Monday, March 30, 2009

Caltagirone & Catania

Up until this point in my parents' visit the weather had been pretty good.  Cold, but not too bad.  That changed, however on Friday, the 20th. My dad had taken off on the bike and the rest of us were waking up and getting ready for the day. As we were nearly ready to leave dad came back and said it was too windy.  He had been up on a ridge, fought the wind, and decided that it would be smart to come home.  He decided to join mom and I for a trip into nearby Caltagirone.

It was cold and wet up in Catagirone, I didn't even take my camera out of the car. We parked, walked into the centro, and to the famous stairs.  Mom wanted to go back to the cermic shop where she bought a few pieces two years ago. That particular store was all the way at the top so we started the climb.

About halfway up the rain started, and the wind was strong.  I managed to hold on to my umbrella, my dad's got turned inside out.  It was eerie being up so high on the stairs with the wind pulling and pushing me, the steps wet with rain beneath my feet.  I hoped that the wind wouldn't catch my umbrellla the wrong way and pull me down the stairs.

Luckily we made it just fine, a little cold, definitely wet, but safe to the top and our destination. Mom found her pattern and picked out a few new pieces.  We also told the owner that the lid to their sugar bowl had broken and he even through in a new one for free.

As we made our way back down the stairs we stopped in to a few other ceramic shops.  Mom bought a few gifts to take back to people in the states.  When we reached the bottom we were officially cold and I was in desperate need of a cappuccino.  We found a nearby bar and relaxed for a bit.

As we were getting ready to leave Mom remembered that she had been carrying around Blackhorse Coffee cups. Blackhorse Coffee is a coffee shop in my hometown, San Luis Obispo, CA. While I was back in the states for the holidays I became a regular and introduced my mom to the shop. On their wall they have pictures of customers holding Blackhorse coffee cups in different locations around the world. So, we thought we needed to contribute so mom sent me a few paper cups and we went back to the Caltagirone steps for a few pictures. Sadly, I don't have them to share here, they were taken on mom's camera, but hopefully soon she'll update her blog and you might be able to see them there.

After our litte photo shoot we headed back to the car, cold and ready to be out of the elements.  We headed home, had a bit of lunch, and then relaxed for a bit.

Later that afternoon we headed toward base to run a few errands.  We were also meeting several of Les' brothers from the lodge to go into Catania to feed the homeless. We had a very good turnout this time. Last time there were only four of us that volunteered. This time, I didn't even count, but quite a few people came out to help.  When we arrived at the mission we found out that another group had also volunteered that night.  There were so many volunteers that many of us were just in the way.  Oh well :) Too many people helping is much better than too few.

After serving at the shelter our entire group caravaned to a Chinese food restaurant in Catania.  We hadn't been to this one before and it was awesome! By far the best Chinese food I've had in Italy.  We enjoyed a couple hours of declicious food and good company with lots of conversation and laughter. After dinner we made the long drive back home and fell into bed happy and tired.

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