Reflections ... from that city I love

This stay in the city has involved quite some rain.  Just as New Zealand seems to be waiting for summer to actually arrive, Genova is waiting for the rain to stop falling. 

I flew in after some serious flooding had happened here in the city but the rain hadn't quite stopped  ... and so it was that I discovered the only boots that I brought with me had holes in them. 

But who does that!  One pair of shoes in Italy?!  I can hear my cousin, Julie's, disbelief from here  :-)

However having to replace those boots on my last full day here in the city ... that is going to make it all okay.  And no one will see that my feet have become webbed, like a duck's. 

There is nothing like owning a good pair of boots made here in Italy.

The very serious shoe-shop owner actually laughed when my lovely friend, Barbara, asked him if he might keep the plastic bags I was wearing over my socks, inside my boots (as a basic water-proofing measure) a secret ... as I was attempting to appear elegant while here in Italy.

Mmmhmmm, but then again, if all was simple in my life perhaps it would bore me.

The day ended with more laughter, as Alessandra, Barbara and I discussed 'but which wine?!' while accidentally blocking the wine aisle in COOP.   Oh yes, that was us.

And so, proof from this exquisite but watery city I have spent these last two weeks wandering ... another reflection.  I do love finding them here.

Long Ago And Far-Away...

Long ago and far-away I fell in love with a reflected world.  I was a child traveling State Highway 1, heading south on the flood-free, passing Henley.  Destination Invercargill and Nana's house.

There were swamp-lands next to the highway and a creek that offered the most stunningly clear reflections I've ever seen.

I used to imagine another world, an upside-down world, there in the creek as we passed by in those days when I was a kid in the back seat, dreaming my kid-dreams.

Genova has made me fall in love with reflections all over again.  I love when there is just enough rain to make puddles here on the cobblestones.

Today there was just enough rain to give me a glimpse of that other world. 

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp

Here's another view of Antwerp's city cathedral - Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal.

I discovered it reflected in a puddle out on Groenplaats one day.  And loved it.  And quite possibly looked insane as I stalked the puddle edges, searching for the best angle to capture the reflection at ... but I was compelled to.

Renzo Piano's Biosphere, Genova

But growing up by the sea, you get an idea of the infinite surface of the world, and you grow up with a number of desires. One is to run away. And I did. The other one is for light. Light is probably the most untouchable, immaterial material of architecture. I have another obsession: fighting gravity. In the sea, everything floats.

Renzo Piano, Architect.

But really, you probably should be encouraged to read more on this rather remarkable man from Genova.

njoying art is a personal matter. It's made up by contemplation, silence, abstraction.
Read more at if he imagined that someone might love his Biosphere, there in Porto Antico, simply because she loves the way it reflects Genova 

Standing Still ...

I've been standing still since Paris, 13 October 2013.  It feels very odd.  A little like sleeping, or perhaps napping.

As a result the house is looking pretty.  My bedroom/office space has been refined.  I like it.  And Gert's building me a 2m wide corkboard ... so that I can hang the photographs I'm using for the book.  Apparently he was inspired to create the corkboard when he arrived home and discovered my lines of nylon thread, filled with many pegged A4 colour images.

We negotiate this office space that we share here in our big old L-shaped Belgian bedroom.  He is a very organised man.  I am a chaotic-while-preferring-to-be-organised woman.  I have my little nest of books and papers, photographs and paintings, memories and all kinds of other things too, tucked away behind a small shelf-wall.  I'm in the corner, next to a window, where the predominant colours are deep red and terracotta. 

It's winter here.  I am in need of colour.

On Preferring Genova ...

A shameful admission ... perhaps, but I didn't fall in love with Verona. I don't know what I expected.  I may have accidentally watched Letters To Juliet once and you might say, that serves you right, Di

It was a very pretty movie set in an Italian summer.  Meanwhile I was there in September on an overcast day and I couldn't help noticing how much they had tidied things up for the movie.  And I think I was disappointed.

I really like Genova.  I like the extremes of Genova.  And it doesn't pretend to be anything it's not.  The gritty is there, right next to the pretty, in that northern Italian city located on the edge of the Ligurian Sea.

Trieste didn't seem to be pretending, not at all, during the few hours spent there.  And the local restaurant we found served food that I'm still dreaming about.  I love Rome but not like Genova.  Rome is simply something else.  Magnificent.

Acqui Terme has fabulous food and wine.  And the people were lovely but still, I preferred Genova.

Venice ... rainy, overcast, crowded.  I don't know, it didn't capture me but perhaps I need to go back there in summer, or spring.  On a sunny day anyway.  And Cinque Terre ... I'm still muttering about the crowds I found there.

Naples, that was something something else!  It was like nowhere I've ever been before.  Not like Istanbul, nor Cairo.  Not Singapore.  Naples was just its ownself.  I loved it but I imagine it's obvious by now ... not like I love Genova.

I write all of this in a bemused state of mind.  I need to pop in and visit Florence one day, and maybe drive through this Tuscan countryside everyone raves about.  Even if it only confirms what I suspect ... that Genova has everything, and more, of what I prefer.

Maybe Italy is like a pick-a-path story.  Maybe you simply find what you love best there and stay loyal to it.  I don't know but that's how it is for me.

An Afternoon at the Antwerp Zoo

In my photography, there are themes that recur, images that I don't realise I'm chasing ...

Reflections would fall into that category.

Today was a sunny autumn day here in Antwerp.  Miss 9 and I wandered off to the zoo.  School holidays.   And I had to smile as we worked on a miniature photography workshop while exploring the zoo together. 

Her joy, as she worked out shutter speed and focus, was lovely.  She really got it. 

Anyway, she was given a zoo map when she paid for her ticket.  Oh my, there were some conversations where I suggested her map-reading skills were dodgy.  She laughed and, of course, we ended up at that funky slide over in the playground ... 

Not so dodgy it seems, perhaps we were simply on different missions.

Eventually I was able to arrive at the giraffe enclosure.  It's one of my favourite places there in the zoo but what I had forgotten was that there is a water course that runs round the edge of their space.  I don't know what it is about the water but it reflects exquisitely.

The image that follows ... Antwerp's blue sky reflected with the stripes and paint on the giraffe house.  Miss 9 and I could have stayed there all afternoon but for the fact we were cold and getting hungry.

Dank u wel for a lovely day, little Miss 9.

From Piedmont ...

The Beautiful Truth workshop in Piedmont was intense ... I'm only beginning to unpack everything that happened and to go through the images we all took there.

Intense in that way it is when like-minded women gather together.  As always, I met some truly superb people who made me laugh so hard sometimes ... other times, well I'll post a photograph of Sara, Sandy and Julie trying on shoes at the Market in Acqui Terme - cameras dangling over their shoulders.

But no, that made me smile too.  They were delicious and we're all still in touch.  In fact, Julie and Sara arrive at my place tomorrow, flying in from a quick trip to Portugal . 

In the image that follows ... Sara made us pause while she captured herself, Diana, and I in reflection while taking aperitivo in Acqui Terme.

Early Morning, Rome

My cousin and I were up early one morning in Rome.  And we wandered, cameras in hand, in love with the light. 

And we crossed the River Tiber and I caught this reflection ... this blur, and looking at it today it seems like a beautiful abstract painting.  The kind I would so love to paint.  I am hungry for colour in these days.  The winter was long.