Monday, November 06, 2006

My First Week In Sicily

We arrived safely in Sicily last Monday evening after three LONG days of travel. On Saturday we flew from San Diego, CA to Norfolk, VA. We stayed Saturday night at a hotel in Norfolk and were able to sleep in Sunday morning. We arrived at the airport around 1pm Sunday afternoon and finally boarded our flight somewhere around 6pm. We flew through the night to Spain.

What was supposed to be a two hour stop in Spain turned into six long hours. Unfortunately we couldn't leave the terminal and there wasn't much to see out the window. We tried to sleep on the benches, but it was hard to get comfortable with the A/C up full blast (I left my sweater on the plane). We also had to go through security several times - as in everyone out of the gate area, stand in line, check ID, go back to gate area, sit for awhile, then everyone out of the gate area, stand in line, check ID, then back to the gate area. We (everyone on the flight) decided that the Spanish must think its hilarous to make all of the Americans stand in lines and then sit down and stand in lines and sit down and get the idea.

We finally re-boarded the plane for the final leg of the trip to Sicily. We arrived around 7:00P in the dark so we really didn't have a clue about our surroundings. The only thing we could see, other than the lights of the towns was the red glow from the lava flow on Mt. Etna - amazing!

Monday night wasn't the best...something about three days of airline/airport food didn't agree with me and I was up sick most of the night and then slept it off most of Tuesday. Not my first choice of activities for my first day in Sicily. It wasn't until Tuesday evening that I got a peek at my surroundings. Wow!

We are staying in temporary housing in a little town called Motta. It is built up on a hill with a castle/fortress at the top and has majestic Mt. Etna as the backdrop - truely spectacular. At night we can see the lava flows and fountains at the top of Mt. Etna. We are hoping to take a tour up the mountain in the near future to get a closer look.

Most of the week was spent in orientation classes to get us acquainted with the culture of the island. In the evenings we did a little bit of exploring, but we didn't go very far until Friday night. We discovered the local mall which has a lot of great stores, ate at a great little restuarant in Motta and got lost in Catania.

Driving in Catania was an experience! Italian drivers certainly have a different philosophy than American drivers. One of our classes this week was for driving and they showed us this little video to illustrate the differences between Italy and the rest of Europe. Italians Vs Europeans

Yesterday I finally pulled out my camera for our tour to Nicosia and Sperlinga. Our tour left at 8:30A and took us west for about an hour and a half to Nicosia.

Nicosia from the bus

Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore

Ceiling of Cattedrale di San Nicolo

Organ in Cattedrale di San Nicolo

The next stop on our tour was Sperlinga. Sperlinga is known for its cave dwellings and Norman castle.

Sperlinga from the bus

One of many homes built into the rock

Remains of the Norman Castle

During our tour of the castle we had the opportunity to climb to the top. It was steep and perilous, but we made it! The steps were carved out of the mountain and worn down to an angle by hundreds of years of use.

The view from the castle with Mt. Etna in the distance

Looking down on Sperlinga from the top of the castle

After our trek up to the top of the castle we were famished and traveled to an agriturismo near Gangi named Casale Villa Raino. We had a fabulous meal with food that just kept coming. I think there were five courses in all! The meal took about two and a half hours - we started with antipasti, all manner of vegetables, bread, and hommade wine; then we moved on to the primi piatti of pasta, two different kinds, one with a tomato sauce and the other with a mushroom sauce; for secondi piatti we had a sausage, small thin piece of pork, lamb, and potatos; after the meat they brought out a salad; and for dessert it was fresh fruit, a cannoli and hommade limoncello.

Casale Villa Raino

Today we drove out to Mineo, the town that we will be living near. We move into our three bedroom townhome towards the end of the month. It will be amazing to have nearly three times the living space that we did in California! I can't wait for this weekend so we can get out and see more of the countryside.

1 comment:

Trav'ler Jenn said...

Amazingly beautiful! I am sooo jealous! I want to be back over yonder! Keep me posted. I think a drooling adult is always appropriate when it comes to travel!
Can't wait to see those lava flows!
Love you lady!