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The adventures of the Mel

Piano, piano....meravigliosa Siclia

ITALY | Monday, 17 November 2008 | Views [671]

I thought I’d take a break from relaxing and learning Italian to update you on my past week! Mind you, I am about fed up with all the damn different types of tenses that exist! Passato prossimo, passato remoto, condizionale, imperfetto….haven’t even got anywhere near the future yet. Sigh. I personally blame you, Mum and Dad. It’s your fault that you weren’t fluent in other languages so I could have just absorbed them by listening and talking rather than going through the painful process of distinguishing between different tense usage. *emphasised sigh*

I have actually got a little bit to report on this time round, I’ve had a relaxing but full week. I have met some lovely people and I get to speak in Italian every day for at least five minutes (mind you, in theory I could be learning more, but it’s kinda hard to stick to a schedule when it’s your own timeline you’re working on). I’m still in Catania, and will be for at least another week – I really like it here; the place is great, I get free wifi and the staff are bloody ace and talk to me in Italian frequently. Sounds exactly like what I wanted….

ANYWAY….went out again with Daniele’s friends the following night (from my last entry) for dinner, which was a steep damn learning curve. The next day at breakfast I met a lovely Canadian couple who were having a short holiday. Not only were they absolutely gorgeous, but they also reminded me a LOT of Andrew and me….Jenny was excitable and talkative and full of beans and Bryan was lovely but had no strong feelings one way or the other. The numerous comparisons we made just cracked us up (yep, me and Jenny. Bryan just smiled). I could predict Bryan’s reaction to things in the same way she could predict Andrew’s….it was just gold, I tell you. Pure gold.

Anyway, went out for dinner later that night with Jenny, Bryan and Farid – a guy from Mexico we met at the B&B, with whom I forged a good friendship with over the ensuing days.  Dinner was absolutely fantastic – we talked for hours and were surprised at the passing of time – we were supposed to retire early because Jenny and Bryan had to catch a ridiculously early flight (getting up at a sparrow’s fart, Bryan said). Farid and I stayed out and had a drink and continued to chat. I actually miss Farid a bit – he was just fantastic. Not only was he gorgeous (absolutely killer eyes), but he was kind, funny, intelligent, and most importantly, respectful. He is the only man so far I’ve met in Italy that I have felt safe with – a typical response to “I have a boyfriend” is “well he’s not here is he?” Farid looked at me and declared me hopelessly in love and adopted me as mia sorella (his sister). He looked after me and protected me from leering Italians the entire time he was here. Every time they started chatting to me before I could say too much Farid would jump in with a “she has a boyfriend” and would make it clear that he expected no funny business. It was really nice to have a friendship that I felt safe in.

But, as always, I digress. When having a drink at the hostel, Farid struck up a conversation with a group of young locals and one thing led to another and all of a sudden we were in their car zipping across to another bar (sokay mum, I checked that the driver wasn’t drinking!). We ended up having a few drinks there and didn’t get home until about 2am. Far too late for this not-spring chicken.

We organised to meet up with them again the next night, after dinner. Meanwhile, at dinner we met Sidney, a guy from Brazil who then joined us for dinner and yet again, we sat there talking for bloody ages. Sidney was also really nice and interesting to talk to. Farid left to go and find a girl he had organised to meet and I stayed with Sidney for a bit longer, chatting and the like until I was tired and had to go home. The next day it emerged that Sidney had bumped into Farid (whose date stood him up – poor Farid!) and Giuseppe (the local boy) and they drank until 6 in the morning! Crazy bastards.

The next night was supposedly Farid’s last night, although we realised later on that his flight was on the Saturday rather than the Friday. We went out for a few drinks yet again, also meeting up with Giuseppe’s friend Daniele. Another late night and I was feeling pretty damn tired.

The next day Farid and I went for a day trip to Siracusa (Syracuse), which started off fairly dully but improved considerably. Walking through most of the town was not very exciting – it was just an average city. There was a park called Parco Archeologico della Neapolis which had a few ruins, including a Greek Theatre, Roman Amphitheatre and a giant sacrificial altar.

We made our way to Ortygia, a small semi-island part of Siracusa. This was absolutely lovely. The whole cobblestone/pretty building combination with quite a beautiful church and a lovely atmosphere. Saw an absolutely stunning sunset and watched a game where water polo meets kayaking.

I’ve decided that I quite like the food here in Sicily – eggplant is a huge staple here, which means it’s actually quite easy to get vegetarian meals. One favourite is called ‘norma’ – pasta with a tomato sauce, eggplant and ricotta cheese. It’s bloody ace!

That almost brings me up to date – today I went for a really damn long walk around two towns/suburbs called Aci Castello and Acitrezza. I took a bus part of the way out to Aci Castello but got off early and walked along the coast, smelling that ocean air and watching the fishermen cast their lines into the deep blue water despite the chaos of it crashing into the black volcanic rock below.

All in all I walked about 10km and I was exhausted at the end of it. At Acitrezza there is a protected marine park with three structures not unlike the twelve apostles. I sat down for a while and just watched the waves crash against these and other volcanic remnants, enjoying my Sunday afternoon.

And that’s about it. I have exactly a month left now, which is pretty exciting. I’ll hang around here in Catania for a while I think, at this stage I’ll be here for another week but in all honesty I can’t see myself moving on very quickly. Until next time I can be bothered….


Aci Castello/Acitrezza photos

Catania/Siracusa photos


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