Day 2 - Genoa, Italy

Today has been a mad crazy freefall into the narrow streets of this ancient city.  Into interviews, into the kindness and generosity of a friend, and of many strangers too.

Without Paola there wouldn't have been the magical introduction to her hometown. I might have found these places but over time and without my translator.

This morning was meant to begin with a slice of the best focaccia in the world, and it did, but that led to an interview and photographs at the bakery an hour later. Not only that but we were sent on our way laden down with some more of the best-ever focaccia in the world. Photos to follow when my internet issues are resolved.

We discovered a cafe called Cafe Boomerang where the cappucchino was so creamy and light it was immediately marked down as a favourite.

We wandered the alleyways visiting a soap and ecetera place, an exotic old shop full of mysterious things and ... ended up conducting an impromptu interview with the owner.

Shoeshops, bookshops and then there was the fresh pasta shop with the cafe through in the other half - better I photograph it than explain, as words fail me here. On to the chocolate factory where we have an interview booked for 2.30pm, and the shops ... did I mention how quaint they are, and I use 'quaint' because I'm not sure how else to describe the old world charm of something that is real and apparently unchanged over decades.

Then there is the habit of aperitivo here.
I'm learning that if you order a drink at a bar, a huge plate of food may appear with it. It might be that I enjoy more than one glass of wine but I'm becoming quite traumatised by the quantity of food that comes with each glass. The waiter understood my 'Dear God!' last night and we all laughed.

So we stopped for a non-alcoholic Shirley Temple drink before lunch and out came the plate of food ... the peanuts, the pistachio, the chips, the salami, the cheese and the focaccia.

We were only there because I was needing to rest my achilles some before lunch.

Lunch was at Da Maria's - an interview is booked for later this afternoon but it is known as being an authentic and affordable Italian kitchen-type restuarant. Paola chose wild boar while I caught up with an old love ... ravioli.

And somewhere in-between the breakfast focaccia and the lunch there was also the very special and wildly extragavent expresso with bananas and whipped cream. We went to the original shop and not one of the copycat shops that have appeared since.

Genova is a beautiful, warm and welcoming city.
It has raced to the top of my favourite places in the world list ... let's see how it goes in the days ahead.

I hope alles goed where ever you are.