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June 23-26, 2005


Thursday June 23, 2005


        I woke up at noon and wondered what I would do without the computer for communication.  It is hard to describe how aggravating and depressing this was.  I put my thinking cap on and considered a call to Joseph at Video-Audio City where I bought the computer to see what he could do for me.  I called and Joseph is not in today nor is Sai who knows me well.  I finally got to talk to Marissa, Joseph's secretary, and told her the problem.  She said she could FedEx overnight a new model similar to mine.  I figured this would be the only way and I would deal with the financials with Joseph when I get back, especially since my computer was only 6 months old and in warranty.

        Dima warned me that she should take it out of its box and make it look used as well a put a value of $0 on it and not insure it so that it would make it through customs.  He warned there would be problems.  Also, since we were going to Zoagli in the south, where should we have them send it; here or there?  I told Marissa if they could guarantee arrival by tomorrow, send it to Arese, otherwise send it to Zoagli.  She said she would take care of everything.  Tania had work to do and would not leave for Zoagli until Friday afternoon.  Now I feel a little better that there was some hope.

        By 2:30, as I was in the process of getting dressed, Dima brought down his friend to show him the house and meet me.  Gennady is Tania's boss and a very young man who has been very successful in Russian business.  After I got dressed we all sat and chatted until we packed to take off.  Gennady (in white shirt) likes to dress very casually.

      

        We were not planning on returning to Arese.  At 6:30 Dima drove Marcia and I in our car to the Cerruti warehouse outlet which is south of Milano on the way to Zoagli. This is a fine Italian men's clothes maker at reduced bargain prices.  As we pull up I see the gate slowly closing.  It is now 6:58 and they close at 7.  Dima tried to persuade the gate guard to let us in but to no avail.  My luck is really running thin here, in Italy so far.

        Marcia drove the 115 miles south to Zoagli while Dima took a nap from his jetlag. Once you enter the Ligurian coast area there is nothing but bridges and tunnels and it is very mountainous.

      

       

        We arrived and unlocked the Zoagli house at 9:15 PM and I changed and did my run on the treadmill with the fabulous view of the Tyrrhenian Sea.  I was really in a sweat when I was done probably due to the humidity.

        Since it was late, we drove down to the beach town of Zoagli and at 10:30 PM had dinner at Osteria Acqua Salata [Piazza XXVII Dicembre 2, +39-018-525-0060.]

      

        

        They have been adding underground parking to the central piazza and thus the view wasn't that great but the food was.  The large train bridge that spans over the beach was built in 1865 and creates a spectacular site.  We shared a bottle of prosecco and I had melone e prosciutto, pizza margherita, linguini vongole, ananas, a cappuccino and a limoncello.

     

    

        Marcia and Dima had a seafood tubular pasta dish and then Marcia had branzino (Italian sea bass.)

     

     

        Massimo is originally from Torino and after starting this place, he has been buying up all the restaurants in the area.  He served us a lemon sorbet limoncello concoction in a glass that was great.  After dinner (11:30) we took a walk along the stone beach walk (where people are fishing) and then had some after dinner drinks at Bar Clipper [Lungomare Canevaro 1, +39-018-525-9432.]  Below are photos of Zoagli and I believe that as years go by more people will know about it.

       

        We drove back and I got to bed at 3 AM.


Friday, June 24, 2005


        I woke up at noon and again at 2:00 PM and Dima told me Tania called to say that Marissa called from Santa Monica and told her that they couldn't get it to Arese in time so they are sending it to Zoagli.  But that means (in Italy) no one is going to deliver it on Saturday or Sunday so the first would be Monday.  Problem is Dima has to go back to Arese on Monday to fly to Napoli early Tuesday morning for a lecture.  We could stay here and sit and wait but Dima said it will be a problem with customs so we had better go back to Arese and wait for it there.  At 4:45 PM everyone was napping after Dima prepared this wonderful lunch and swimming in the pool and in the sea, so I decided to drive to the nearby city of Rapallo to see if I could buy Windows XP for the IBM ThinkPad Dima was loaning me just in case mine doesn't arrive.  I tried to install FrontPage (that uploads the website) and it would not install on a Win98 machine.

        I got lost trying to get out of the complex but after several tries I succeeded.  I drove the winding roads in BMW's special drive mode which is pretty peppy.  I pulled into town and "parked" the car in Hotel Miramare and in my broken Italian asked the man at the desk where to buy Windows.

        He found the place for me and called them and they had it only in Italian.  Since its Dima's computer and I have been used to Italian Windows now, I decided to go for it.  He gave me directions how to cross the town, go through the tunnel under the railroad tracks and find the place.  I bought it for €100 and also got a 512 MB chip for the camera, since as luck would have it one of my 1GB chips just died.

    

        Feeling I had accomplished something, I got a cappuccino at 5:30 PM at the American Bar.  When finished  I was grateful to see the car was still there.  I raced back to the house and by 6:30 PM I was attempting to install WinXP on Dima's computer.  I let it cook for a while as it was going through its paces and at 8:45 PM I did my run on the treadmill again but this time I had turned on the air conditioner the night before and it was nice and cool in there.

        Tania and Anastasia had arrived and we all discussed when, how and if I would ever get my computer.  At 9:30 PM we all went together back to Zoagli town and walked the beach walk to dinner at Ristorante L'Arenella [Lungomare Navigante 1, +39-018-525-9393].

      

        Dima ordered Gavi di Gavi white wine while we enjoyed the ambience of the beach setting.

      

            For a starter, I had Roselle (ravioli) of branzino with shrimp (below left.)  For entree I had filet mignon with potatoes (below right) but when it arrived it was much too raw and I asked him to re-cook it, which he did.

  

            Marcia had Gambi to start with (below left) and then an entree of lobster and prawns (below right.)

    

         

        It was OK but not great.  We had tarts for desert (above) along with espresso and limoncello and based on the size of the bill decided the view and the setting was the best thing about the place.  We took a lovely walk along Zoagli beach.

        We got back to the house at 11:30 PM and had some drinks and at 11:45 PM I called Marissa in Santa Monica to get the FedEx number for the computer package.  I had also called Clara at the house on Thursday and asked her to find many of my program disks and take them over to Marissa to include in the package.  Later I discovered Windows had not installed on the computer so I tried it again and finally gave up because I was very tired.  Finally went to bed at 4:30 AM.


Saturday June 25, 2005


        I woke up 6:00 AM and again at 10:00 AM.  I had left the Windows installation running when I went to bed so I was dying to see what happened.  Lo and behold it showed that the entire installation was successful - I couldn't believe it.    But as I explored I noticed that it had completely deleted all of Dima's MS Office software such as Word and PowerPoint but all his documents were still there, thankfully.  The first thing I did was begin the installation of FrontPage and it installed successfully.  Now I at least had a backup if the computer never arrives.

        I hooked up the ION drive with all my stuff on it and copied it to his computer.  I opened up FrontPage and it was asking for unlock codes.  Since we couldn't get online there, I had to call a number and since it was in Italian, Dima had to read the codes and get the unlock codes.  Finally I was able to open my website and begin working on it again.

        At 1:00 AM, feeling relaxed I took a swim in the beautiful pool and then went down to the sea with Dima and took a swim there as well.  It was wonderful.  It's a little bit of a walk to get down there but it's worth it.

       

        I had asked Dima to call Giovanni Piovella, who we like very much, to see if he could join us for dinner.  We wanted to see his little baby girl again.  Because of his in-laws wedding anniversary that night he couldn't join us for dinner but he was going to drive from Milano down to see us.  He had never seen this house before so this was good.  By 2:00 PM I decided I had better do my run on the treadmill in the cool room (below) with the spectacular view (lower right). 

     

        Five minutes into running Giovanni arrives and hands me his medal that he got for running the Rome Marathon last month.  It was his gift to me to stimulate my "running career".  We had run together in the rain in Key Largo, Florida several years ago.  What a thoughtful thing for him to do.

           

        While I finished my run, Dima to Giovanni down to the sea to swim and they made it out to the rocks.  Next week Giovanni is doing an Iron Man race in Austria, so his swimming is pretty good.  They swam out to the rocks in the cove and back.

     

        

Above right: Photo taken through binoculars with Canon camera.

    

                The house from below.                                                    Giovanni and Dimitrii on deck.

        As is our custom, Giovanni and I spent hours discussing everything from eye surgery to world politics but soon he had to head back to Milano.  His brother, Matteo was just arriving at 7:00 and they barely had time to say hello as they crossed paths.   Matteo is an eye surgeon in Monza (near Milano) and his brother Giovanni now works for Zeiss-Meditec that makes lasers for LASIK.  Matteo took a swim in the pool and chatted with Dima while I finished working on the computer.

    

        Tania, Anastasia, Dima and Patrick the dog                        Dima and Matteo (right)

        In another hour, Matteo's wife Barbara arrived with their little two-year-old, Mattilda, who made us so homesick for Anabella and Kaylin.

    

      Barbara & Mattilda             Anastasia, Mattilda & Matteo       Matteo, Barbara, Tania & Marcia 

        At 9:30 PM we all went to dinner at that great little place we had lunch with Dima in 2003 called Le Due Querce [Piazza S. Ambrogio 31, +39-01-855-2907].  It is way up on the mountain with beautiful views of the city of Rappallo below.

     

        We all had some prosecco and I had my usual pizza margherita (perfect!!) (below left) followed by frito misto (fried mixed fish) and spaghetti frutta di mare (below right.)

    

      

        Marcia had branzino fish again (above right.)  Dima says I like pasta too much and took this shot.

     

        I had a cake with gelato (above left) and Marcia had strawberries and gelato (above right) and we finished off with a cappuccino and a limoncello as usual.

        Matteo and Barbara generously treated us all to dinner.  They had to take off and head back to Monza and we went back to the house where I went to bed at 1 AM.


Sunday June 26, 2005


        I woke up at 6:00 AM and again at 10:00 and decided I better get going to Mass and get my run in Santa Margherita since the treadmill no longer works.  I left at 10:45 AM to make the 10:30 Mass but traffic was bad coming down the hill and everyplace you could park a car was filled with one (or two).  I kept driving around and finally found a place to stick the car on Depino Teramo street.  As I came around the corner I noticed another church that I had not seen before and it looked like there was a Mass going on.  The church was St. Siro's (below) and they were beginning the 11:00 Mass.  So my luck was changing a little.

     

        After Mass I walked over to the church of St. Margherita (below,) the main cathedral where I had planned to go.  The next Mass was going on.

    

        Feeling lousy, I walked to the main part of town along the beach looking for my favorite men's shop.

        After missing it twice I finally arrived at Mortola's at 1:00 PM.  Antonio (below), the same young man (age 32) who has always taken care of me found me one sports jacket and four shirts.  Since I saw him last they had a little girl, Alicia, now ten months old.  He suggested the best coffee place so at 1:30 PM I had a cappuccino at Rostkafé.

     

        The whole day I felt miserable (like a cold) and tired and was in no mood for running in this heat but at 3:30 PM, I finally got the gumption and went back to the car and changed into my running gear and ran along Corso Matteoti and then to the beach trying my best to stay in the shade. At 4:40 PM I drove back to the house and worked on the computer, swam and relaxed until it was time to shower and change for dinner.

        At length we discussed the fact that there was little chance the computer would arrive the next day and that it was best for all of us to head back to Arese in the morning.  So for our last dinner we went at 9:15 PM to L'acchiappasogni [Via Aurelia, 221 +39-01-855-1965] which is just down the hill before you get to Zoagli.

    

 

        We had some nice house red vino and they served these quiche-like things with salumi for anitpasti (below left.)  I had ravioli c ragu and pine nuts (below right.)

   

        Everyone else had sliced steak (below left) while I had il morbido arrosto di vitello which is sliced veal (below right.)  It was all very good.

    

        They had a wonderful dessert tray, and they were nice and gave each of us a little taste of everything.

    

        We got back to the house at 11:30 PM, had some gelato and I called home.  Claire told us that she tracked the package on the FedEx website and that it had arrived at Malpensa airport (Milano.)  I felt a little relieved, but Dima warned me that Italian customs could be a very big problem.  Tomorrow we go back to Arese.  I got to bed at 2:15 AM.

KJH                                                                                      Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #10 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD

KHofferMD@AOL.comRETURN TO INDEX

Zoagli, Italy

Sent 7-8-05

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