Friday, 2 July 2010

Sicily 2010 - The rest

Due to the fact that I am jetting off to Italy again tomorrow to spend a month with an Italian family, I feel that I am unable to blog the rest of my recent trip to Sicily in the day by day fashion that I set out in the last post. Instead I will skilfully condense the rest of the trip into this one post. So here are the highlights of our stay with Alessio in Catania.

So I last left off where me and Lucy were shattered after our day in Palermo. The morning after our well-earned sleep, me, her and Alessio went to San Giovanni beach, formed from cooled lava from nearby Mt. Etna. As a result of its volcanic geological formation, the sand on the beach is black, as are the rocks.

That afternoon, we went to watch England beat Slovenia in a betting shop. Then later than night we went on our first Catania night out, starting off drinking in Piazza Teatro, a big square full of bars. Alessio and his friends were introducing us to Sicilian drinks such as Rum e Pera, a drink made up of two shots, one of rum which is drank first and one of pear juice which is drank to wash down the rum. Another awesome shot was the torcia which is a strong shot with a slice of orange on top of it. Sugar is then poured onto this orange with a flammable liquid. Torcia means torch, a name for which the reason quickly became apparent when the barmaid then set fire to the sugar on the orange causing it to caramelise. You then bite the orange and down the shot.

After this Sicilian drinking lesson we headed to Moon Beach, an awesome nightclub on a beach.

Another day, we watched the Italian world cup match where they were eliminated by Slovakia at Alessio's university in the auditorium. I found it very atmospheric being surrounded by Italians with their hand gestures out in full force, accompanied by yells of "Dai cazzo!" as they watched their team lose.

For our last night in Catania, we partook in the Italian tradition of passeggiata, a late night stroll. However, our passeggiata took us back to Piazza Teatro (below) for a second schooling in the wonders of Sicilian drinking.


Alessio's friends were all so generous, buying me drinks, and none of them spoke any English so it gave me and Lucy lots of opportunities to practice our Italian. Among Alessio's group of friends was a guy called Fabio. From the day Alessio's friends saw me and Fabio together, the fact that we bear a striking physical esemblance to each other became a running joke among the whole group, so much to the point that, by the end of the trip, I was addressing him as fratello (brother).

In all, my five days in Sicily gave me a real taste of the island, its people and the way it feels inexplicably different to mainland Italy. I met some wonderful people there through Alessio and can't wait to return there one day and see them again.

As of tomorrow I'm back in Italy to stay with a family there. I'm really not sure what to expect and am currently feeling a cocktail of excitement and nerves due to the whole stepping into the unknown. No doubt my next blog will be while I'm there.

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