My Mum’s in Lugano, Switzerland (on the Italian border) and keeps sending me these pictures! I never knew it was so beautiful.
On the left is the small beach we found whilst walking along the marina, it’s family owned but not really suitable for sunbathing or anything. I thought it was so cute with the little boats and it looks out upon the mountains which you can sort of see in the background (I feel like iphone never does your eyes justice scenery always comes out differently on the camera). They had just made homemade lemonade which attracts all the motor wasps but it was so good and you can sit here and watch the boats sail into Palermo Harbor.
A beautiful gelateria along the seafront opposite the marina I spent so much time in here. I wanted to bring every single person I knew so I could get them to try a gelato brioche, oh my days they are amazing! Nearly every cafe/trattoria in Sicily is family owned so you get to know the owners well and they get you to try almost everything haha, and really you can’t say no. The first day I arrived I sat down and ordered a cafe freddo (ice coffee) from the waitor, but he wouldnt let me order it insisting he had something better for me. After a couple of minutes he comes out with a small cup full of what looked like beige slush and a spoon. ‘Provalo, Provalo’ (try it) he said, so a little bit hesitant I did and it tasted so good. Coffee granita Sicilian style is incredible. So he easily persuaded me to have one instead and then every time I came back he had one waiting for me. Sold.
Left is Sicily’s secret beach reserved for Sicilian families and their friends, it’s not advertised and you can only find it if you know where it is pretty much. The water is so clear and kids just run about catching fish and hermit crabs, we seemed to gain so many little followers whenever we went into the water and ended up trying to keep about 7 kids on a lilo they thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. That was one of the best days of the trip, you can’t see from the picture but the backdrop looks like you are in the dip of a canyon and all its walls are surrounding you and all you can see apart from houses along the front is the sea and waves. Reggeaton music is so popular so that’s all you hear playing which let me tell you is not hard to listen to especially on a beach :D
Mondello beach is the tourist beach of Palermo and they actually hold work outs there in the water and on sand. The girl who leads them just rocks up with a massive stereo, honestly I decided at that point that was my dream job !
I guess it’s a bit different from being a tourist but in the same sense the people of Sicily are so welcoming to people from all walks of life and from anywhere around the globe. They love to learn about other cultures and in return love to share with you their own. They (like most Italians) are extremely proud of their heritage, they will get you to try every flavour of gelato, all their recipes (guilty) drink their wine and marvel at their architecture. But in all honesty – who would refuse, it’s gorgeous.
There are so many elegant buildings and statues in and around the city you can’t really walk a street without seeing something interesting. Sicily has been inhabited by many different peoples over time including Arabs and Normans and all have left their mark in some way or another.
Palermo is made up of Piazza’s and Palazzo’s which if you don’t know your way around or have a map handy you’re gonna get pretty lost. The Piazza above is Piazza Domenico which is breathtaking, there’s a convent nearby so there’s nuns running around everywhere too lol. In the city center you have Teatro Massimo which is one of the largest theaters in Europe (below).
It’s so weird when you travel to different places and are so welcome. I couldn’t help but think that somehow we don’t do the same justice in London. Like imagine if everyone in London treated foreigners or migrants with the same respect and compassion that we expect when we travel, it’s really crazy when you think about it. Yes, abroad, they are polite and courteous because they want us to enjoy ourselves and spend our money, but is the opposite not being compassionate or understanding to people in devastating situations because they have nothing to offer?… like it’s inhumane. And all the time while I was travelling I just kept thinking about it, and what pisses me off even more if that I have no idea how to help or make a change.
When you have mixed heritage and live in one country, you always feel the need to explore the other side of where you came from, I know I do anyway. I love travelling, but I love travelling to Italy because I feel at home, and each time I learn something, see something, or eat something that I haven’t before. The first time I went to Sicilia (In Italian you pronounce ‘ci’ as ‘chi’ and ‘ce’ as ‘che’ – now I know you’re trying to say it) I was young enough to run around in only bikini bottoms, not old enough to remember much at all, so I was excited to go back. You hear stories (my dad doesn’t talk about anything else) and see pictures, but nothing is the same as experiencing the beauty of a place first hand. Hopefully I can share with you all the sights & secrets of my trip so you can live vicariously through me, or perhaps this will make you want to visit for yourself one day.
Since I was a baby I had a St. Christopher on a gold chain that I’ve worn all my life, but recently it broke so I thought where better to replace it than in Sicily. When I arrived I ventured out expecting to fall into a row of prestigious shops (this is Italy?) but there weren’t really any around the area. I stayed just outside of Palermo, in Foro Italico/Umberto, a fishing district in the 1900’s. It was honestly beautiful and made me forgot all about buying a new charm.
This is the green before the Marina where all boats on their way into Palermo dock. We played football and volleyball and flew kites here in the afternoon through sunset. The temperature drops slightly so you can stay out in it and play overlooking the Marina before you go back and get ready for your evening meal. (It’s all good until you hear a wasp coming for you, they are honestly so big they sound like they have motors!).
I think that when you go away you give yourself time to breathe, time to think things through and recuperate. Physically my body needed some chill time but also my mind and I think everyone needs that at some point or another. Sicily is a beautifully slow paced place, like anywhere you have to side step the hustle and bustle of a city, but generally the Mediterranean way of life is a mellow and gentle one and it’s one of the reasons I’m always so drawn to it. In Jesolo the roads are shut off from 8pm at night so everyone can walk the streets, buy ice cream and slices of pizza and play arcade games and sit on the beach and when I was younger I could never understand why we didn’t do that in England (obviously now I do) but the fact that it was a possibility somewhere, coming back was like i’d left a dream. Returning is like slipping back into one.
It was only now, looking back in borrowed sight, she understood just how naive she had been.
She had been blind to the ways of people.
Catalina believed that when the world spoke, it did so with conviction, with truth.
But she was deaf to it’s slander, it’s malice, it’s torment.
Her actions had arisen only out of love, out of hope.
But now they were feelings she wished she could banish, for what good can they do?
She was face to face with their consequences.
Her family face to face with war.
© elenaxtina.com, 2015