After Milan, Melody and I headed south.
First to Genoa, where we stayed in the home of Helga a fresco painter and artist, who has also built with straw, invited us to attend a community dinner at the local Social Club where they performed activist songs sung by Italian soldiers during the First World War. We sat on a large open porch, overlooking Genoa, covered in a trellis of grape vines. What a special experience as a traveler to be welcomed into the home of so many eager to share their food and wine with us. The Godfather of them all who was confined to a wheelchair, kept on rolling himself over to us to talk about his time in the Navy on leave in NY and Brooklyn during WWII. I think he just wanted to share time with two pretty young women, very sweet.
Earlier that day while wandering through the medieval marketplace of the Geneo port, Melody and I took a turn north to head up to Via Girabaldi via a tiny narrow dark steep alley of a medieval street, only to find ourselves smack in the middle of the Genoa red light district. I was wondering while passing the ladies in Red and their boudiors as we made our way up the hill why the people ahead of us had turned off the road as we kept on walking upwards. The old man who spent the night talking with us declared that all is visible and out in the open in Genoa, especially the prostitutes. They asked us why we chose to come to Genoa, we replied to go south, and Helga’s place seemed so warm and welcoming on airbnb.
By the way, this is how we are making our way across the Riviera, by meeting the locals through airbnb. It might be a little difficult sometimes to coordinate meeting the proprietors and finding parking, and figuring out how to turn on the stove, but so far all has been on the most part comfortable and interesting and close to all we wanted to see. This is pretty much how I have traveled, by being welcomed into the homes of friends, and friends of friends. The best way to get to know a new place and the surrounding community.
We just arrived near Saint Tropez after spending 3 nights in Nice. We spent most days wandering around the City, discovering the historic city center, taking in the views of the Riviera, visiting the Matisse Museum, foraging on local figs, blackberries and elder berries falling from people’s personal trees over the street, and eyeing the varying architecture. What we could not
understand was why many parts of Nice such as the Matisse Museum and Place Garibaldi were decorated all with the tromploi effect to look more on the outside like 19th century Housman buildings. So from a distance you thought you were seeing the decorative details of fancy columns, cornices and window casements, but instead they were just the plain stucco facades with wooden shutters of older structures.
The most frustrating part has been trying to buy and install local sim cards so we can make calls and use the internet while driving. (important for those needed to find their way with google maps and calling hosts to let them know you are running late). My Samsung does not seem to like foreign sim cards. So far it has rejected all of them at first and takes a lot of finagling in many languages to get them to work. Even had to return one and get my money back. So, if you wish to call or text you can also reach me at: 00330614131778.
So for now, I have finally set foot into the Riviera, after developing some sun poisoning,
but we forge ahead onto Saint Tropez.
Until the next entry…