Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Italian Stallions

"another satisfied guest at casa Aff'n'Chris"

T and C at Spianata Castelleto (Belvedere Montaldo), the obligatory first stop for all guests of casa Aff'n'Chris

taken 09/06/2007

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Three Aussies and a Russian walk into a bar ..

"and that's the way we all became the brady bunch"

A night out with T (and our new Russian amico Tim) at Porto Antico, Genoa
(taken 08/06/2007)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Dees win first game of season - Genova goes wild!

"after nine rounds of dissapointment, Genovese fans errupt at the news of Melbourne's first win"
Piazza De Ferrari, Centro Genoa (taken 10/06/07)

As I stood watching this spontaneous street party errupt in Piazza Deferrari last night, I couldn't help but think that this may in fact be the closest I'll ever get to seeing the Melbourne colours, red and blue, being marched triumphantly down the main drag of my home town. Of course, the red and blue colours had nothing to do with the Melbourne Football Club, but rather, the triumphant promotion of the Genoa Football (i.e soccer) Club to Serie A in Italy's Lega Calcio.

No less than 5,000 people (according to this morning's paper) crowded into Piazza De Ferrari (more or less the city centre) to celebrate the fact that Genoa, after 12 years in "Serie B" (second division), have just been promoted to Serie A after a nill all draw with Napoli. This may not seem like a big deal, but in soccer mad Italia, if your not competing in the top division, your not really competing. Clearly the loyal Genovese fans were pretty happy to hear that next season, they will be competing again.

I must admit, I was quite oblivious to this event at the start of the day, although I did note a little more red and blue being worn around town than usual. It wasn't until the late afternoon, when I heard a sudden burst of beeping horns, and cheering, that I realised there was something going on. In a flash, I grabbed the camera, and went on the hunt. This is what I found:

Aff and I stuck around for almost 2 hours, and the party never really looked like stopping. We decided to leave when someone shot a firework rocket through the window of one of the adjacent buildings. The fire brigade arrived not long after, just as smoke started to pour out of the window. I truly haven't seen anything quite like it, and I can only imagine what it was like when Italy won the world cup.

Interestingly, the similiarity between the Genoa and Melbourne football clubs go further than their choice of colours. The full name of the Genovese soccer club is "The Genoa Cricket and Football Club", which was first established in 1893 by a bunch of poms living in Genoa at the time. Of course, the Melbourne football club also orginated from the MCC (Melbourne Cricket Club), and still holds close ties. It is also interesting to note that the Genoa Football Club uses the English spelling of Genova (i.e without the 'v'), again as a result of it's English roots.

Needless to say, with the red and blue colours, and now a place in the top division of one of the world's best soccer competitions, I have well and truly jumped aboard the good ship Genoa C.F.C. Of course, you can never really call yourself a fan until you buy a team flag, which I did:

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Friday, June 08, 2007

A weekend with the windmills

Not a lot of time to write at the moment, so I am relying on pictures to tell most of the story.

Aff and I ventured to Holland last weekend (as you do), to see Claire and Alec's home in Dordrecht (just east of Rotterdam). There was some urgency for this trip, as Claire and Alec only have another week or so before they move to Bristol.We were very keen to see where they have been living for the last 10 months before they left, so wasted no time booking our flights (from Milan to Amsterdam). Claire's orchestra also had a concert on the Friday night, which we just managed to get to, arriving in Dordrecht no less than 20 minutes before kick off.

I can't say Holland was ever high on my list of places to visit, but I am very glad I got the chance to see it. It really is quite different to anything I have seen. The stories are true, the country really is as flat as a table top. They keep the place pretty tidy as well. Everything looked so sparklingly clean - an observation that was probably somewhat enhanced by its contrast with Italy, and in particular, Genova, which has more of an "order in the chaos" feel to it (kind of like Queanbeyan is to Canberra - both have their charm).

We spent Saturday riding bikes around Dordrecht, and some nearby windmills, and sampling some Dutch beer afterwards in town square. Sunday we spent in Amsterdam (only 1 hour train ride away), where we managed to fit in a visit to the Vincent Van Gogh museum (very good), and a 75 minute canal tour, and yes, more sampling of Dutch beer (and yes, we did take a sneaky peak at the infamous red light district - again, the stories are true).

Enough writing. Time for some pictures.

First, the obligatory picture of windmills (just north of Dordrecht):

... and, of course, the obligatory picture of us with our Dutch bikes:
and finally, the obligatory photo of beautiful women, with sun flowers, standing on a bridge over an Amsterdam canal:

A great weekend, with great company, in a very interesting country.

Thanks for having as guys!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tiramisu for Sabine!

Hi Sabine - this one's for you.

"Tiramisu alla Affrica - molto buorno!"
taken 30/05/07

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It's a tough life ...

...but someone's gotta do it!

Nervi beach, 7km East of Genoa (taken 27/05/07)

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