. It was all industrial and there was actually a physical barrier between the public spaces and the harbor. Apparently there is still, as it has always been, a Port Authority and City Council and the City has no jurisdiction over what happens in the harbor. But, they had to get along to update the harbor when the business just wasn't there. That's part of what our project is about- trying to bring new life to another part of the harbor.
So anyway, got a mask and snorkel for about $30 and actually, it's a really nice mask and snorkel. It will be good down on the dock. So we got on the boat and traveled down the coast (can see photos on photobucket) for about an hour and pulled around a little jut in the landscape to find a monastery and tower tucked and hidden in among the trees of the Portofino National Park. The monastery is from the 11th and 13th centuries and I believe is still in use to a degree. When we got there it wasn't too crowded. The beach is very small. We found our way onto the rocky beach. It's rocky, but smooth rocks. From what I have read the beach originally was not there. The monastery sat right on the water. Throughout the day there were a few more boats full of people that come through. Apparently you can walk from San F. to Portofino, and that's what Chris proceeded to do. I had read that the hike was pretty tough, and have to admit did not have the interest
. Besides the monastery there are a couple of restaurants perched among the rocks as well as a couple of extra buildings. We think it may have been an inn, but we're not sure. One of the restaurants was on the beach next to the arcade (where i imagine little boats would have pulled up and dropped off their goods at the monastery) had the seating area on the beach, but the kitchen was up on the second level of the monastery. Therefore, you would hear this whirring sound that sounded like a fishing line being released when in fact it was a basket being hauled up to the kitchen with an order. When the order was ready the basket would be sent back down. Don't see that in the States. Another thing you don't see in the States are the dogs going everywhere- restaurants, parks, cars, taxis, boats, everywhere! It always surprises me when they are in restaurants.
We spent the day on the beach, doing a little sketching, a little reading but the best part was the snorkeling. Henrique and I swam around the bay into a little area that was full of little boats and some free divers. From what I have read there was a drowning in this part of the bay and the person's family commissioned a statue of Jesus placed under the water. The water is an array of blues that i can't even explain to you. They are teal and indigo and magnificent. When you come up on Jesus, the rays of the sunlight reach down to his outstretched arms. He is standing on a pedestal that swirls around like a nautilus shell and swirls down into the rocky bottom. There are fish and simple rocks with green plants growing on them and black sea urchins. It is a very solemn site and the statue is beautiful. Henrique had an underwater camera and so he has some photos. Hopefully I can get some from him and post them. I want to do justice to the color of the water, but my camera just doesn't. I don't know how long we were out there
. I went out snorkeling again by myself. The water just draws you in. You want to drink it up. It got a bit more crowded on the beach. We couldn't leave until the boat came back at 540. Elise and I got a birra at a bar, as well as walked around the monastery. She can't sit in the sun for long because of her fair skin, so she didn't even get in the water.
Eventually we caught the boat home, walked back to the Villa and had a nice dinner of foccacia, formaggio, salami and ham. While the food is great here, you find that you don't wrap yourself around food the way we do at home. I find that you just eat a little and move on. Not a bad thing. Wish I could move on from the diet coke.
Gotta get some work done. Glad to see State with a win. Am listening to Clemson now.
Oh yea! had a great conversation with Henrique about architecture. Basically we discussed that he feels Clemson professors push the avant garde style of architecture too much. His feeling is that he finds the students disregard any sort of design that is not absolutely new, and his feeling is that only 1% of architects actually create new designs, and of those architects they usually get a client and build a structure for them that is not very functional. His feeling is that it is better to have a good program and function of a space that is useful to the people using it and how it relates to the space and the city. We discussed that he is trying to figure out in his own mind how to start a project and get a good understanding of the space initially because every project is so unique. It made me feel SO much better that perhaps I am not incapable of doing this, that perhaps I am actually in the majority that I don't want to recreate architecture for the world
. Henrique said that he really disapproves of how most Clemson professors he has dealt with put down their students during critiques and don't tell the students why the design isn't good. His feeling is if he says anything he will back up his comments every time. He will also never comment in his student's final review other than what were the successes and what were the failures, but he feels that a lot Clemson professors wrap up a student's project by telling them that they should have "a, b, or c", and he feels that that is the failure of the professor to not have taken care of that before the final presentation. Anyway. He is my style of TEACHER, not critique-r. I appreciate his approach and think I am going to like him even more. I don't care if you critique me, but tell my WHY my project needs work. I obviously don't know if I have taken the time to design it that way! I think more than anything I see this conversation as the confirmation and beginning of my confidence in knowing that I don't have to be cutting edge, that there are professors out there willing to teach the way I want to be taught which only means that I can go into other studios and let the bad professor's ridiculousness roll off my back. We'll see!
The started with, you guessed it, a bread run. Henrique wanted some bread for the weekend since we were going to make sandwiches for our day out. Admittedly, I am getting used to wanting fresh bread every day. I usually don't eat the bread except for breakfast, but it is SO good fresh. Was in there with the local nun this morning. Seeing that always makes me chuckle for some reason. Got the bread, understood the weekend lady at the bakery a little bit better, made my lunch, got ready and we were on our way. Had to catch the 940 boat from Genova to San Fruttuoso, but we wanted to have time to stop at the dive shop on the way to the boat. You have to understand that there aren't places to go and get say a container to put my studio stuff in or a shower basket. Unlike the States there are only small "Chine" shops (which means shops run by the Chinese) for little goods like that. That's why I was very shocked about the dive shop on the main street along the harbor. The other thing about Genova is that until they opened the harbor to the public in the late 90s, most Genovians have never been down to the harbor