Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

15 February 2012

Our 1960 Journey to A New Life in New Zealand. 5.

This is a diary from 1960. The actual entries are in typewriter font. Added comments are in red. The photographs are from that date, some in colour (expensive in those days)

 [Washing Day, Genoa]
18th January

Docked in Genoa at 0600. Went ashore at 0930. Very attractive city but whiffs a bit! Composed of a few fast traffic roads and very narrow and intriguing alleys. The whole city is pink in colour (due to local stone?) and built on hills the highest of which are snow-capped and overlook the harbour which faces south.

We had a spaghetti and red vino (cost 2/3d) in a small café in an alley.

[Ken and Ian joined us in what we realized later was a local workman’s trattoria. The hand-written menu was such a work of art that we decided to steal it as a memento; but we noticed, after Pat had slipped it into her basket, that the waiter, a tall, thin, black-curly-haired man with a sad expression was doing a sort of Greek dance, slow, balletic, graceful strophe and antistrophe, searching for it, looking under and around the gingham-clothed tables. As he turned his back we dropped the menu on the floor. He spotted it, gave us an odd look, but said nothing...]
 [Pat, Genoa]

Back aboard at 1500. Now sailing down west coast of Italy, can see lights of shore towns.

19th January

Steaming down the west coast. It is occasionally in sight. Passed a mysterious looking pair of islands, probably uninhabited, but there was a lighthouse on one of them. [I. Pianosa? I. di Montecristo?] Sea very calm and weather gentle.

Went for a swim in the indoor pool, water warm.

[We were always nervous of swimming in the ship’s pools because there were about 200 small children on board! It’s possible that they were prohibited from this particular pool so it might have been relatively piddle-free].

Today is Princess Maigrette of the Netherlands' birthday and ship’s officers wear full dress and there is a special dinner.
We passed through the Messina Straits [Between Sicily and Italy] tonight at 2300, it was a very pretty sight with the lights of shore on both sides twinkling in the night as the ship slipped past.


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By Don Donovan