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. 

Back in Genova

I woke to the alarm at 5.45am.  We were out the door by 6.40am.  The airport bus, the flight (1 hour 20 minutes), then another airport bus in Milan, and the train through the hills to Genova.  It's been a day but I love traveling.

I was lucky.  There was no rain as I walked along Via XX Settembre from Brignole Station.  I arrived, turned on the gas and heating, changed into more appropriate clothes and then was out again. Hunter-gathering.

It's good to be back in Genova. I love this city, so very much.

My USB modem is loaded to go for a month.  I have red wine, sparkling water, and not too much else at the moment.  I was counting on my favourite pizzeria being open tonight but it's almost 6.30pm and there's nothing happening there yet. 

It's pouring down here but that doesn't matter.  I've always loved rain.  When I lived in Istanbul people would call out compliments to me when it rained.  I sparkle in the rain but it's not surprising, given that I grew up in Dunedin and loved living in Fiordland later.  Rain is that thing that happens in those places.  Excessively at times.

So I have arrived.   Now, to start on the work that I came here to do.

GENOVA!

I flew over to Genova last Friday and immediately, upon arriving ... stories began to unfold.

It was a madly-busy, exquisitely-joyfilled 5-days.  And I couldn't reach the back-end of my website for some reason but honestly, I had no spare time. 

I stayed with the kindest friends out at Arenzano.  And I met their friend, the talented artist Giorgio Bormida.  Actually, I wanted to cook dinner for Francesca and Beppe before I left, and ended up cooking for Giorgio too.  It was only as I began dinner prep that I thought ... 'What have I done??!  Cooking isn't really my best thing'.  But they were all very kind.

I caught up with some of my favourite people there in the city but completely missed out on catching up with others.  It was lovely to catch up with Stefano, the owner/operator of Righicam, over lunch.  And with Francesca and Norma, from Le Gramole.

And then there was that 24 hours spent working with Diana, staying at B&B Baur with her and Micha.  It was sublime ... photographs and words to follow in the days to come.  I heard my first cuckoo as I sat by the open window in the morning.  And the views  ...

The kindness of Genovese strangers stunned me and ... well, it made me smile.  A lot really.  I met a lovely guy at a concert in Palazzo Ducale, who kindly explained all that was happening, to Outi and I.  But Outi and I is another whole story.

Meanwhile, here I am, just in from an 11-hour day of traveling.  It was a day that involved a train, a taxi, a plane from Genova to Rome, a bus to and from the plane, another plane to Brussels, then a bus and a tram home.

I shall return with photographs downloaded, with a mind rested and ready to tell you some stories.

The Ligurian Sea, Genova

The Ligurian Sea is a part of the Mediterranean Sea positioned between the northwestern coast of Italy, the southeastern coast of France, and to the north of the islands of Corsica and Elba.

The western boundaries of the sea are an estimate at best, as mapping accuracy depends on where the sea actually ends, and there are many opinions for same.

The distance from Pisa to Nice is 251 km (156 mi), and from Genoa to Elba is 207 km (129 mi). The max depth is estimated at more than 2,850 m (9,300 ft.).

Called “Mar Ligure” in Italian and “Mer Ligurienne” in French, Genoa and Livorno are its chief ports and the sea is well served by regional ferries.
Sourced, The World Atlas website.