Monday, March 7, 2011

Sicilia impromtu

I decide to run to off with a friend to Sicilia. She wasn't going on vacation, just going home. Well lucky her... for living in such beautiful spot on earth. Loreana was in Verona and asked if I wanted to go. I after saying I would go for the upteemth time and not going, this time I just went for it. No regrets. Hadn't had a vacation since the honeymoon last year.


Palermo has reputation it doesn't deserve. A really beautiful place, when I was there, it wasn't too crazy. On the way from the airport to town, what was I thinking... Malaysia !!! Looks and feels like taking a bus from Singapore to KL ahaha. What a chill-out town, crowded but calm, a zen version of milano.

The temperature dropped to 10°C with strong winds, it was one the coldest period in Sicilia. Even in mid winter, it was a comfortable 20°C. We went sightseeing. Looking at all the beautiful buildings. But I preferred the blown up buildings. They hold more character then the beautifully restored ones. These buildings were bombed during the second world war and have been left as they were... unrestored. I was in a daze so I didn't take any fotos of the ones i really liked.

old building in Palermo

We walked around town and got really tired. So back to emanuela's and vicenzo's  apartment who were hosting as during this trip. (THANK YOU Emanuela and Vicenzo for hosting us!) Really cute apartment that looked like a tv studio. It has colourful stripe wall and a bright colour theme going on, totally different from the outside of the apartment.

Came dinner time and we went for a local favourit panino di milza... stewed spleen sandwich. The taste of milza was like liver. Strong tasting and I couldn't eat more than half a sandwich. We had some panino di crocche e panelle which is deep fried croquette (whipped potatoes) and chick pea patties sandwich dressed with lemon. Much friendlier tasting but heavy on the stomach. I had a sandwich and I could eat no more. We drove around looking for a place to hangout, but with the cold weather everyone stayed indoors.


train ride to Agrigento
Next day we headed for Agrigento. The weather was still gloomy. View from train was heavenly... rocky hills and the sea. We headed straight for Loreana's home which is a 20mins drive from the train station.

We headed to the town center after a super yummy lunch and a nap. Most of Loreana's friends were out of town mostly away studying. When they come back during pasqua (easter), the town would burst into life. We picked up luri's (loreana's) friend Valeria near the beach where she lived.

[Driving... A note about the driving style in Sicilia. Seems scary at first, but if you come to understand it, it's cool. The roads are steep, narrow with plenty of tight bends and turnings. They driving closely to each but do not touch. 30cm side by side would be a norm. In Palermo I saw a small pick-up (like this) going down a narrow lane with stalls vending clothes on both sides. The stall minders didn't even bat an eye. There less than 10cm gap on both sides. I was in awe. When you cross the road,you cross it casually like you own it, the drivers are used to it, they stop when someone is in front of them. Except in major junctions waiting for the drivers to stop and let u across is a bad idea. But apply this rule elsewhere, u will probably get killed... ;) They are really really good drivers! ]

We went around but it was really cold so there wasn't so many people about. We had apperitivo, sat around, went a bar named QOC and hang out some more. Met some of luri's friends and one of them drove us to a bar by the beach... Alfio is a surfer, does voluntary work, doesn't drink much and was a student of luri's dad. He had half a bottle of beer and the driving was scary even for their standard. He seemed liked a nice person.

Valeria up front with a surf board right in the middle.

me, Luri and Alfio
We survived the night, but I had a headache the day after. Off we went to Luri's granny's place. We passed Favara a town with a bad reputation. Saturday felt like a Sunday. It was one of the coldest day in that town, it snowed for 2 hours in the morning before we arrived. We put off going to vale dei tempi another day due to bad weather.
Luri's granny's place
the beach where we the previous nite
Sunday... We finally had sun. Off we went to the valley of the temple. I was given a brief history of Sicilia by Giovanna (luri's mom) relating to the greek temples.

The view was breath taking. None of these fotos do any justice to the actual scene before me. Trust the greeks to put a temple in on of the most beautiful spot in Agrigento. Surrounded with a view of the sea, hills, with sun and wind, it was not difficult to see why it was chosen for worship all those years ago.

This used to be Luri's playground, she ran around with friends getting drunk. The even had concerts there in the summer. ;) 

We went off to a trattoria to have some local food. We had zuppa di cozze, caponata catanese, pasta alla norma... what incredibly yummy. I was bursting at the seams. No pictures here, my camera was dead by then. ;)

We were by the beach again, same bar (why can't I remember the name...) with Simona and Valeria. They  were outside smoking, I tagged along. I wasn't really following the conversation, just watching some dogs playing, roughing it out (one was was humping it out... but in all the wrong positions, idiot dog!) 

I made hei mee (looks something like this) in the evening for dinner. I wasn't satisfied with it, it was so-so. The shrimps were the sweet type for sushi. It was the best possible for a last minute thing.

My last nite in Agrigento. What the heck! The trip was too short. I had a great time, even I didn't do that much. But I really needed a change of scene, just to clear my head. It's been a week since I've been back and must say, I really felt recharged and got a lot of things done already. By the way, thanks so much to Loreana, and her parents Giovanna and Angelo for the lovely hospitality and great food. I also learnt how to make stuffed caciofi (artichokes)...  (  ^ _ ^   )

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