flower power: when some die there are new to take over.
sucking the marrow out of the last days of summer, taking every chance to a swim in the mediterranean we get. and blessed by an extraordinary warm summer and fall here in sicily we can still enjoy this, even early november! it’s a great feeling swimming, looking at the first snow on the top of etna. (as we do friends back home post on facebook about their first ski outings!)
coming from the cold north, a country on the arctic circle, a visit to sicily means stumbling across lot of foreign (or exotic at times) food. nowadays we find most of the fruits and vegetables also at home, in finer food stores. but not all, and not as fresh or fine as here. and absolutely not still growing on their trees or plants. the taste of these fichi d’india is not foreign anymore – it’s really good!
thanks to our fantastic hosts we got a marvellous day at etna, the still active volcano just north of catania. at almost 2000 m above sea level i walked the moon-like landscape in an undershirt only. on the other side of this crater was standing a solitary man making me think of astronauts, and the song by the police from back in the days.
giovanni e patricia – vi ringraziamo per una gita meravigliosa!
our first week here in catania has passed, we have still seven so a lot of time to see and discover more! making a summary already seem inappropriate, but a collection of first impressions fits:
and it’s hard not to start with etna, the volcano just north of the city and visible more or less everywhere you are in town. smoke slowly and constantly evaporating reminding the citizens of it’s active life.
as any italian city there are many churches, casting an eye into a narrow street not seldom leads your view to a church, or a piazza with a fountain and a café where you have a coffee (an espresso of course) and, many italians still, a cigarette.
moving on to one of the many markets we meet one of the catanian specialities, horse meat. and a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables – enough to deserve a separate post later. just as the fish market.
so far we come across a few parks, the largest is villa bellini which is nice and well maintained. closer to us is villa pacini which mostly is quite rough and looks like not totally friendly at night but actually has a corner with a great playground. if you need one. there is a railway passing through on a bridge and under the arches men play cards, or just sleep their sorrows away.
walking further towards the south, direction airport, is the beach. more centrally the waterfront is dominated by one of sicily’s most important ports. at this time of the year the commercially driven beaches are closed and the only option is the public beach. not very frequented in october, but the mediterranean sea is still above 20 c (70 f for you not on metrics…) and refreshing.
cleaning doesn’t seem to be everyday work here now, but the water is clean and there are apparently fish also in the pretty shallow bay. (the slope you can see starting to rise to the left is the very beginning of etna.)
on our way back we see more proof of the sea food based industry in sicily, which also is reflected on the menu of most restaurants – a lot of fish and shell fish, as well vegetables, fruit and, horse. most people here we’ve asked to take photos of have been very positive, and it’s giving me the chance to use my stumbling italian, and so were these men fixing their nets for tomorrow’s work.
returning to our catanian home, palazzu stidda, we are welcomed both by flowers and the very charming and friendly giovanni & patricia hosting us for this time, and making sure everything is working for us during our stay. there is absolutely nothing wrong with the sicilian hospitality, that’s for sure – not just a first impression.