On Friday, I was 12 hours out in the city ... and for 10 of those hours I was carrying my 6kg+-heavy bag of camera gear. And still, it was sublime.
I set out with Shannon, an American living here, and we wandered and talked. She knows this city, 2 years living here after some time spent in New Zealand. That's how she found me and my blog. She searched New Zealand and Genova.
We said goodbye only when it was time for me to meet my traveling companion off the train. It was a brisk walk through the city to Brignole train station. Home for 10 minutes, refreshed and I was off to a confectionery laboratory that has been in the hands of the same family since 1780.
A tour that astounded me was followed by an interview with the loveliest gentleman. Hours later, Anna, from Beautiful Liguria, and I walked back through the city and I had just a few minutes to change, to finally drop off that camera gear, before heading out to dinner.
What a dinner! If you find yourself in Genoa, you must try Ristorante Il Genovese because there is nothing about the experience that can cause regret. And if you do, and if you love meat and pasta, then the Ravioli fatti in casa al 'tuccu'di carne is the one that I fell entirely in love with.
The sauce is 5 hours in preparation and you can taste the time and the care taken. But everything, from the gnocchi di patate fatti in casa al pesto, the cima genovese ricetta antica con patate al forno, the brandacujun di stocca fissoe, and the latte dolice fritto, even the canestrelli ... all exquisite. And that was only what we actually ordered.
I know I read like I'm exaggerating but I was there with a Flemish Belgian, famous for being a people of few words perhaps. He loved it too. I think the secret lies in the attention the Panizza brothers pay to the details. Quality products and a love of food. It's an absolute must when you're here but remember to book.
And just as I thought the day might ending I received an email from an art gallery in NYC. They would like to represent my photography in their gallery.
So sleeping was a bit of an issue that night but I had to ... I was exhausted by the week I had just experienced. The rings under my eyes were black and maybe a container ship could park inside of them.
This is Genova for me. I go high, I go low ... but oh how I live when I am here.
One of the things I love about arriving in Genova, is catching up with the people I know. Last Tuesday I had plans meet up with Outi, an ex-photography workshop client who lives here in the city. Like me, she fell for with this place but unlike me, she managed to move here.
We met where everyone meets, on the steps of Palazzo Ducale, and immediately headed inside for coffee and much-conversation. We had months to catch up on before deciding we would set off for the port area as Outi had international provisions to buy - spices from Thailand and Africa and,being a port city, there are two supermarkets jam-packed with foods from all over the world.
Lunchtime rolled round and my idea was that lunch at Trattoria Ugo, where she hadn't yet eaten, might be a good idea. Oh ... it was a very good idea. They do things with anchovies that really need to be tasted rather than explained.
I worked through the afternoon, fighting a huge desire to nap, then met with Barbara for an aperitivo at the end of her working day. She took me into one of the old cafes here, down in the ancient part of the city, and we caught up on much over hot chocolate.
It was a talking/working kind of day. A good day spent with good people.
The photograph below ... a glimpse of one of my favourite carruggi here.
This morning began in Palazzo Ducale with Anna, Emanuela and coffee. And then, after long and interesting conversations, we went wandering and they introduced me to some of the treasures that hide here in Europe's largest surviving medieval quarter.
Every shop was a story of generations and of families. The passion for what they were doing, their willingness to allow photographs, and to answer questions, was divine.
It was 1.30pm before I remembered I hadn't actually eaten at all. Well nothing besides a small spoonful of the most marvelous whipped cream at Crema Buonafede Caffetteria. I'm being sent there for breakfast tomorrow. I have my instructions regarding my order.
I returned to the apartment, downloaded the photographs, the voice recorder too. Enjoyed some warm farinata from the shop across the alley and then it was time to go out again.
This was an interview I was absolutely looking forward to. Roberto Panizza is not only a remarkable businessman but he is a warmhearted soul who welcomed us in and sat down with us to talk for a while, despite his incredibly intense schedule.
There is the restaurant he runs with his brother, Il Genovese and this website too, should you want to order some truly excellent Italian Food. There is much much more but there's an interview. I'll share when it's done.
And now, here I am, munching on potato chips and drinking a little red wine. Exhausted but so deeply satisfied with all that I discovered and was introduced to in Genova today. This city ...
It was 15 celsius out there as I wandered just now. I usually settle down and work into the night and so there's a need for a good walk before starting.
And there are a million photo opportunities here in this ancient city called Genova. You only need to look, anywhere. The detail is incredible. Layers of history on single buildings. I think I could spend a lifetime here and still find something new everyday.
Anyway, it was reflections this afternoon.