Spring in Antwerpen

Spring is so very definitely happening.  The neighbour's Magnolia has been flowering for a few weeks but Friday was our second 20 celsius day.  I am daring to hope that that long grey winter is over.  It wasn't particularly tough except for the unrelenting greyness of the days.

My pharmacist told me that 80% of Belgians have a Vitamin D deficiency ...

I'm in Genova in a few weeks and truly looking forward to getting back to that exquisite city full of people I really enjoy spending time with.

Until then, it's all about continuing work on the website, about rewriting my photography workbook, and enjoying the sunshine when it appears.


On Saturday, I hopped on a train, heading for parts unknown to me ...

Stefano picked me up at Novi and then I arrived, on a small patch of paradise, in the Italian countryside.  Before any of my more cynical friends roll their eyes over my casual use of the word 'paradise', I will explain. 

In New Zealand, I was a creature who loved nature.  I didn't need wilderness, I just enjoyed the sky doing its thing, seeing healthy plants, walking my dogs in school fields, along beaches or river edges.  It was a recipe for dreaming.

And I have always loved the scent the nature, especially in Spring, when plants seem to celebrate their winter survival and fill the air with stunning scents.

In Piedmont, Italy, the air, without exaggeration, seemed to be constantly scented by some delicate flower.  Acacia I suspect but I don't know enough about the beautiful plant, I photographed, to be sure.  Does anyone know what the flowering 'tree' at the end of this post is?  Or what the gentle, jasmine-like scent might have been?

Update: Stefano let me know the name ... it is Robinia pseudoacacia or False Acacia.

I rested, in a way that I haven't rested in a long time.  I watched the clouds put on a small show and I photographed so many of the plants as I wandered the grounds.

But that aside, I met excellent people. On Saturday evening, friends of Stefano and Miriam gathered and the Genovese humour made me laugh.  It's a wicked humour but gently wicked.  And I tried a range of Genovese foods, out there in the Piedmont countryside ... Cima stood out as a new favourite.   I'll write of it another day but Miriam's mother made it and it was delicious.

And wine ... the wine I tasted, it came from the area and was unlike any I had tasted before but in a good way.

Yes, let me say quietly ... I had a most marvellous time.  Grazie mille, Stefano and Miriam.