This post may be longer than usual because I’m writing about yesterday and today in one. Instead of writing a blog last night, I Skyped with Brad! Yesterday marked one week since I have been here, and it was the first time that I was able to talk to him!
Yesterday was super busy! After the usual morning routine, we went to Castello Donnafugata, which is an ancient castle in Ragusa. Compared to the mansions in Rhode Island, it was slightly smaller inside, but the garden was huge. I have always been fascinated with architecture and mansions, so I really enjoyed this experience. The details of the castle, the colors, the furniture… it was all incredible. I absolutely loved the garden, and I think that this is my new dream wedding spot. Don’t worry, after I buy my Ferrari, I’ll pay for friends and family to come. The castle also has a golf resort and spa, and it is amazing. It is more modern than the castle, and there are pools and green space as far as you can see. If you are wondering about the resort, search “Castle Donnafugata golf resort” and you can see pictures!
After the castle and golf resort, we went to the supermarket, and then ate lunch. Octopus is popular here (just like all seafood) because it is truly as fresh as you could ever get it, but one of the specialties is octopus in plain gelatin. Because I’m willing to try anything, I did… but I did not like it! The texture creeps me out, and it tastes too fishy for me. Regardless, I’m glad that I tried it! We ate a large lunch yesterday (even large for Italians), because we were going for a hike! In previous posts, I mentioned a 40 km walk in Ragusa. I figured out yesterday that Elena meant 14 km, and that I was misunderstanding her.
The walk was in Ragusa Ibla, and it was with a tour guide that explained what we were seeing. We began by walking about .5 km below the city by ancient stairs into a green space that used to be an aqueduct. Then, we entered into ancient caves that are now considered a necropolis. Families that made stones for churches used to live in these caves, and had their own language. We were able to see some of their ancient writings carved into the stone! At first, I was nervous to go into the caves because the ground is extremely rocky, and it is completely dark in the caves. I really hate the dark. However, I did it anyway and I’m glad that I did! It was a moving experience for me because you could feel the presence of the people who once lived in these caves. It was eery, but very cool. Unfortunately, there are bugs that still live in these caves…. and they found me. My bug bite count is up to 6.
After the walk, we went to Giarratana for apertivo. Apertivo is similar to appetizers, and you have wine or a cocktail and sample food. Our apertivo had 3 different types of pizza, salumi, and 2 types of panini. They were all bite sized, but delicious. Francesco’s mother made us dinner last night, and it was chickpea soup. It was sooooo good! The food here is so simple, but so good. I’m to the point of being able to understand most of what is said to me, so I was able to have a good conversation last night with his parents despite not being able to say much back. His mother also gave me 2 lemons from her tree, which made my life. She also has a pet turtle that stays outside, and she feeds it pasta. I just laughed the entire time that she was showing me this turtle.
Today has been crazy! I pinched myself a few times today to make sure that this is still my life. I went with Elena to a villa that she rents, and the owner of the villa is Salvatore Moltisanti (a famous Italian pianist). After I discovered that he speaks English, we began to have a conversation. He complimented my hair and makeup (I thought that I looked like a disaster), and asked if I ever help other people do theirs. I said yes, and then he asked me to help a group of French women get ready for a wedding that is next weekend. Weddings here are much less formal than American weddings, so it won’t be too intense. They are even paying me! My life is crazy. Who would have thought that someone from Pittsburgh would end up in Ragusa, meeting an Italian pianist, doing French women’s hair and makeup, in a villa that is worth millions of dollars? Crazy.
After leaving the villa, we went to the supermarket, stopped at Zara, and then ate lunch. When Elena and I were at Zara (of course I bought something, again), we ended up laughing hysterically because neither of us could remember what day it was. Everyone else thought that we were crazy, but it was hilarious because we truly had to stand still for a minute and figure it out. I have been telling my family about how I enjoy baking, and they asked me to make a traditional dessert for them after lunch. I chose to make brownies because they are simple to make from scratch, great for children, and are truly a staple to the American diet. Sofia “baked” with me… so basically she made a HUGE mess. It was hilarious. They ended up loving the brownies, and I told them that next time, we will warm the brownies and eat it with vanilla gelato. They can’t wait! While we were waiting for the brownies to cool, Sofia did my hair and nails. I’ll let you imagine how lovely I looked.
Tonight, I am meeting some of Elena and Francesco’s friends. The husband owns many perfumeries in Sicila and Italia, and works with Bvlgari (AKA a very important person). The wife works in the perfumeries, and is pregnant with a baby girl 🙂 We will eat dinner at Marina di Ragusa, and take a walk along the beach. I can’t wait!
I truly pinch myself when I go to bed each night because each day brings something new, and unbelievable.