pinch me?

wow, what a day.

it’s late, i’m deliciously full and warm, and sleepy, but if i don’t write this now i’ll forget some of the special nuances of the day. some of it is already starting to slip away… i’ll start from the beginning. the dreadfully early wake up (7:30am i know, terrible). we got ready and walked to the car rental place, which is quite close to cuques. claire and i stopped for a p’tite déja and café first and then to AVIS. after a bit of slight service (french?) ineptness (they were nice enough, just the system that was at issue), we finally got our leetle car, and i re-oriented myself to the world of driving manual (driving at all, for that matter. and in europe!). we packed up, double checked we had all our maps, and, headed out of aix.

driving felt so freeing. it’s been months (almost 6). also, our car, affectionately referred to as our silver “Pam”, standing for ‘presque aston martin’ (presque meaning ‘almost’), is a small, new, zippy car that accelerates quickly and stops abruptly and shifts easelessly. it’s very fun to drive. we stopped in a small town between toulon and st. tropez for car food – apples, bananas, pringles, water, maltesers, rice cakes, etc. – and continued on the A8/E30 to st. tropez, cannes, and nice. you know, driving along the south of france coast is not all it’s cracked up to be. okay i’m kidding it was incredible. and then you hit italy. france must have been spiting us because literally the second was passed the “ITALIA” sign and came out of the tunnel on the other side, the sun was shining and it warmed up a few degrees. not to mention the landscape changed quite significantly. i wish pictures would have done it justice, or that i could explain it to you somehow, but i can’t. let’s just say that we thought about counting how many times i said “MAN!” or “oh wow”, but gave up around the same time we stopped holding our breaths through the tunnels. that was around #25 or so…

italy is just gorgeous. valley after valley, on the edge of the sea, buildings that emanate awe-inspiring antiquity… and this is coming from the person who drove the whole way – my view was significantly reduced. you know these italian drivers, i had to pay very rapt attention. i had a few things to shout in futility at various cars not choosing lanes to stay in and completely disregarding traffic rules, but, really, there’s nothing you can do except be careful and aggressive in equal parts.

genova is a beautiful city. the driving is wretched. good thing i have a tiny, speedy car with good breaks. our hostel has an amazing panoramic view of the city, but you know what that means. it means it’s on the top of the hill, and takes about 20 hairpin turns on tight streets just to get to it. fortunately, once you do it once it’s practically easy. the hostel is clean, (empty at the moment, not a lot of travellers at this time of year)

annnnnnd that’s where i fell asleep last night. i’ll post here and finish this after we arrive and get settled in florence this evening. now to find something to eat and get back on the road…

quentin blake exposition
genova harbour front


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