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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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November 04, 2015

Monday - first day in Genoa

Okay - as reported in Saturday's post, Sunday was nothing to report - packing and travel for both Heather and myself while Chris stayed in Barcelona for the rest of Sunday and all of Monday, flying home on Tuesday.  Poor guy had rain all day Sunday apparently but soldiered on and then he had a flight delay on his connection in Rome.  But all ended well and he checked in early late last night (Tuesday) to say he was home and going to bed).

Rosanna is just a delightful lady - full of enthusiasm, very easy to have conversations with, knows everything there is to know about Genoa, has a beautiful home - just a delight and I'm so happy to got to meet and get to know her better.  Sunday night after my kind of harrowing day and evening (buses, planes, trains, etc. and nothing going quite as it should), she took me to her home where a pot of delicious pumpkins soup was waiting with toasted croutons, bread with all sorts of honeys and jams, a glass of a Genovese (is that right, Rosanna or is it Genoese?) sparking white wine which was very good and then a nice hot cup of tea.  Just what I was needing and I slept like a little lamb that night.

Monday she had the day off and we went to so many different places on Genoa's coast that I couldn't keep track of where we were.  I remember we were in Portofino and Santa Margarita and another one that I can't remember the name of - may have started with a P, but of course, being on the water and with the hills rising up behind them, it was all beautiful.  We did a boat trip that went past numerous villages and ended up (I think) at the end of the route at a place where we could walk to Portofino (through Santa Margarita?) and it's all just lovely.  A fair amount of up and down and Rosanna is in way better shape than I am (about 20-some years younger too) and it must have been hard for her to hold back for my sake.  Anyway, we also stopped here and there to sample some of the local foods - a really interesting pastry type thing where they roll the dough out in very thin sheets (like puff pastry) that are big enough for really large cookie pans.  They lay one down and put blobs of some kind of cheese on it and then lay another one over that (oh, and they've oiled the sheet with olive oil).  Then they bake it and then you roll it up and eat it.  So simple (except for all the technique involved) and yet so delicious.

I'll quit talking for a while and post some pictures.  I wish I could remember more about what and where they are but I couldn't visit with Rosanna, look at the views, take pictures and take notes! :)

 I included this because as we waited for our train, Rosanna told me about how during WWII these train tunnels were used as bomb shelters.
She pointed out this building as a good example of the frequent use of troupe l'oiel(?) - the green shutters are real, all the trim around the windows is painted.

And this I absolutely loved!  Rosanna explained that being a poor city (in more recent times - centuries ago, they were one of Europe's richest cities), this was a common way to decorate pavements or make a special commemorative-type "mosaic".  These are rocks from the beach (which are rock beaches - black, grey, white, black with white stripes, etc.).  They're very smooth of course and she said that they are pushed into a wet sand base - no concrete is used - and they stay there.  And I have to say, they certainly looked and felt like nothing was going to move them.  I saw these in numerous places - some just designs some a bit more dramatic, like this one.  Really appealing I think.
Again, Rosanna explained that up until 30 years or so ago, the waters along the coastline had become polluted and very "muddy".  The government made this entire coastline into a national park, with very strong restrictions on boating in the area.  There are lanes marked out with buoys and, for instance, our tour boat took a path that allowed 3 approaches to the beach - one from where we left, one that I'm not real sure why they stop, and the last one to drop us off.  The rest of the time he was the prescribed distance from the coast.  And folks who live there and have boats have to use a rowboat or dinghy to get to the main boat because they, too, are not allowed within a certain distance of the coast.  And now the waters are beautiful - a lovely blue-green color and clear, clear, clear.
I think this is the one that Rosanna said was a family church!  There was another family in the area who had their own church and so this family felt the need to make one for themselves that was bigger and better than the other family's.  Are people strange or what?!
 I think this might be the area that Rosanna said came to be called the "wives' houses" because the wives of the men going out to sea lived in these and the men could pick out their house from the water because of the different colors.

 Another very rich family's palacio back in the day.
And two goats who could care less about money and had gorgeous sets of horns.
 Another one hiding.
 This is an old grape vine which I really liked.  Rosanna spotted one forgotten cluster of grapes that looked like it must have been hanging there for several years - really shriveled up.
 A pretty, simple church.  We agreed that this appealed to us much more than the grandiose, gilt-encrusted churches.  Those are fantastic to see because they're kind of unbelievable, but for a quiet spot for reflection, this fills the bill.
 It sure was a beautiful day for seeing such beautiful scenery.
This is a communal cauldron (with the fire heating it down below) where ashes and something else got boiled together and were used in washing clothes.  Rosanna said the white fabrics came out gleaming white.

I feel pretty certain that at least some of that is Portofino.  But don't hold me to it.

 Walking to where we would wait for our bus, we saw these purple flowers.  I tried to get really close but my macro didn't seem to work for me.  But the purple is little fuzzy bits sort of like small pussy willow thingies and then they sprout little white rods out of each purple thing.  They were delightful.  As were the flowers below which I think I've seen in the states.  They start out that solid pinkish red color and as they age, the get the yellow and orange-isn going and by the end, they're pretty much all yellow.  Very decorative.
 And that's about it.  I got to go to the grocery store with Rosanna because once again she prepared a delicious dinner and had to buy some fish.  This meal was cod that she cut into good-sized chunks and cooked in a broth of white wine, olive oil and I think water with garlic.  Then sprinkled chopped up parsley and pine nuts on it before serving.  She also served a pasta that I had never seen before with a delicious walnut cream sauce.  And, oh, yes, there was a bowl of potatoes also dressed with olive oil and parsley.  I certainly didn't go hungry while I was there!  She is a very energetic hostess and never seems to tire.

And now I have Tuesday's post left to do for Genoa and today (Wednesday) I did what I said I would so won't have lots of pictures to deal with for Wednesday's post, so I'm getting there.

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