Actually, I've been back for 2 days but I needed to absorb the trauma of being without sea, pool and beach :P
I've missed you!!
And the internet...man, when I visited my cousin and she greeted me with a 'So, Harry Potter will die?' my heart stopped. Thought I missed some big news while I was stuck in Sea Land!
Nothing big was revealed, right? O_O
I'll have to recap the trip in 2 posts cause it was long, and each week was a totally different experience. So here I'll talk about the first week of trip, the one I spent visiting the whole island.
One note before we start: our lucky star must have been busy elsewhere during big chunks of our trip...lol.
Our plane was supposed to leave at 7:40AM, so we got up at 4 to go to the airport, with our car cause we traveled during the day Taxi Drivers were striking with a vengeance all over Italy. Our airport even made the news cause it was left completely abandoned, and people who landed in Milan had to travel by FOOT in order to get to areas served by public transportation. Insanity.
And even after all the trouble of parking the car in the airport for 15 days (cheap as hell, you'll see in the next post) the flight was late. We were left there waiting til 8:30AM and then they finally opened the boarding post.
We got late to Palermo obviously and the guy who worked as our transfer to the Hotel was pissed :P
We got to the hotel around noon and were told the meeting with our guide will be at 7:30PM.
So we went out to eat (and I adore fish plates, pasta with seafood in it, fried seafishes as second..yummy!), toured a bit the area (we were rather outside the city center but on the sea) and then spent the afternoon chilling in the pool.
7:30 we meet the guide, a guy named Attilio, and our trip companions. We were a group of 27 people. Mom and dad started talking to an old couple from Rome and since then they adopted us, pretended to eat with us at meals and travel with us during the free hours... for the 'joy' of my mother that's solitary to the core. LOL.
And so our week of crazy early waking up and constant change of hotels began.
First stop was Erice, a cute small town with a roman castle built over the ruins of a greek temple.
After that we visited Segesta, where I got to visit my first Temple! But turns out it was a fake one, built by almost unknown folks that tried to emulate the Greeks but ended up building it with obvious mistakes. The trip up to the temple was facultative because of that, but hell, I'm a classical lycee graduated, could I let this opportunity pass me? NO!
So I went to get the ticket and I found out that us bookworms who chose a Humanistic University Degree enter for free in almost each visit, be it a museum, a church or an archaelogical park :P
After that we went to Selinunte, a town that used to be the biggest greek colony but that got destroyed first by the Carthaginians and then by a huge earthquake in 1600. Very little was left, 'only' the ruin of 3 huge temples. The original project was to raise all 3 temples and build a huge archaeological park, but they managed to raise only one of the 3, the middle one as far as goes.
For the smallest one and biggest one only ruin were left but boy... the column's bases that were left were HUGE. It must have been a breathetaking temple.
After that we went to a wine cellar and tasted 3 peculiar kind of wines. My fav was the last one, wine obtained from almonds. Delicious!
Of course after that we rushed to the hotel to eat. Turns out we stopped for the night at the organized village we'd end up spending the second week of our trip! So we got a pre-taste of it, and of the
Agrigento! The land of the Temples!
That was what I was truly looking forward but... Surprise #1! There was a car accident on our road, we ended up really late in schedule and had to rush the visit. Surprise #2! Most of the temples were being fixed so they were enclosed in big curtains.
That made for a very bummed Stefy :(
Still being up there, on the Acropolis, looking down on the city and the sea, this immense blue on the background, from the sky and from the sea... I melted.
In the afternoon we visited a small town called Piazza Armerina. It became famous recently, cause they found an ancient roman estate submerged by a landslide. The ground floor survived the impact and that's what we got to see.
The peculiarity is that this whole estate was decorated in mosaic works. The floors, the walls, not only the nobles' rooms but also the slaves ones, the kitchen, the bathrooms... AMAZING.
Pics don't do it justice.
(This was a huge corridor, the floor was entirely made in mosaic works)
(Note: I got to see my first live Capitello Corinzio! *ecstatic*)
After that we stopped for 3 nights in the hotel right in front of the NATO base of Sigonella. Not a good place for vacationing. You know what its' like to stay in the middle of nowhere? No shops, no bars, only cement and this Base that inside had pools and the likes. Eh.
Siracusa! We visited the ancient roman amphitheater and the the famous Dionisio' Ear. It's a cave created by slaves under this Dionisio orders and it's famous for its amazing acoustic. It's made like a S, we enter it and the effect is brilliant... and the walls are so tall!
Sahe it was so dark inside, I couldn't get a picture.
In the afternoon we visited the small island Siracusa has inside the town and then moved to small town of Noto (literally: 'Well known'). The town got completely destroyed after the infamous earthquake of 1600 and was rebuilt fully in Baroque Style.
I'm not a big fan of Baroque but I was curious about the cathedral, it's supposed to be huge and breathetaking. Well, it was huge, that we could tell. But nothing else cause it turns out they were fixing it! Fully covered, FULLY. We went around hunting for postcards in order to get a general idea of the thing, that's how bad it was was *sigh*.
We climbed the Etna Volcano!
Well, up to 1900mt, we couldn't go up more cause the dude is in activity these days... in fact we kept hearing weird rumbling noises, kind of exciting :P
We visited some dead volcano openings, I even climbed down one of those :D
In the afternoon we visited Taormina, an elite sea town that's really IN. Stars like Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo came here, plus there was a beautiful Roman amphitheater that faces the sea.
We visited Messina in the morning, and I got to see one beautiful church clock, supposedly the second most elaborated one after the Prague one.
In the afternoon, we visited Cefalù.
(You can see by the amount of lines I'm writing how my interest and excitement went slowly down in the last 2 days of the trip...).
Day #6: We visited Palermo in the morning and we went to Mondello in the afternoon. It's this really famous beach town but it was a bit of a let down, rather typical beach town, nothing excessively beautiful.
Then we visited the town by night and said our goodbyes.
I was rather sad then, I had fun with these people, even tho there was only 1 guy my age, and 2 girls in their 30s but there was a riff there. I got along nicely with them up until the second to last evening. As I told you the old couple from Rome always wanted to dinner with us. During the trip the guy my age with his mother 'joined' the group so we were 7 people. That evening the 2 girls sat at the same table as the mom + son and if we sat down the couple wouldn't have fit. Dad said it and the girls moved to another table, but from then on they held a grudge toward all 3 of us.
Dad was wrong in what he did, no questions asked...but heck, I didn't do anything and told dad off, I was ready to go sit with them and no biggie but no, they cut my off as well.
Anyway, the next morning (Saturday) we got picked up to go to Sciacca and so our second week began!
But that's for another entry... this is already never ending, lol.
This silly italian girl got 2 crushes in as many weeks. But while the first one was a silly thing that she knew would lead to nothing, the second one left bruises, to the pride.