My bike, the Bigo and the Bruzzu

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What do you do on Sundays? I like to spend them lazily: in winter it’s cold and in the summer do you really want to go to the beach with all those people there? I know I know, we’re a website which promotes tourism and this doesn’t seem like a great start. Three or four times a year I’m struck by an unexplainable urge. I get on my sports gear, take out my bike, Fagiolina, and go on a trip. A couple of weeks ago I went on one. To the Porto Antico. No, I’m not telling you where I live! If I do you’ll think badly of me! What a trip! What an effort!

Anyway, I take Fagiolina and speed towards the centre. I speed, I speed, you can’t say anything! With that appeal which is a bit…exotic…like extravagant local street artist Melina Riccio, but I speed!

porto antico genova bigoDespite living in Genoa for many years I have never been in the Bigo. Mainly for two reasons: the first is I’m lazy, the second is I suffer from vertigo. Ah, there’s also a third reason, why spend money when from the Bigo you get more or less the same view as from the Millo building (the pink one which has the lovely bookshop and the high-quality supermarket)? I don’t know! But for once I forget my stinginess. For those who aren’t from Genoa, the Bigo is a panoramic lift similar to the cranes which were once used in the port to unload and load good from boats. It was designed by Renzo Piano for the Expo of 1992.

It takes around 25 minutes to get from my house to the centre, my cruise ship speed is notably reduced by pedestrians who I continually need to avoid on the pavements. And if you’re asking why not cycle on the road, the response is the following: I don’t want to become a fritter under the wheels of the 18 bus! So, if I can, I avoid the road. If there were cycle paths in Genoa I would use them but it doesn’t seem there are many! Or maybe I do not know where they are.

Pedestrian advice for pedestrian friends, natives and non-natives:

  • You’re not the only human beings on the Earth, it’s hard to accept but that’s how it is.
  • The bicycle bell is not a musical instrument, it warns you that someone is arriving behind you.
  • Hold children by the hand.
  • If you’re walking in Via San Vincenzo and the dog you have on the lead is in Via Venti that’s not a good thing.
  • If you’re old, have a limp, are thoughtful or all three, don’t mill about in the middle of the pavement, do as cats do, walk near to the walls.

I arrive at the Bigo and after some moments of hesitation I decide to buy a ticket. It goes up. My head spins from vertigo. A robotic voice explains the beauties of Genoa, but I can’t hear it. There’s nothing else I can do but concentrate on her, on Genoa: on the sea, roofs, the elevated road with its cars which seem those from a child’s racetrack. The hills are nearby as is the lighthouse: if I outstretch my hand I can touch its point. It’s all beautiful. The vertigo passes when we’re going back down and from the ground, for a moment, I’m sad not to still be up there.

Tporto antico genova bigoo get over the afternoon’s exertion I decide to go and have a look around the high-quality supermarket. Whilst I look at the purple potatoes, blue carrots and rainbow coloured chicory with delight, a man who seems a Christmas piper comes close to me and puts one of his cheeses in my hand. He explains, with a strong western accent and some words of dialect, that it’s called ‘Bruzzu’, the cheese, not him, the piper. His sheep make it and, as well as being biological, it’s also delicious. I find myself at the till with this unknown cheese in my hands. I’m easily influenced and find it hard saying no. I should work on that, I know.

Bruzzu is a creamy cheese made from the whey of sheep’s milk heated to 70°-90° and fermented. Once shepherds added grappa or wine. It has a slightly spicy taste which is great as a condiment for pasta or spread on bread with a couple of slices of tomato. It’s made in Triora, the witches town, and in nearby areas (Molino di Triora and Cosio D’Arroscia). I think it has something magical about it.

So, at the end of the afternoon I pedal home, have a shower and cook trofie pasta with Bruzzu, sundried tomatoes and a sprig of basil, as my piper friend told me to, and I’m happy. A happiness that comes from small things, so small that you could lose them.

To the next trip!

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