Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nearby Adventures


After spending much of the beginning of the summer with family both in Italia and the States, by mid-July we settled back into normal life around here, trying to see as much as possible with our impending departure approaching (of course that departure didn’t come to pass, but we’re still glad that it gave us a swift kick in the posteriore). We enjoyed our first visit to Martello’s annual office barbecue at a senior partner’s country home up in Piemonte. The event feels more like a family reunion than an office party, with the hosts generously inviting colleagues past and present to partake in a mix of Asian, European, and American cuisine. We arrived later in the evening, winding through the treacherous mountain roads, so we missed the tennis and swimming, but we thoroughly enjoyed the food and beverage spread as well as the company. Seeing that the majority of the guests at this event (minus Trofie Wife) are somewhat skilled in drawing, the host has everyone craft a little piece that includes their names (and usually a note of thanks). He then compiles these sketches along with pictures from the party and prints a yearbook; prior yearbooks are on display at the party, so everyone can enjoy seeing how much their hair has receded over the years (in the case of the men) or their sunspots have turned to leathery wrinkles (those Italian women who refuse to wear sun block). In any event, the party was a warm, enjoyable event, and we do hope that we can join in the festivities come next summer.

We spent Sunday of that weekend exploring the Boccadasse neighborhood of Genova, an old fishing community that has seen better days. From both Boccadasse and the neighborhood above it, Albaro, there are gorgeous views of the cliffs and the sea, and Albaro hosts some very lovely villas, some of which have been converted into apartment complexes while others remain single-family homes (one had a drawbridge!).



The sad thing about Boccadasse is that it could’ve been a contender had fate and history taken a different turn. It just as easily could have been beautified to look like Portofino (compare here (particularly the picture of the Portofino Marina): http://martelloetrofiewife.blogspot.com/2009/07/best-monday-ever.html), which was also just a small fisherman’s village until someone decided to transform it into an “it” place. But despite its rough-around-the-edges fa├žade, Boccadasse still attracts visitors and boasts some art galleries, restaurants, and a gelateria or two.  It’s probably better to be a working resident here than in Portofino, where the influx of tourists can often be overwhelming.



Our final stop was Nervi, the southernmost section within Genova proper. It is another lovely seaside area dotted with villas and gardens and popularly frequented by British tourists. We enjoyed a short walk along the sea and through the huge parco (trailing behind a lovely, droopy basset hound, Trofie Wife might add) before boarding the train back to our own seaside paradise knowing, with Martello’s huge deadline looming, that we wouldn’t be this relaxed again until August vacation rolled around.

Baci e gelato,
Martello e Trofie Wife

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