Portofino is Unstoppable


Say cheese!

I admit, this blog has been ignored for quite some time but it seems that somehow it is gaining traction again because my stats have been spiking like crazy lately. Perhaps that is a hint to start writing again, I don’t know. I have so many interests that I am easily sidetracked and lately it has been my new Canon EOS 200D camera that has swept me away into a dreamlike stupor.

It has been a rough year with our road being swept away last October in the “perfect storm” and five grueling months hauling groceries etc. on boats and on foot while they repaired it since it is the only road connecting Portofino to the rest of the world!

I won’t lie, this was not exactly how I had planned my winter and near the end of it all I was losing my mind and patience with it. It was my first official year living up on the mountain and that was one hell of an initiation.

Now Spring is here and we are getting an unusual amount of rain and it is colder than usual too. I am pretty sure I have gained 10 kilo just sitting around watching Netflix waiting for the rain to stop. Thank goodness for Ru Paul and wine.

The B&B will reopen soon and for now I am hitting the books hard for an upcoming Italian exam. Yes, after ten years living here I am finally applying myself to getting more proficient with the language. Having an end goal for me is important otherwise I would just float away…it is my Aquarian nature to daydream and procrastinate unless I can see tangible results. This goal involves an exam at the University and exams scare the crap out of me. But sometimes it is good to be scared. It means you are still alive. I will do it this week so, wish me luck and I promise to get back here with the results afterwards. Hopefully with good news.

Buona serata tutti!

Xo Leah

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Late Italian Summer


20180805_064807This morning I caught myself doing that old lady Italian thing. You know what I’m talking about, that hang half your body over an open window and gaze out at the world kinda thing? I gotta say, it feels kinda wonderful too! I never really understood what the attraction was but now I totally get it. It is the most relaxing thing ever. The cool breeze and sun is on my face and I can rest my folded arms on the window’s ledge and just gaze out at the sea and ponder about this beautiful life. What’s not to love about this simplest action?

Of course I’m also just screwing around for five minutes, not all freaking day, because I am not some 80 year old Nonna who has hours upon hours to gaze at the sea or lint in my bellybutton for that matter because I just opened my new Bed & Breakfast finally and damnit Janet, I’m kinda freaking out!

Giologorough copy test

Yes! That’s right…after 10 solid years of having this dream (blood, sweat and tears), the renovation is done (it is never truly done but that is a whole other blog post), and now I am knee deep in paperwork to get this baby on par.

The good news is that I now have a website (ATTN: Window gawkers…you can see some photos of the room and completed house) and also a Facebook Page (please like me because that is what makes me look cooler than I really am) and am listed on Bedandbreakfast.eu. (click here if you want to see my booking calendar and prices, and please share with your friends and maybe family, but only if they are nice people, teehee)

The best thing, is that many of my readers have been here with me every step of the way towards this enormous goal. So I know you will all be clinking your Prosecco glasses tonight along with me when I can finally say Mission Accomplished! Yay!

Posted in Accommodations, Italian Culture, Nature, Portofino, Tourists, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crackhouse Camper Van


Ever wonder what the guidelines are for Air Bnb? Yeah, me too. When I travel, I often like to take the road less travelled. It always ends up being worth the risk and offers up tons of blogging opportunities too. A few years back, I booked a room in Nice, France using the above mentioned website. My host was a pink haired photographer who owned a psycho cat and a rat and her apartment smelled like a coffee house in Amsterdam.

Fast forward to this year and I decided to give the website another shot…

I rented a beautiful upper half of a house located on a ravine and river. The house was perfect! Clean and well equipped and centrally located.

I was told to be respectful of the permanent tenants who lived below and shared half the deck and driveway. What I didn’t expect was that there would be an RV parked in front which was plugged into the side of the house and obviously used on a daily basis as a smoking hut of sorts.

If you know me at all then you know that I have a pretty wild imagination and my affection for the Netflix series Breaking Bad had me conjuring up all kinds of scenarios of what was really going on in that RV. It didn’t really take much to spark my imagination since the second night in, I was confronted by a wild-eyed cat staring at me from inside and when I passed the open window there was no mistaking that that cat was as high as a kite!

The old faded blankets covering the windshield and all the windows made this crazy situation all the more fascinating to me. I randomly caught a glimpse of the girl who lived below, her pink and blond hair made me wonder if that crazy rat loving photographer from Nice had followed me to Canada or if there was some kind of secret club on Air Bnb that stated pink haired women all got automatic five star ratings.

By the end of the week I had summed up that there was a major drug ring operation happening in the driveway inside that camper van and that the poor cat was held against his fuzzy will. I started to get paranoid about leaving the door unlocked and wondered if almost getting arrested on a Cayman Island beach back in 2001, with my hippy, California, weed-smoking friend, may have had a long term affect on me. By the way, she did get arrested. I didn’t. I’m squeaky clean when it comes to drugs but I am also a magnet for trouble. It follows me everywhere.

Anyway, it created some great stories to tell at the wedding and by the end of the week that RV was cooking with crack and the pink haired girl was a bad-ass drug lord, hahaha.

My question to you guys is this though…what the hell kind of rating do I put on Air bnb and should I bother mentioning this to the owner of the house or do you think he is in the know already? He contacted me several times to ask if all was ok and each time I just replied that all was great.

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Share the Love Globally


One of the things I have benefitted from the most out of writing this blog for the past ten years is having the opportunity to meet and connect in person with some of my readers. How awesome is that! I have also learned just how connected we really are out in this world.

Last summer, I had two cat sitters back to back, come to Genova and stay in my apartment. They didn’t know each other. One was from Canada, an old grade school friend whom I had not seen in 30 years and the other, from New Zealand, whom I met through this blog and she invited me to a photography workshop and later on she moved to Genova. A year later, the Canadian friend was on holiday in New Zealand and walking through the supermarket and guess who she ran into? My New Zealand friend who was back home on holiday! What are the odds?

Another great person who I met through this blog is Lucy Williams. She is also married to an officer and used to work on ships just like me. We never met at sea but lucky for me, her husband is also from Genova. Lucy chose to continue sailing along side her husband and she spends her time onboard blogging about all the wonderful places she visits.

She has become an expert in cruising advice from a behind-the-scenes viewpoint and shares loads of travel tips too. Recently, she started a Sunday Series on all the Officers’ Wives who travel onboard just like us. If you want to read more about this series or any of her other great posts, click here. Enjoy!

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter Weekend!

Ciao for now,

Leah x

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Home Sweet Home


Just wanted to share these photos…it truly is so beautiful up here on this hilltop!

Posted in Italian Culture, Nature, Portofino, Tourists, travel | 7 Comments

CHICken!


It all started innocently enough when I told Secret Santa to get me a hat for Christmas…

My buddy Joanne, who didn’t even pick my name, decided to play a prank on me and she gave me a chicken hat! Clearly, she knew she would get a lot of mileage out of this one since I am a big jokester who isn’t the slightest bit shy to sport a chicken hat on the platform of a Paris Metro Station. Or, for that matter, all over Paris and beyond. I even wore it inside the Louvre!

So, yesterday, when I saw this Kickstarter ad for a beautiful chicken book, I knew I was on the right track to full, unbridled, chicken love. I have painted them, photographed them and hugged them. They really are the coolest birds!

Maybe they are plotting to take over the Internet…if I was a cat, I would be a tad bit frightened.

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Circa 1970 Pasta Maker


How cool is this? I have only made pasta twice with a lot of assistance but this was tucked into a random box and in its original package. The stamp inside for the warranty reads 1970! It is older than my FIAT 500 car. I don’t know if it is still operable but now I have it stored up above the kitchen cupboards…who knows, maybe one day I will drink too much espresso and decide to make ravioli!

My kitchen has taken on a life of its own with all kinds of little treasures and while I am not a huge fan of clutter I love all these quirky finds and just cannot seem to part with them.

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