I love the way this city goes from post-modern to ancient, and everything in-between, so easily.
I'll be adding new dates for further photography workshops in Genoa, Italy, and putting together some weekend workshops here in Belgium.
More news to follow soon. Meanwhile, check out beautiful Genoa.
It's been up and down and all over the place ... but then again, that's the reality of my wandering life.
I love wandering. It's been a passion since forever. I must confess though, it's not all easy and fun. And just like the good days, the bad days are kind of extreme.
Saturday was sublime. Sunday was spent out at Arenzano with the lovely Francesca, her children and Ashley, a New Zealander. The sea had real waves, just like New Zealand, and the company was grand. I'm hoping I convinced Ashley to come stay with us in Belgium at some point in the near future.
It was a delicious day that ended well. Monday, I woke from nightmares and my mouth was sore. I decided to walk them off. I called in to buy salt from Francesca at Le Gramole, as I passed by on my regular walking route, and she was like this lovely ray of sunshine in my day. Much-needed, although she gifted me the salt which was very kind ... on top of the whole making me smile thing.
The first walk done, I returned and realised my usb modem, purchased 3 months ago, was about to run out of hours. Life without the internet ... incomprehensible.
I raced out again, all the way down the hill towards the harbour, weaving through the caruggi like an expert ... so proud until I realised I was in the wrong place. Eventually I arrived at the right TIM shop and voila, they were closed on Monday mornings.
Back to the house, a quick shower due to the humidity here and the fact it's warmer than I'm used to at this time of year here in Europe. I was meeting Francesca G for lunch and we wandered some more. It's always lovely to spend time with Francesca. She is my translator in this world but more than that, I consider her the loveliest friend.
Enroute in search of metal detectors for sons and lupini, we called by at TIM and I picked up a short term recharge on my usb modem for 9 euro. I love TIM and their service.
Well, I arrived home about 6.30pm and realised my usb modem just wouldn't work in any way that was satisfactory. I looked at the clock, wondered how late they were open and set off, at a brisk pace. They were open and I can't say enough good things about the TIM assistant who worked for an hour, getting my usb modem up and running.
Dinner was cereal and yogurt because I'm terrible here. And I worked late into the night.
Today ... the weather. You probably cannot imagine how glorious a day can be here in Genova, Italy in the middle of winter. I think it was about 17 celsius at one point, deep blue skies and sunshine forever.
I could prove this, had I packed the card reader I need to transfer my photographs to my computer ... even if I had packed a spare usb cable but no. All images remain safely here on my camera.
You see, I don't have my everyday laptop with me. I decided that the life of a sherpa was not for me, and I packed light. I am regretting it but my body appreciated it on the long haul here. The everyday laptop has everything I need on it. This little travel laptop has very little ...
I spent a lovely few hours catching up with Karla, a friend and artist who lives here in the city.
Dinner tonight is pizza from the exquisite Pizzeria Ravecca. The same as the one pictured in this post. I'm kind of stuck on this one.
Things are going well ... well, except for the train strike scheduled for Friday. That would be the day that I need to get from Genova to Milano for my 7pm flight. It's 2 hours on the train from Genova, then another 50 minutes on a second train to the airport. We shall see how that goes.
So ... a short round-up of news here in Genova. I have some truly delicious news in the days ahead but let me get it all set up before I write of it here.
Ciao from Genova!
I woke before 7am, to the quiet that is this small street on a Sunday. The shops and cafes take a day of rest and almost no one was stirring ... or so few that I could sleep again, in the time that passed between suitcase wheels running over the huge stones of the street.
I woke to grey clouds but it's not cold. This I discovered on venturing out in search of my Sunday focaccia.
The sound of the fountain in Piazza de Ferrari filled the air, owning the entire piazza in a way I had never noticed before. It was a powerful presence, in the Sunday-morning-quiet of the old city.
Walking, I discovered that the artists of via San Lorenzo were already out and unpacking their paintings. Amedeo came over to greet me, and I walked back up to his car with him, to help with his work. He bought me an espresso. We exchanged slightly ashamed confessions regarding our failure to learn each others' language since our last meeting.
(I need an Italian teacher based in Antwerpen ... does anyone know of someone?)
I stayed a while before continuing on my search for focaccia, came back to share but he had already eaten and so I strolled home, via Piazza de Ferrari again, unable to resist visiting the fountain.
And as I strolled, I realised that even this early on a Sunday morning, there are good people out on the streets, people to talk with, and that there is so much beauty that it fills me with a peaceful joy that I don't take forgranted.
Buongiorno, from La Superba ... otherwise known as Genova.
I am back in Genova and it is so unbelievably good to be here again.
I was drowning in the winter grey of Belgium, missing my great big Genovese walks round the city, missing the exquisite espresso that Simona and Marta make, the focaccia from Panificio Patrone in via Ravecca, and missing the pleasure of finding just the right food, in amongst all that is delicious at Francesca and Norma's shop.
11am, and I have walked around the old city, bought my pale pink flowers, eaten focaccia, had espresso. I have talked with people. This place feels like the closest to home I have ever been while wandering outside of New Zealand these last 9 years.
The sky is a deep deep blue, the air is mild - unlike the freezing cold in Milano as I arrived yesterday. People are out on the streets and, as always, they are talking to each other and greeting strangers. Did I tell you how much I love this city?
I felt so very strong, walking the hills in a way that delights me, as it's my first time on hills since I was here last, back in November.
I'm here to put together a range of accommodation options for the photography workshop in April. I have my favourite hotel but I need to cover all budgets. I think it will be easy but I want to be sure of what I am recommending. And I need just a few more specific photographs for the book.
No photos today though ... my hands were full of focaccia and flowers. And my soul was singing too loudly to concentrate on pulling my camera out of my bag to use it.
And yes, I am a wee bit much this morning but oh, it is good to here.
There is something truly delicious about lying in bed here in Genova, listening as the street comes alive … the first footsteps, the quiet voices, followed by louder voices as people roll up the doors of their work place, and the clank of the coffee cups on saucers begins soon after.
I doze a while longer then wake again, this time to the laughter of men on the street below. I imagine them stopping for an espresso at the cafe as they head off to work … friends who meet everyday, on their way, and I envy them their routine for a moment.
There’s music but I nap just a little more … until it becomes impossible to ignore my craving for focaccia. I pull on clothes and step out, almost into a neighbour. She laughs and apologises in Italiano. I reply in French for some early-morning-not-quite-awake reason.
I don’t speak French.
The bonjour feels strange in my mouth and I only recover when I find her holding the street door open for me and I say ‘Grazie’ and smile ... located in place and time.
I have some days without shape or form ahead of me, days where I can organise the creative chaos of my life. I have been waiting so long to reach this place of peace and isolation in the midst of the everyday noise of the ancient city.
For me, wandering is rarely about sights seen. When I was in Cairo I only saw pyramids as my plane climbed up through the pollution and left the city however I met some truly interesting people. And so it is that my idea of travel is more about people and the feeling of place. Barcelona was the first city in recent years that forced me to be the tourist, perched on the outer shell of the city, excluded from everyday life by virtue of being foreign and without people who knew me.
Here, back in Genova, I’m always a little off-balance and shyness hunts me down easily but it is good to be back in La Superba and writing again.