Sunday, April 24, 2011

Italy Trip PART TWO!

In about seven hours, Mom and I will fly from Catania to Venice to start our 9-day trip to Venice, Florence, Siena and Rome. Here's how our trip looks:

Venice - April 25-27
Florence - April 27-29
Siena - April 29-May 2
Rome - May 2-3

We're flying to Venice, taking the train from Venice to Florence, taking a bus from Florence to Siena, and then another bus from Siena to Rome. If our plane takes off on time, we'll be at the airport in Venice by 8:30 AM, and on the Alilaguna water taxi to St. Mark's Square soon after that. A few days ago, the weather reports were calling for showers on an off from Monday to Wednesday in Venice. But today, when we looked again, there was no rain in the forecast - sun and in the low 70s. That's the report we've decided to listen to. :)

If you want to check out where we're staying, you can check out the hotel links above. We will try and post occasionally, but after much going back and forth, I've decided NOT to tote the laptop around with me all week. We'll do our best with what's available at the hotels, and will certainly catch everyone up as soon as we can.

See you in Venice!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An early Easter dinner with friends

Another beautiful morning in Sicily! Sunny skies, warm air. We took Mom with us to Borgo Antico, an agriturismo, in Mineo, which is about a 25-minute drive from where we live. We've been to Borgo Antico before and couldn't wait to take Mom there. They serve authentic Sicilian foods, and once you're seated at the table, the food just keeps coming and coming. Mom was counting the dishes during the antipasto course - I think we lost count around 15 or so. Like me, Mom loved the antipasto course best. Her favorites were a parmesan and pecorino cheese salad, and sliced cheese with eggplant marmalade. Yes, eggplant marmalade! I'll definitely be shipping that to her from now on. :)

At Borgo Antico, we met up with a group of families from Sigonella, and some of the ladies were sweet enough to hide eggs in one of the wooded yards. We took a break after the first pasta course and took the kids outside for their egg hunt. Then it was back inside for a second pasta course, the meat course (two different chicken dishes,) salad, dessert, espresso and limoncello.

Believe it or not, we don't have many food pictures from this feast. Mom joked that the food was coming too fast for her and the camera to keep up with it all. Guess you'll have to settle for some of us. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Processional in Enna

Mom and I took a base-sponsored tour to Enna, which is located almost directly in the center of Sicily. We went there to watch their very well-known Good Friday processional, where the 12 confraternities gather at the city's central cathedral and carry statues of Jesus and Sorrowful Mary through the streets of the city. We're not Catholic, so much of what was happening wasn't very clear to us, but it was beautiful to watch, and the statue of Jesus in the glass coffin was very moving to look at. We actually walked through the city to the central cathedral and sat in there while all 12 of the churches filed in, and then we stood on the steps of the cathedral when the music started and Jesus and Mary were brought out. Each was carried by a group of about 40 men, who swayed back and forth to the beat of the music.

After the processional, we found a little restaurant and had a very nice dinner - antipasto, zucchini and shrimp ravioli, grilled shrimp and cassata. Delicious as usual!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beautiful Taormina

Soon after the girls left for school, Mom and I were on the road heading north to Taormina. Here's another beautiful Sicilian town that I am just now visiting for the first time. So happy to share this day with Mom! We had beautiful weather (again!) and spent the whole day walking and exploring. We had great luck happening upon most of the top sights listed in my guidebooks without even really trying. We walked and shopped along Corso Umberto, peeked at the Greek amphitheater, took in the views of the ocean and Mt. Etna from the cliffs at the public gardens, and sat for a while at a cafe near the famous Wunderbar and listened to some street musicians singing and playing their guitars.