Friday, October 2, 2015

September in Sicily

Piazza IX Aprile Taormina  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |

We've just returned from our summer vacation in Sicily, where we spent a few weeks doing nothing (a.k.a. il dolce far niente) more strenuous then getting ourselves to the beach and deciding where to have a granita. As this was the first time in a few years that I've been able to properly enjoy a Sicilian granita the way it was meant to be enjoyed—that is, with a fluffy brioche—I made sure this was a daily occurrence.

(Although now that we're back in Stockholm, the first thing I did was take a long, long walk in a new-to-me nature reserve to reinvigorate my flour-saturated, sugar-laced, sun-warmed and lethargic self.)

Speaking of Stockholm, I almost had to stay here, as for some inexplicable reason my phone (a.k.a. alarm clock) didn't work and I woke up at 4:52AM on the morning my flight was to depart at 6:10AM. Blessed with Sweden's beautiful roads and highly efficient airport (and my own ability to hustle when it matters, even when almost 7 months pregnant), I somehow made it to the airport at 5:38AM for the 5:40AM boarding.

(R had gone down a few days before I did, which is why there was only one phone to rely on for a wake-up call.)

But made it down I did and R met me at the airport and took me directly to a waterfront cafè for a granita, although I was of the mindset that we should probably swing by a church first to say a prayer of thanks that I even made it down at all (especially since the airline we flew only has one flight a week to Sicily...).

Scogliera di Acicastello  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |

While in Taormina this time we took two side trips: one to Lampedusa, a Sicilian island close to the coast of Africa for my birthday, and an overnight road trip to the south-eastern coast of Sicily with family to visit Fontane Bianche, Noto and Marzamemi (updated: trip notes from Lampedusa and our mini road-trip are now up!).

Otherwise, our vacation was all about spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, eating, and soaking up as much sunshine as we could before our return to the north (where it's already starting to get dark around 6:30PM!). Some highlights?

Sunday morning mass at La Chiesa di San Giuseppe (pictured at the top), granite alla mandorla macchiato con caffè (almond granite "stained" with coffee granita) at Bam Bar, cocktails and live music at Metropole, dinner with friends at Aquadelferro (a Slow Food restaurant in Acireale), whole days spent at Paradise Beach Club, all the pizza alla norma (pizza with roasted eggplant and baked ricotta, a Sicilian specialty) and arancini al pistacchio (pistachio filled rice balls) I could handle, and basking in the good wishes from people who have known R his whole life and me for the last 10 years when they saw my newly-rotund profile.

Taormina balconies  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |
Chiesa di San Giuseppe, Taormina  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |
View of Taormina  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |
Taormina street  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |
Bam Bar Taormina  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |
View of Mt. Etna from Taormina  |  September in Sicily on afeathery*nest  |

In Sweden no one comments on the fact that I'm pregnant—the culture being that it's better not to make assumptions or "intrude" on someone with your congratulations and commentary. In Italy it's nothing like that.

Everyone notices and comments (and not just women!): waiters, security officers at airports, and store clerks, to name a few, went out of their way to say congratulations to me, inquire about how far along I am, how I'm feeing, and if we know the gender.

(Speaking of gender, everyone who saw us in Sicily—apart from one outlier—was unanimous in their proclamation of what gender the baby is based on my current shape.)

Perhaps all of the inquiries would be a lot to handle over an entire pregnancy, but for a few weeks? For a few weeks it was just lovely and so very welcome to be doted on.

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One year ago: Postcard from Andalucía: Granada & La Alhambra & To ride or not to ride
Two years ago: There will be pancakes & One year later

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