I’ve had the great fortune of sharing one of the most impressionable stages of my life with someone who I met quite by chance, in a hostel in Grenoble, some 30 odd years ago. Claudia and I bonded immediately through the many trials of escaping the bondage of a hostel run by nuns, finding suitable lodging, fumbling through the tricky time of self awareness and boys, at the same time learning French, as that was indeed our main purpose at the time.

This was a friendship, unbeknownst to us then, that would stand the test of time and distance. We now live in different parts of the world, with our own families, trials and tribulations, our own celebrations. We’ve taken very different paths but always seem to end up in the same place, physically and emotionally. For at the drop of a hat, phone call or email, we can still pick up where we left off (after a quick recap), and continue the journey of life together.

I know that I am not the only fortunate soul to experience this type of life long friendship – and quite frankly there are many beautiful women in my life who have been true to me through my life’s journey and whose friendship I treasure deeply, but this particular friendship never ceases to amaze me primarily due to its very coincidental start, our very different backgrounds, traditions, experiences – and yet we remain friends to the end.

All this to say that when you call your friend of over 30 years, and say “I have a few days free in Europe – what are you doing?”, you know the answer will only be “Where and When – I’m there.” So what better place to meet than Genova and explore the Italian Riviera together.

Having not seen each other for over a year, the catch up time took a bit longer than expected but not even the beauty around us could stop the chatter. We managed to do so however, amidst the ‘oohs’ and ‘aaahs’ as we climbed the stony path to take in the magnificent views from the Lighthouse in Portofino, explored the Monastery dedicated to the Christian martyr Saint Fruttuoso and his deacons and meandered effortlessly through the cobble stone streets of Santa Margherita. At night the gentle breezes of the Mediterranean cooled the warm air making the Prosecco and pasta that much more enjoyable.

Certainly no better location to fit right back into each other’s life.

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