Archive for April, 2018

Moving To Italy: Five Months In

Month Five has been The Month of People! I’ve had visitors almost back to back for the whole of March and it has been thoroughly lovely showing my friends from England my new home here in Genova. It gives me a sense of pride to introduce people to a life I created entirely for myself.

I arrived without any real idea of what would happen and now I wake up every day with a job to go to (that I really enjoy, might I add), the knowledge of where to buy the best focaccia/gelato/pesto, friends to meet for lunch or dinner, a favourite part of town where I like to go and sit by the sea whenever I get the opportunity, an Italian teacher to help me navigate through everyday life, enough money to survive… All the things that a life consists of, built up from nothing.

If you do nothing else in life, build something up from nothing and see how it makes you feel about yourself (ps. I’ll give you a clue – it makes you feel amazing).

So the activities my guests and I have indulged in have been along the following lines;

  • Rediscovering hot chocolate. An old friend from university, Sophie, is entirely to blame for this. I always have the kettle on, making cups of tea but Sophie doesn’t really drink hot drinks. When I kept suggesting we pop in somewhere for a coffee, she would get a hot chocolate every time and was going on about how awesome they are so one time, intrigued, I also got one and o my! It has started me on a slippery slope that I can’t see ending any time soon.
  • Long walks and lunching for hours. Last Sunday, a group of us went to an area of town I’ve never visited and pretty much just walked sharply uphill for a couple of hours until we reached a church at the top, alongside a small museum about caving (!) and a restaurant which did good food and even better wine.IMG_20180325_130505.jpg
  • Discovering underground cellars under drinking establishments. A few weeks ago, after the usual fortnightly YesTribe Italia aperitivo, we wandered into the vicoli (pedestrianised area by the port) and ended up in a bar where there promised to be a music performance a bit later. It was a bit confusing to work out whether this actually happened but in the meantime, we were shown around an area underneath the bar which was quite eerie – a few empty rooms which seemed to have been built in Roman times, maybe to house the wine supply.
  • Getting focaccia straight from the oven. Now, I’ve had my fair share of focaccia since arriving, trust me. But straight from the oven? That was new… and utterly mindblowing! The texture was amazing. A lovely crunch on the top and so soft and perfect underneath with just the right level of saltiness and oilyness. Words just can’t describe what this discovery has done to my life. I’m thinking of spending my weekends just hanging around outside focaccerias until I see a fresh batch emerge from the oven then rushing in to purchase the entire lot.
  • Walks in adverse conditions. The first eventful walk of the month was in snow up in the mountains behind Genova. That ended up with a group of us (plus a dog) practically throwing ourselves down the side of a snow covered mountain to get to a train station to get home. The second was a super rainy day on the coast, navigating headwinds to round steep cliffy sections which really weren’t so safe. In both situations, we beat a hasty retreat and returned home, mission unaccomplished but friendships formed and stories ready to be told. As a Brit, I don’t mind going out in all weathers but those two walks really tested my resolve to the extreme!IMG-20180304-WA0008.jpg
  • Discovering new villages. Last week, I jumped on a bus to go and see a friend and spent an hour watching out the window as we wound further up into the mountains to a place called Torriglia. It was so nice to see somewhere new and go for a little walk and see an old castle and sample the canestrelli biscuits which are a speciality of the area.IMG-20180327-WA0002.jpeg

The weather got a bit wacky, with rain, a smattering of snow and very cold conditions (nothing as intense as The Beast From The East though) but it seems to have settled now so I can concentrate on all the cliche things that one associates with life on the Italian Riviera = icecream eating, running in the sun, eating lunch next to the sea, drinking aperitivo on a balcony with a view, exploring old ruins in the mountains. Bring it all on!