In anticipation of my forthcoming next adventure across the Atlantic, I have been regularly revisiting my first foray into Europe and into the blogosphere two years ago through my Flashback series. Enclosed below is the final post in this particular series, an excerpt of a blog post about gallivanting through Genoa and roaming in Rome.
Right away, it struck me.
The colours. After weeks of passing buildings of marble and slate and brick commuting to and from work in London, there was something enchanting about these Italian buildings tinted delicate pastels, transformed into jewel tones by the sunset. Arrayed in the colours of gelato – pale peach, pistachio green, roasted chestnut, burnt orange, persimmon red, saffron yellow – they formed scenes that could have come straight from a Giotto fresco.
Then, there was the colour of the sea. The languid Ligurian Sea, lazy and azure, is framed by rows of boats rocking gently to and fro, cradled by the sea, against a backdrop of the verdant Apennine Mountains. Famous for its historic role as a key port city, the bygone home of dukes and birthplace of such notable explorers as Christopher Columbus and John Cabot, Genoa has since lost much of its commercial significance, with the advent of airplanes and the wave of globalization driving Italian-based waterborne travel closer to desuetude.
And it shows. However ornate, the Genovese architecture is not entirely well-preserved. Just a few streets away from the row of august palazzi where dukes once lived is the intersection of dingy alleyways that comprise the red light district. But for the most part, the city appears unaltered since its Renaissance days. I stayed somewhere in between the two aforementioned areas, in a charming building with butter yellow walls and a staff with sunny dispositions. There, I met an American taking a roundabout detour on the way back from Morocco, an Australian couple honeymooning far from their Melbourne home, and a Spaniard with a knack for storytelling late into the night. United by our varying degrees of fluency in English and our wanderlust, we traded travel stories and marvelled at this beautiful city that, at least for the time being, was ours to share.