Kiri and


Revelation on the Riviera

January 20th, 2014 (by Steve)

When one imagines the Italian Riviera, it’s a picture of sun, sea, boats and lots of people in lycra on bikes. Well, that’s a pretty accurate picture, but maybe with a little more rain in January! We did have a couple of glorious days as well as the rain though.


As we travelled along the coast, we had been told that if we were passing near to San Remo, we had to visit Bussana Vecchia. Some of the time, we do what we’ve been told, so we stopped for the night by a marina in Arma di Taggia then the following morning we drove to Bussana Nuovo (“new” Bussana) and parked Bertha. Our destination was a village that had been ruined in an earthquake in the late 19th century and subsequently abandoned. Then, in the 1960s a group of hippies moved in and started creating art there. Their legacy is an exciting half-ruined village filled with artists, which is best reached on foot.


Bussana Vecchia was right up our street; especially as it was so quiet (we imagine it’s busier in the summer). We enjoyed exploring the alleyways and thinking about how great it was that something that was once seen as worthless was now a place of beauty once more. As it was so small though, we did feel as if we were intruding, so we were almost ready to leave when we arrived at Ronald’s place. Now Julien + Anais had told us that we had to go to Ronald’s place (the only house in the village with a windsurf outside!). We summoned courage and wandered into the garden, where we met a British guy called Roger, a Swiss guy called Max, a dog called Bea and a goat with an identity crisis (she thought she was a dog too). The few hours that followed were some of the best of the trip so far.


Roger + Max explained some of the history behind Ronald’s place; how the vision was to set up a place where artists could come and live for free; sharing all resources and working together. We were invited to join them and stay with them for a while; if it hadn’t been for the fact there was nowhere to leave Bertha and our time constraints, we might well have. It was just such an inviting and exciting model of community. After sharing coffee, having a look round and showing Pablo (another resident artist) how to set up a playlist of Lou Reed songs on the computer(!) we headed to Roger’s house/studio down the hill.


It was great to share time with Roger; getting a measure of what makes him tick and seeing the passion when he talked about his ways of working. Often when you see art in a gallery, it can seem a little sterile, whereas we were seeing pieces that he was working on in their natural environment. It’s not often that you’re asked by an artist for your opinion on whether a piece is complete… that’s a very deep question with any art! We learned a lot from Roger, and I think that Kiri particularly got a lot from that meeting… and in fact the whole time in Bussana Vecchia. She had a revelation that I’m sure will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows her; she’s born to paint.

From there we floated to the border on petrol fumes, as French petrol is sooo much cheaper, before heading towards the Verdon Gorge; Europe’s response to the Grand Canyon. We took half a day to just pootle around the southern lip of the gorge; stopping at every opportunity to breathe in the natural beauty. It was a gorgeous (sorry) day; if it hadn’t been a little on the chilly side, you could have mistaken it for summer and the place was deserted. Aside from Bertha being hit by a fallen rock (it’s ok, she’s fine, but it’s a reminder that those warning signs are there for a reason!), it was a perfect day.


And so from here we move south; a few more days of France, then we’ll be in sunny Spain.

All posts about France,italy

Europe – a new chapter

Bertha vs. Bertha

Another breakdown (in communication?)

Oil’s well that ends well

KIST 2EU… this time it’s personal


Revelation on the Riviera

A tale of two cities…

A Christmas Oasis

Up Pompeii

Climbing every mountain

To toll or not to toll…

B-right side of the road

2 Responses

Wow!! Italian riviera and Verdon Gorge in one post!!!

Looks like you guys are have a cracking time, bet you don’t really want to venture back to the shire!

How large was the rock that bashed Bertha?

It’s great!

The rock was the size of a house!!! No lie. OK, that house may have happened to have belonged to a snail…

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