Returning to Genova from Lerici on the train tonight, I felt ‘la dolce vita’ was the only way to describe my experiences these last few days ...
I arrived in Lerici, and stepped off the bus into the sunset you see at the end of the post and that was only the beginning. I had been invited to visit by Maddalena, a truly lovely woman I met online more than ten years ago ...back when we were both locals in a chatroom called Travel. We met so many good people there, there was Mary Lou, Diede, Marco in Rome ... and many many more. We were talking of them as we wandered in her Lerici these last 24 hours, realising just how lucky we had been to find a space like that in those days.
So, there was a train trip from Genova to Lerici late yesterday afternoon, to finally meet Maddalena and her lovely GP, having been invited to their weekend studio there in that beautiful town. We dropped my gear at her place and wandered down to a roadside ... bar (Maddalena will laugh when she reads that) but there was prosecco and it was good. I was introduced to Roberto, a delightful man who was just leaving as we arrived ... but more on him later. A little prosecco and then we were off to meet Elisabetta, her son Marco and his friend Davide ... the teenage boys were booked for an impromtu Saturday night English test. They were very good-natured about it and we enjoyed their English.
It was there that I was introduced to an interesting red wine, one that I must get the name of, and then we were off to dinner. This was a continuation of me tasting most of what the Ligurian Sea has to offer ... a journey begun with Stefano, Miriam and their friends during the week. The fish-filled ravioli was divine and my main fish-dish was also rather exquisite ...
I was fascinated to learn that Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley had lived close-by, and had anchored their sailing boat in Lerici.
I woke early and, having mentioned I might, I slipped out with my camera leaving the others asleep. It was 8am, the light was stunning ... although it has to be said that it never stopped being stunning while I was there. I was wandering along by the harbour, knowing no-one and heading to ‘the rocks’ when I met Roberto again. He remembered me.
Roberto is lovely. He took me by the arm and off we went. He’s in his 70’s and was really rather delighted over having to wait for my younger, rather unfit, self at the top of the stairs as we made our way up to the castle. He was still chuckling about that when we said goodbye to him tonight. It reminded me, yet again, that I live a rather sedentary life over in the flatlands of Belgium. I need to go into training, as he told me we’re going cycling next time I am there ...
Anyway, the story of our morning stroll takes on a whole new dimension when you realise that I don’t really speak Italian ... I just know a few words. And Roberto doesn’t speak English however ... we talked the whole way. We made our way up to the castle, then on over the back to look at the stunning seascape ... then down through the narrow back streets of Lerici to the piazza and into a cafe for coffee.
I just adored him, although I felt quite the idiot for not having more Italian. We were fortunate, we did find a very kind woman who translated for us for a while.
An entirely delicious day followed but it is too much to fit into one single blog post and so, more another time.
Grazie, Maddalena and GP. It was truly delightful!