren't they.

The church in the second set is surely my favourite church exterior here in the city.  I love seeing it in the morning ... the beautiful wash of colour, lit up by the sun, and so many of my favourite colours.

And last but not least, my current favourite cafe for aperitivo.  Il Fileo's is committed to both quality and quantity.  All that you see cost me, in total, the lovely wine included ... 8 euro.  It works as dinner :-)

Life goes on here.  I'm fighting a little anemia because I'm not mad-keen on the cure however the elevator in my building is under repair and I am hating the 8 flights of marble stairs.  'Porca miseria!' is about all I can say on reaching my door.  I will take the medicine ... as I love the home I have found here. 

Another of the things I really enjoy about Genova, is its vibrant music scene.  I've been fortunate and heard more than a few bands lately.  But that's probably a whole other post.

In other news, I'm just about ready to launch a series of behind-the-scenes photography workshops, now that I actually live here.  I'm really excited about them and know I'm offering a quality experience.  I will share as soon as it's up.

Just a small catch-up, with photographs.  I'm good and life is mostly beautiful.

Raffaele Kohler ...!!!

Yesterday ... M.U.R.A was happening, here in the centro storico, in Genova.

It was fantastic!  I kid you not.  They promised 2 days, 16 hours, 30 locations and 40 events.  

I don't know if they kept their promises but I can only presume they did because ... the quality of the artists performing was so high that there was no way to see and hear everyone.  I wanted to linger and listen everywhere I went.

I heard Raffaele Kohler, play trumpet at a concert a few years ago, here in Genova.  I never forgot being completely stunned by his performance then and had looked for his CD.  I didn't find one.  I have one this time.  Grazie mille.

And the delicious thing is that he's not just musician but he's an entertainer too.  He's hilarious, if the audience response to his stories was anything to go by.  Then there were scenes like the one above ...

It felt like he gave us his all during the two hours of free concert out in Piazza Lavagna...

But wait, he was part of a trio and honestly, the other two were truly superb musicians too ... it's only that I wanted, so much, to hear him perform again that I am so focused on the delight I felt in catching his performance.

Ottavo Richter gifted us two hours of beautiful music, laughter and joy really.  

Grazie mille to M.U.R.A for organising this beautiful 16 hours, and for finding so many talented artists.  It was a magical night, one where I wandered alone until midnight.  

And, finally, I got to hear  Raffaele Kohler play again.

A Little Bit of La Dolce Vita, in Genova, Italy

I am learning that there's not much sweeter than spending time with good people in the quiet of the late evening ... talking while drinking a lovely red wine and sharing delicious food.

I'm learning the delights of Genova, that city small enough to bump into old friends, and new, most days I go out.

I already knew that I loved when someone chats to me on a bus.  There we were, two strangers ... her with her electronic Italian to English dictionary.  Me with my book.  We chatted, in English but with her introducing me to some new words.  We parted in the city but I think we will meet up again.  She extended a very kind invitation.

And so, of course, I attempted to describe my yesterday over on Facebook:  'I love Genova :-) I was heading for my favourite cafe when a woman called out to me. I couldn't remember who she was but she knew me ... It turned out that we'd never met, we have mutual friends on Facebook and she recognised me. But there was more than that, she was with another woman I had quietly wanted to meet for years ... and they invited me to join them, there at the cafe, with their lovely friend from the States. It was really really lovely and ... it turns out we're all friends with Silvia :-)

Temple replied in my comments section, with her take on our meeting: I was the woman who called out: saw a lanky blue-eyed blonde whose face I recognized from here sloping across a famous piazza and just said, You're Di Mackey aren't you? She was a bit startled to say the least, but it was indeed her and the rest is as recounted. Plus we 3 Yanks gave her a lesson in US political science she isn't likely to forget for a long time. Namaste, Di, great meeting you!

It was a truly good day because I met them, and because before meeting them, that woman traveling on the same bus into the city, had started chatting with me. 

And then I got to spend a couple of hours with Mau, cameras in hand I went city-wandering with that globe-trotting friend, last seen in 2014.  A big blister on the sole of my foot limited us some ... but the gelato, it helped in the 36 celsius heat.

Silvia invited me out to dinner last night.  She wanted to introduce me to the restaurant called Maniman.  It was divine and, as is always the case when I spend time with SIlvia, there was much laughter but balanced with more than a few serious moments.  She's a wise woman.

And then we ended up down in the city, living the paragraph that opens this post.  We started with an espresso but with a delicious red wine and good food soon followed.  Il Genovese remains my favourite restaurant here in the city.  It's a place you must eat when you come here. 

And then, as if all that wasn't enough ... I got a ride home on the back of motorbike because it was 2am by the time we had done with stories I'm still laughing over when I recall them.  I can't recount them here. but I laugh every time that I think of them. 

And I feel extremely fortunate to have had all of that in one day, and so very sad about the earthquake that happened, here in Italy yesterday.  We were far from it and I knew nothing until my sister emailed me, wondering if I was okay.

It's heartbreaking to realise how many have been lost in those small villages.  I think we just need to enjoy every single day, and as many moments as is possible because we just never know.  We never do.

Buongiorno from Genova, Italy, where I find photographs like this one, out there in the caruggi.