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The Allure of Gray
The manager of the Hotel Astor eyed me with suspicion as I walked through the lobby buttoning my coat. I nodded and smiled, knowing he must wonder where I could possibly be headed at 4:45 a.m. on a misty February morning. A combination of excitement and jet lag made sleep impossible, so I decided to watch the sun rise on the Mediterranean, for old time’s sake.
Nervi, Italy is famous for the winding and breathtaking Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi, a wide brick walkway that hugs the rocky coastline. It had been an intimate part of my life when I lived here—a safe place to wander, wonder, and while away many an afternoon. I knew that the sloping path at the end of the street was an entrance to it.
The wind bit my nose and cheeks as I stepped onto the passeggiata and shuffled across the red brick to claim a weathered blue bench beneath the dim glow of a gas lamp. I folded my arms against the ocean spray, my face frozen into a grimace, but despite the temperature, I was warm with memory. I missed my life here in Nervi, the surge and crash of waves and the briny scent of the air. I thought of the countless times I strolled here with my family and swam in the shallows that revealed themselves at low tide.
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