I Am Missing That City, Its People ...

Coffee at Douce in Piazza Matteotti, Genova.

Or perhaps I am generally missing good coffee.  Even the highway autogrills do good coffee in Italy.

I am missing green beans, lightly cooked.  Tomatoes from Il Bio di Soziglia.  And adding the best riccotta from Le Gramole Olioteca to that mix.  Missing Francesca and Norma too.

Then I miss the possibility of eating Ravioli fatti in casa al “tuccu” di carne at Roberto's place, Il Genovese because Tuccu is the most divine sauce ever invented ... any place here on this earth.

I miss Stefano's restaurant because there are always stunning surprises in store when you eat and drink there. 

I miss the possibility of hearing Donatella singing and Luciano play there.  I am learning to miss Donatella's fried squash flowers too.  They were divine that night she took Helen and I home and cooked for us.  

I miss Barbara and Alessandra.  I most definitely miss Stefano.  I miss Lorenzo

I miss the 'ciao's' that I hear in the street.  I miss Pino & Silvana, and their divine pizzas.

I miss Boccadasse and my seat up on the hill, I miss Outi, Paula and Paola.  There is Davide, Federico, and Leah, and so many others. 

I'm thinking now  ... perhaps it all adds up to the fact that I'm simply missing Genova. And forgive me if your name isn't here because I'm sure to be missing you too  :-)


Below, a photograph of Luciano playing bass guitar (really, he is), taken at a performance he and Donatella gave recently.

On Allergies And Things

I woke at 6am, knowing I needed to finish my marketing assignment today.  It's bigger and more complex  than I expected but already I see the beauty and sense of what it is teaching me.

This course is all about authentically marketing your business.  It's not about bluff, bluster, or exaggeration.  It's about telling your story and telling it true.  But it's challenging.  It's demanding.  I like it.

If you were to watch the video of me writing this post, you might be tempted to send it viral.  I'm not sure but I think it might be amusing.  I woke at 6am, sneezing.  Nose running like a river in flood.  It's this thing that I do here in Genova sometimes. A small allergy I suspect but no, no anti-histamines thank you very much.

There is a mountain of paper kitchen towels next to me here.  I stop to sneeze 3 or 4  times every few minutes.   Then continue ... writing, finding the photograph.  Concentrating. Sneezing, blowing my nose.  Typing.  Laughing at myself as I became aware of the scene.

It looks like another blue sky day outside my window and Stefano's Righicam promises 12 celsius today. I will write and that's not to be sneezed at ...  because yesterday I was formally introduced to the Tramontana Scura.  The dark north wind.  It was cold and rained periodically.

This morning the sun has already turned the building down by Porta Soprana a pale gold.  My camera may come with me when I go out in search of that first espresso.  The light here, in this city of soft golds through into orange, is often divine but it's not simple to find.  You have to hunt for it. To allow for the fact that the narrow carrugio sometimes only see the midday sun. It is a city of mystery.  A maze of a city.


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.

More rain in Genova ...

Just after 3am, I woke to a noise that sounded remarkably like a big building collapsing.  The boom of it echoed through the caruggi, the narrow alleyways here.

I lay there, not really wanting to think about what it might have been.  Soon after, it happened again.  Thunder?  I got up to look and discovered yes, thunder, lightning and heavy rain.  I went back to bed hoping that the flash floods of last week had cleared streams and pathways so that this torrential rain might cause less problems ... then realised it may still be a case of a lot of water cascading down from the hills above the city, overflowing streams and streets ... and I hoped not. 

I lay there, listening, hoping that this was more about the sound and the fury of a storm and less about many mm’s of rain in a short period of time.

5am, I woke up to the crashing of thunder and wondered if it was the same storm or a new one. 
6.50am, I gave in and got up.  The storm continues and is incredibly noisy.  Perhaps it is trapped between the high hills of Genova and the sea.  It’s not going away.

I remembered Cinque Terre were concerned about this next lot of heavy rain, I don’t know if Genova needs to be too but it doesn’t seem like the best kind of weather for a city so recently hit by serious flooding.

Genova’s Righicam gives you a peek in at the weather and the weather forecast it links to tells me that there is a 100% chance of rain until 11am, easing to a 90% chance of light rain from about 5pm.

So, today one might be sure in the knowledge that it’s going to rain.  Reassuringly ... surprisingly, I can hear people in the alley below.  Hardy souls out with umbrellas on their way to work I guess. It’s still dark, except for those moments when lightning fills the sky.

Kate, an American who has been living in Cinque Terre for years, posted an email she initially began writing for friends and family ... after realising they seemed to have no idea of how bad things are here in Italy.  So many Americans have wandered through, and fallen in love, with Cinque Terre that she and other American bloggers living in the area were disappointed by the lack of coverage the devastation in their area is getting.  They’re encouraging donations to Red Cross

I have to admit to being worried if Cinque Terre is receiving the rain we’ve been having here in Genova these last few hours, and yet I don’t want to be alarmist.  This isn’t my country and it’s not my landscape.  Unlike the corners of New Zealand I lived in, I don’t know the area well enough to understand whether it can cope with the rainfall we’re having right now.  I guess it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing, hoping that those in authority here in the city get the warnings out this time and no more lives are lost because the 10-20% of Genova that is down low or situated in the flat places may be taking a hammering now.

I took this photograph down at the ruin of the ancient temple yesterday.

Hmmm, heavy rain, Genova

I was sitting here, minding my own business at 6.50am, when the sound of the rain registered.

It’s heavy rain out there.  I wandered on over to Stefano’s RighiCam and clicked on the 10 day weather forecast.  Seems we’re in for some rain here ... and some more rain too, actually.

People are hoping that those living in Cinque Terre will be okay during this series of deluges.  You can keep up with news in English from Cinque Terre via Kate Little at Little Paradiso who, in this particular post, lists others who are also writing of the flooding there last week.

Meanwhile, it’s good weather for writing a book, I’m thinking ...