Tag Archives: sicilia

The Flavours of Sicilia pt. 3

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 !

The Flavours of Sicilia pt. 1
The Flavours of Sicilia pt. 2

The Flavours of Sicilia pt.2

Sights

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. IMG_6203

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).

IMG_6441 For those of you that like street art Sicilians go crazy for it, so here’s a bunch of stuff I found off Piazza Domenico.

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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.

The Flavours of Sicilia pt.1

The Flavours of Sicilia

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.

Serenity

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. IMG_6522

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!).

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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.

Lei e Taormina

 

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Whatever evil may fall upon you, it must be respected. Only once it is respected can it be warded away by Cornicello. The symbol of The Horns sacred to the Old European Moongoddess alone can protect the bearer from ill fate and danger, Malocchio. For generations, fathers have passed the emblem down to their sons, should they have daughters, they are kept by the mothers in the imponderable place where mothers keep things, and passed on to their daughters sons.

Air rushed passed Nina’s face as her body ran against the way of the wind, yet she struggled to catch her breath. Satin cloths and basil leaf chains hanging from herb stalls flung up in flurry as she raced through the crowded streets of the marketplace. At five second intervals she glanced behind, eyes darting in and out of colors and people. She reached the fresh fruit stall where she had worked two years earlier, and slipped into saftey between its frames, its canopay roof cloaking her identity. Breathing heavily, she peered into the opening and glanced from left to right. There was no sign of them.
She had become very good at this, existing without being noticed, escaping without a trace, vanishing into thin air, so much so that she was slightly scared to admit to herself that she enjoyed the rush of it all. Clutching the tiny golden charm on the end of her necklace, Nina silently thanked Cornicello for keeping her safe. She tugged at the blonde wig that was now heavy on her head, stripped off her white cotton shirt and ditched both behind the boxes of uva and uncut anguira.

She started the walk to the edge of the market, where the court walls stop and the drop to the edge of the Sarema cliffs began. Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a handful of fresh rosy cherries. At seven years old she had rationalized that pick pocketing was only a problem if you got caught. More often than not the sellers could afford to loose the small handful of fruit that would otherwise be left for the pigeons at the end of the day, and she could keep her reputation of being a good Catholic girl. She the sucked the juice out of the last one and threw the pip on the ground, hitting something metal. There it was. Her bike, right where she had left it three days earlier.

© elenaxtina.com, 2015 in Lei e Taormina

Hey Guys – I’ve given myself a new project to work on, hopefully I can grow the original idea to see what happens. For my own protection I can’t post anymore content from Skies Over a Shanty Town but I hope you guys enjoyed where that went. Perhaps one day there will be possibility to read more!

Also I am off to Sicilia soon so I’m kinda fantasizing about it. I haven’t been back for the longest time and I wish I was on the plane now. Whenever I travel stories just happen in my head so hopefully this is gonna help, especially this thread, to take form and grow with new ideas. One thing I love about writing is that it’s possibilities are endless, the best fiction is stuff that doesn’t happen in everyday life, or every day life communicated in a way that no one has thought of before. It’s magical, and means you can be inspired by almost anything.

 

XIII. Almari

The Story Torcello told Tomaso

As a brother, Tomaso was one of two. As a sibling, he was one of seven.
The elder of five sisters, he quickly learned lessons of responsibility and sacrifice.

The Almari (name family lineage) were known for generations as mietitrebbia (laborers) of the Sicilian hillside.
Harvesting from the olive vineyards in summer season, and rearing lambs winter through to spring.
A profession that left them respected, but ironically less fruitful.

Dedicated to the church and bound by its rituals,
any extra wealth would slip through his fathers fingers before it settled in his pocket,
or indeed that of his children.

This left some of the seven humble. Some of them, hungry.
His brother, the latter.

Tomaso saw a world to be healed. Antonio saw a world to be conquered.

© elenaxtina.com, 2015