Category: Story

Easter Greetings from Loano !

Happy Easter everyone! Since Thursday afternoon we are in Loano, staying on Luna Azzurra.

We are four this time: My “oldest” girlfriend Michelle – we know each other since kindergarten – and a friend of hers, Dounia, are with us. Partly for a short holiday – on Sunday afternoon they will drive back to Switzerland – and partly to help us to mount the new bimini. OR SO WAS THE PLAN!

Another reason is that Michelle might rent Luna Azzurra during the summer with some friends, one of them has the sailing license, and she wanted to have a look at the boat and the marina.

What have we done so far?

On Thursday afternoon, we drove directly to Albenga, there you find a huge shopping mall, to buy groceries. Then back to the Marina di Loano, where we started to arrange ourselves and get comfy on the boat. I have a strong feeling, the two “girls” like their cabins and feel at home!

Like I said, on Friday it was planned to mount the new bimini. Well, was….. Unfortunately, the manufacturer in Germany couldn’t finish it in time. Although I’ve tried everything last week, even called them to push the production, but it turned out that 12 weeks delivery time wasn’t enough… What a bummer!

I’m not saying, it’s the manufacturers fault! Patrik and I should have ordered a week or two earlier. But we took it for granted that the mentioned, approximately 12 weeks in the offer, would be plenty! Well, next time we’ll know better….hahaha!

So, according to the administrator, the bimini was finished this week and sent to Loano. It means it should arrive withing next week (fingers double crossed!!). Luckily, Patrik and I are still here for a week (instead of being out sailing…..*grumble*….).

Sadly it’s only the two of us then and I hope we’ll manage to mount this vast structure! Patrik and I would have been super happy about Michelle’s and Dounia’s help!

Saturday started quite gusty, but the sun was shining. So we decided taking Luna Azzurra out and enjoy a sailing day! It was 09.30 a.m. when we left the marina, everyone was in high spirits. The wind was great and soon the mainsail and jib were out. We reached between 6 and 7 knots and passed Savona and Genoa.

Sadly, Michelle started to feel a bit sick, but after we had some lunch she started to feel better again! The temperatures rose slowly, which was good – but unfortunately, the winds started to die at the same time. As soon we did our tacking (around 2 p.m.) in order to turn around, heading for Loano again, the wind was nearly down to zero… It meant we had to start the engine – too bad!

It was almost 5.30 p.m. when we reached our home marina. The sun was still out, accompanied by a light breeze and everyone had a big smile on its face! Happiness was evident!

After the mooring, it was time for an aperitif, then a shower and soon we started preparing our dinner!

Weariness wasn’t far away so it wasn’t even 11 p.m. when we went to bed…. Good night my friends, sleep tight!

Today is Easter Sunday, which means Michelle and Dounia will drive home today! After a late breakfast and discussing their trip, we will probably head once more to Loano, for a short stroll. I think between 4 and 5 p.m.  they will leave! Thanks for coming, you two and have a save trip back to Switzerland!

Patrik’s and mine plan for next week is still vague. The weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t very dazzling and we still strongly hope that our bimini will arrive…

 

A New Family Member !

We are very happy and proud to announce that a new member has arrived in our family…..it’s a…….Volvo !

Well, the main reason was Italy. Since we most probably will travel there more often now, we decided we need a “cheaper” car. Still big enough to load stuff – as we can with our Chevy – but one which isn’t as thirsty. We also have an Audi TT Roadster Cabriolet, but since it is a two-seater, it’s not very practical.

Although, it’s a real fun toy, which suits Italy and its climate.

Well, it’s obvious that we can’t have three cars and a Harley – so one had to go…. sadly it was our toy car! Since spring is coming, the chance of selling a cabrio was much higher than that of a heavy, 2 ton, always thirsty, American dinosaur! And we were right, the car dealer took our Audi as a partial payment.

Our Chevy has meanwhile had its service and the obligatory check-up and everything was fine – he passed the test! So now we are thinking about selling it as well and buy a small car again (preferably a cabriolet again). But there is no rush….

Anyway, about our new car: We were looking for quite a while until we settled for a (second-hand) Volvo XC60, which aren’t monster-big, but have enough room to load and transport things. It’s a 2015 model with 91’000 km, black outside with ivory-colored seats.

Plus it’s a diesel and it boozes almost half of the Chevy. Another positive point is, it’s a very comfy car, so when driving 6-7 hours to Italy you don’t feel like having been run over by a truck!

And you know what, here comes the clou: It’s the Volvo Ocean Race Edition! It’s such a fantastic coincidence! We couldn’t believe it when we saw the ad and when we drove to the car dealer and saw it live, we knew we’d found our new car!

Luckily, the guy was open and didn’t only accept our Audi for payment, but he also agreed that we get 4 winter tires in mint condition and he arranged to tint all the back windows. Of course check-up and service had been done as well when we picked it up last Saturday!

So yes, we are confident that we bought a good car and can’t wait to see, how little fuel it will use when driving to Loano the next time – which will be before the Easter weekend!

That means, see you next time on Easter with greeting from Italy and Luna Azzurra!  A Presto!

Visitors on Saturday Evening !

Well no, no martens this time (although, we still hear them sometimes running around on the rooftop)!

No, our dear neighbour – and Odins hero (catsitter) – Cony, her three children Tiana, Samuel and Kilian and Cony’s partner Lukas came to us for dinner. Their baby girl Lina was also with us, but she slept most of the time – with seven months no surprise!

We decided to do a homemade chilli sin carne (of course), accompanied by a crisp sallad and  fresh (bought) bread, for our guests – a second version a bit less hot for Lukas. Apparently, he not very used to chilli and Co. No problem for us, of course!

The benefit with this meal is, it can be easily prepared the day before and it actually tastes better by doing so. So Patrik was in the kitchen on Friday evening, cooking his tasty speciality. Soon the house was filled with the spicy smell…it was hard, not to fill two plates and eat a big portion already…

Since Lukas is a milk goat farmer and had to do the evening stable, he came a bit later than Cony and the kids. But around 8 p.m. we were complete and enjoyed the remaining aperitif.

The main course was a true success and everyone loved it…. no one reacted that Patrik used soya “minced meat”, as usual actually!

Of course we had a lot to talk about, since we hadn’t seen each other for a while. One big theme was Cony’s relocating with her kids. Since Lukas has his farm he has no intention of moving house, which is understandable.

So the only other solution was, that Cony and her kids move to Lukas. It took some time, since Lukas parents also live at the farm and a new house had to be built for them, otherwise it would have been too crowded.

Well this summer it will be finished and our neighbours will say goodbye to Uesslingen. Although, it’s not too far away – maybe 20 minutes from us – we will miss her and the children… And Odin of course! Countless times he made a visit to them, while Patrik and I were working. And of course, they were the “can openers” when we were away. So yes, it will be quite change, for us as well!

However, we still have a few months to spend some time together, so I guess we’ll make the best of it and visit each other as often as possible!

Here are a few photos of our evening together, hope you like them  🙂

Greetings from Italy !

We are in Loano and Borghetto Santa Spirito this weekend and wish you all an amazing time!

A Surprising Turn!

In case someone is interested concerning the outcome about the search for my roots. This is what happened:

My father actually contacted me by email! Sadly, he wrote that he hadn’t anything left from his father. The only photo he had of him, has been destroyed when he was a teenager….

So no, no letter or documents available. At least I know now how to write and pronounce the English name correctly 😃

But amazingly he also wrote that he never wanted to end our contact. The last time we saw each other (more than twenty years ago) and then said goodbye, we arranged for a new meeting. Unfortunately, afterwards I saw that on that date I had already arranged to meet my girlfriend, so I called and cancelled with my father. I told him that I was sorry and I would look forward to a new arrangement – which never came. Therefore, I thought, he wasn’t really interested keeping in touch….

Well, now I learned, that he thought the same. For in his eyes, I’ve cancelled the meeting with him because I rather wanted to go out with my girlfriend. Like, something “better” had come up, suddenly.

Ridiculous really…and albeit it’s such a long time ago, I know for sure, that I would never have done that. An appointment is an appointment!

So I explained that to him in a new email and also told him what a silly misunderstanding it must have been. He thought that I wasn’t interested to keep in contact and I thought the same of him….🙈

Anyway, last weekend we talked on the telephone, after he explained (again in an email),  that he and his wife would gladly meet me and my husband and we would be welcome at their home in Zurich. So we settled for a Saturday in April, Patrik and I are invited for dinner and I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about.

Isn’t it funny how life plays sometimes? Regrettably, I couldn’t find out much more about my family history, but instead, I’ve recovered my “roots” somehow, after all 🥂🍾

 

A First Wary Forecast

Well, since I’m a bit superstitious, I almost don’t dare to say it….

But we can’t deny that the last few weeks we did have some bookings for Luna Azzurra. Plus people are showing a general interest in her and ask questions by email.

So, considering that Patrik and I are new to this whole business, I would say we can be happy so far!

It’s still early in the year and we are not sure if people do usually wait a bit longer with booking boats for vacation. The weather isn’t really tempting either, perhaps a bit early to think about sailing, swimming and hot weather…. At least here in central Europe it still looks more like winter than spring. Luckily no more snow, but still chilly with cold winds. The sun is kind enough and presents herself sometimes, though!

When checking the weather in the south it’s a few degrees warmer and we envy the lucky ones there. We also saw on the webcams that the marina is starting to wake up from its winter sleep. On nice weekends people are there, fiddling with their boats, go out sailing or simply enjoy a few days on their yachts!

Yeah, Patrik and I do wish we would live closer to our Luna Azzurra!

As a little treat, we’ll drive to Loano on the 30th March and stay for one night (only). Most of all we have a customer who would like to test Luna Azzurra for a few hours on Sunday morning till early afternoon. Plus we plan to fix the bow toilet (nothing major, but it has to be done).

So why not taking the chance and do a little work on Saturday afternoon and meeting a guest on Sunday?

Furthermore, on Saturday evening we’ll meet someone who owns a sailing school in Loano. Naturally, we look forward to this gathering – who knows what comes out?

This time we won’t sleep on Luna Azzurra by the way, but in a small hotel in Borghetto Santa Spirito. Firstly, we always wanted to visit this little town, which lies just beside Loano. The other reason is that the effort of cleaning the boat after only one night isn’t worth it.

So yes, things are happening and good ones too! We definitely are very excited and hope for a good sailing season with many happy guests!

Cheers and Ahoy!

Searching for my Roots

No, I don’t mean my teeth, but my family history!

Not everyone knows that I grew up with a – very loving – Swiss stepfather. When I was two years old, my “real” parents got divorced. Fortunately, my mum – who is Swiss also – married again two years later and that relationship fitted perfect!

So, all things considered, my brother and I had a very happy childhood and our family was complete when our step brother was born a few years later!

The (already loose) contact with my real father – who is Italian – ended more than 20 years ago. I was sad at the beginning, because the break-up wasn’t my choice and I blamed myself for a long time. But after so many years it doesn’t bother me anymore!

Luckily, the contact with my grandparents (Nonna and Nonno, as they were called, since they were Italians) was always intact.

I know since childhood, that my Nonno wasn’t the real father of my father – but that is a much more tragic story, than a divorce!

If you want I’ll share this fascinating tale with you.

This is my grandmas story – her name was Anna, by the way:

World War II, although almost at its end, still raged in Europe and Anna was a beautiful twenty year old girl, who lived with her family in Naples, south Italy. As it was common in the south, religion and family honour was still very much alive then. Hmm….it still is, when I think about it.

Anyway, as we know from history, allied troops were also stationed in Italy. So it happened that my grandma met a young, good looking English fighter pilot and they fell in love! He’s name was James.

So far so good, it could be the start of a beautiful romance! Sadly, it’s not…..

James had to leave for a new combat mission after a while, but not before promising her and her family that he’ll be back and they would get married as soon as possible.

God, they must have been crazy for each other! It’s unimaginable, how painful it must have been to say goodbye under these circumstances.…

As if this wasn’t bad enough, my grandma found out that she was pregnant…..and that in south Italy and not married! We cannot imagine the drama that surrounded her. She was now the family’s disgrace and as soon as her belly started to grow, she wasn’t allowed outside the house anymore.

When they had visitors, they hid her in the closet…She must have suffered a lot. Not only was she worried sick about her beloved James, but also had to deal with her unforgiving family.

And all that in the madness of the gruesome war, albeit near its end!

Then came the probably worst day in Anna’s life: A letter came and informed her, that James had died on a mission in Malta! She must have been devastated….

I’m not sure, if the army informed her, or if James’ family sent her the letter and let her know about the tragedy. What I know is that his family – who lived in Liverpool – offered her to adopt her child, if she couldn’t keep it. He would be loved and well taken care of!

Well, apparently, this wasn’t an option for Anna, and when her son – my dad – was born, she kept it. I have no idea, how she got her way with the family and all that. But somehow she “won” and kept her baby. Well, let me tell you, she was a strong-minded woman!

Her son was baptized of the name Mario and lived in Italy until he was about twelve years old. As far as I know he had a happy childhood and was very spoiled – he meant everything to Anna.

But that was about to change, when she moved to Switzerland, in order to find work. Probably the perspectives were much better than in Italy. Here she met Giorgio from northern Italy, and soon they got married. For Anna it was not only love, but a perfect solution. Only little Mario was really jealous of his stepfather, suddenly he had to share his mum with someone.

So they moved to Zurich in a big apartment and soon had two daughters together – Mario’s stepsisters.

They had a good life, were hard working, the kids grew up, went to school, started to work…the usual.

When Mario was around twenty, he met my mum and they fell in love. Soon she was pregnant and they got married. One year later my brother was born, but unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out and when I was two, they divorced. I reckon, they were simply too young.

As I mentioned earlier, my brother and I always kept the contact to our grandparents and our two aunties.

Unfortunately, Mario wasn’t so keen on his two kids from his past and after two attempts from my side to keep in touch, I had to understand, that the interest was from my side only. So more than 20 years ago, it was the last time I’ve heard from him.

Anyway, my Nonna told me the whole story, about James, how she coped with her life in Italy, her joy about Mario and the move to Switzerland. Unfortunately, she could never show me any documents, photos or letters from her fascinating life. When I asked her about it, she told me that years ago, Mario wanted to do some family research, so she gave everything she had to him. As far I know, he found out where his father’s family in England lives. But he never dared to contact them.

My grandma died in December 2017, over 90 years old – about twenty years after my Nonno had passed away. And suddenly I realized that my father was the last person, who knew about our history and that he still had the documents his mother gave to him. Well, I certainly hope so…..

So this week I worked up the courage and sent a letter to Mario (he lives in Zurich since many years, with his new family).

My letter to him contains no accusation whatsoever and I explained that he wouldn’t have to worry about having to meet me, or something like that.

But I explained my thoughts, about our family and our extraordinary story. And in case it was true what Nonna had told me, about giving all the paperwork to him, I kindly asked him to send copies of the documents, letters and photos etc. to me. One day it would definitely be too late and I would miss an important part about my past! I don’t even know how the English family name is spelled correctly, I only know how to pronounce it (roughly).…

Well, meanwhile Mario must have received my letter….I truly hope he read it and is considering my request! Let’s see….waiting isn’t my strengths and this is a bit nerve wrecking, to be honest….!

Stop the Bloodbath

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