Oct 152010
 

It’s Friday, it was gloomy the whole day (at least as far as I know, most of it I spent in a room without windows, teaching), I had neither time nor much inclination in the morning, and now I am on the train to Carinthia.

These are the days when I’m glad to have some finished but unused images already uploaded, and that’s how you get to see another pair of images from Italy.

Both were taken the night before our departure, both were taken from the exact same spot. The blue light in the Image of the Day is the light that comes from the bar.

This is how it looks, when you are far from the beach, far from the hotels and the fancy restaurants. Michael failed to keep from smoking, and when he went to the train station for a pack of cigarettes, I joined him and took some night images.

The Song of the Day is “Midnight Special“. I recently bought it on a Van Morrison collection called “Brown-Eyed Girl”, a collection of early hits, but originally it is from his debut album “Blowin’ Your Mind!”. Oh, and, that’s pretty much what it does 😀

YouTube has a live version with extra guests from much later.

1401 – An Illusion

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Aug 152010
 

Today is Sunday, and for today I really have no image at all. Let me show you one more image from Italy instead.

Trompe-l’œil murals are very common in Liguria, and while most of the time they only give the illusion of a more elaborate facade than there actually is, sometimes it goes far beyond that. This is such an example from near Sestri Levante.

The Song of the Day is “An Illusion” from the 1995 Stiltskin album “Mind’s Eye”. Hear it on YouTube.

1364 – Six O’ Clock

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Jul 092010
 

I do have a few images of today (well, yesterday actually, as it is 4:15 in the morning now), nothing really good, so I don’t bother spending an hour in Photoshop, trying to wrestle it into a form that I can accept. Instead I have another image from Italy, taken in Sestri Levante while we spent an hour, hungrily waiting for the first restaurants to open. But at least it was not Madrid, where you’re frowned upon, when you come as early as 9pm 😀

The Song of the Day is “Six O’ Clock” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. Ten years ago I bought a double CD with “Everything Playing” (where this is on) and “Do you Believe In Magic”. Can’t say I have heard it much, but here it is. I have no idea who’s really interested in that “Song of the Day” thing that I do, but I can tell you, I benefit greatly: I dig through my own music 🙂

YouTube has the song.

Jul 022010
 

Saturday we left. I did not take any images. The car was full, my camera bag safely stowed in the back, and the return home were six hours on the highway, thus I wouldn’t have been able to take images anyway.

All images presented here were taken on Sunday afternoon, shortly before we had dinner, not in the restaurant depicted, there we had been the day before.

Anna Maria, a friend of Michael’s from Milano, had asked him why we had exactly picked Sestri Levante for our vacation. Well, you have to pick some place, do you? Now, looking back, I can say that the choice was excellent, and I can say it with much confidence.

It is our way of traveling, to visit sights, and Sestri Levante being in the middle of the Riviera Levante, the part of the Riviera east of Genova, was an ideal place. It has a highway exit and a train station (Michael arrived from Milano by train), but contrary to many other towns and villages on the Riviera, neither highway nor railway are obtrusive.

While Camogli was much more beautiful, it was much easier to get out of Sestri, and that’s not a bad thing when you do it daily. The beach was directly in front of the hotel, thus I could swim in the morning and before dinner, so, all in all I’d say Sestri Levante was a fine place for people with our interests.

The Song of the Day is “I’m Going Back Home” by Nina Simone. I have it on a four CD collection “Four Women: The Complete Nina Simone On Philips”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jul 012010
 

The two villages down along the coast from Sestri Levante, Moneglia and Fornaci, are only accessible from the north via two long tunnels.

Each of those tunnels is actually a succession of tunnels, with the longest one maybe four kilometers long, and the interesting thing is, that they have only one lane. There are semaphores on each side and fixed times when they go green.

Here you see the entrance to the first tunnel in Riva, a part of Sestri Levante with a long beach and some ugly industry, most likely wharves. There is a minimum speed of 40 km/h in the tunnels and a maximum of 60 km/h.

After having arrived in Moneglia, I thought that it was a shame that I had no images of the tunnel itself, so I set the camera to manual focus, high speed continuous mode, speed priority with 1/250s, f2.8 and hoped for the best.

In the next long tunnel I was prepared. I only had to raise the camera through the car’s open roof, press the shutter and see what I get. It was not even distracting from driving. But then, I probably wouldn’t do it with a policeman in sight 🙂

The image with the boats was taken in Sestri Levante, after sundown on our last evening there.

The Song of the Day is “Darkness, Darkness” from the Cowboy Junkies’ 2004 album “One Soul Now”. This is some more music that I learned to know via Bill Birtch’s blog. Thank you Bill 🙂

YouTube has the song.

Jun 252010
 

This year I had no idea whatsoever, what I would do for SoFoBoMo 2010. Well, my friend Ted Byrne helped me out with the plan, and I have to say, it helps to know what you’re looking for.

This entry is three days late, sorry, it took me some time to figure out what I want to post, I rejected my initial choice and simply had to try a little bit harder.

In general I am quite successful in finding those layers of new above old, this mixture, that is so very common in Italy, even when Tuesday was not the most successful day.

We decided to visit Pontremoli, a town in the mountains, just over the border in Toscana, a town once famous for its book sellers, a town with an annual book festival.

Let’s say we expected at least something book-related, I don’t know, a library, a monument in form of a book, at least a big book store …

What we found was nothing. The town could probably be a tourist attraction, it has an interesting medieval core, interesting history (imagine a town where people had to build a wall across the center to keep the parties from murdering each other), but it would need a lot of money to make all that more accessible.

As it is, you have narrow medieval alleys where you hardly see anybody, closed doors, no shops, no restaurants, apart from those on the main Piazza. It didn’t help at all, that it began to rain after we had our coffee.

It was still an interesting day though. The image of the day is from Pontremoli, the last is from back in Sestri Levante, and the other two from our way to Pontremoli.

The Song of the Day is “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)” from Janis Joplin’s album “Pearl” (or any other collection of her songs). YouTube is supposed to have it, though I can’t check it here from the hotel.

Jun 212010
 

I’ve seen a lot, I’ve made many pictures, but it’s completely impossible for me, to show you at least a small part of it.

Someday, yes, someday after a while, you may see the rest of these pictures. Some of them I may use as part of this year’s SoFoBoMo book, some may end up as Images of the Day, it only will take time. Please bear with me.

The Image of the Day is another example of what I have in mind or rather what Ted requested. The new layered over the old, cities growing chaotically, without a master plan.

The second image is a left-over from Saturday, just one of those that I took the time to process.

The Song of the Day is “Someday After A While” from Eric Clapton’s 1994 album “From The Cradle”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jun 202010
 

Good news! I’m in Italy, and the place, Sestri Levante in Liguria, is really beautiful. It’s not a new town, actually it goes back to Roman origins, and you really see that although this place has known tourism for a very long time, certainly more than a hundred years, it has been rich before that.

As to the journey, it was uneventful, with lots of sunshine along the way, only in the end, when we arrived at the Ligurian Riviera, we were back to rain. On the other hand, that’s just as predicted, thus I won’t complain … yet 🙂

The images are from a short walk along the beach and through the historic center. Ted recently had the idea for my SoFoBo book, that I could look at how here in Europe (and where when not in Italy), the new is always layered upon the old. The idea is to reveal old layers, to juxtapose the ancient and the modern. Well, I had planned to try just that in Genova, but due to the rainfalls we skipped that part of our trip. But then, maybe I can do something similar down here? We’ll see.

The Internet connection here is a mixed experience. I can say (and you can see) that it works, but certain domains make trouble or seem to be blocked. For instance I can’t get YouTube to work. No idea why. I can search, but playing videos is impossible.

The Song of the Day is “Mixed Emotions” by Dinah Washington. You can get it on a collection called “The Complete Dinah Washington On Mercury Vol.2 (1950 – 1952)”. YouTube is supposed to have it, though I can’t check 🙂