First of all, thanks to all of you who have accepted my invitations to follow this journey. I hope I will entertain or inform or even both. If you are not finding it that interesting or if I am writing too much or too often, just unsubscribe.
As Canute with his waves, I was unable to stop clouds and a gossamer of rain when what I had imagined was bright and blue and crisp. My first waking in Sarzana was at very first light and to faint birdsong. Too early, but with my body-clock a bit wonky I made a coffee and went back to a bed so perfectly comfortable as to be quite irresistible for another two hours.
I had been given an overwhelming welcome last night by my hosts Alfredo and Grazia who exhibit every quality I love in the average Italian. Picked up with hugs at the railway station I was driven the easily-walkable distance to the gracious holiday apartment they made when their adult children flew the nest and left them with a house too big for two. On the kitchen table was a delicate plate of prosciutto, mozzarella, olives, pickled onions and artichoke, and half a baguette;
two minutes later Alfredo was back with a very non-standard bottle of home-made Vermentino – the local white wine. They liked me.
The trip had taken 42 hours door-to-door, of which 23 where actually airborne. A long journey but easy, hitch-free, and only mildly physically challenging. The biggest, delightful surprise of the flight was being corrected by my seat neighbour on my pronunciation of Sarzana. (I had used the lazy English “z” sound instead of the crisper Italian “dz” sound.) That in itself was not the surprise; the surprise was that my corrector was Maori, not Milanese !
So here I am in Sar(d)zana and I am so happy. Soon I will walk out and explore my immediate neighbourhood, about 1km from the town’s centre. I was already shown the local restaurant as we passed last night, but I will be looking for the local (coffee) bar and a grocery (which here also covers fruit & veg and wine. The apartment has a fully- equipped kitchen.) After 1pm I will go to the library and see if there are any historical groups or even a noted local historian of the town. Then I will try to check out the musical scene here. I know there is a chamber ensemble and a choir associated with the Cathedral and there used to be Concentus Sarzana, an SATB choir. That will be a good day’s work.
On my walk today I saw this – so bureaucratically Italian