Trains, Temples, and Time in the Sun

Ciao a tutti,

It feels like it has been forever since I have blogged! The past few days have been full, fun, and amazing. I actually began writing this blog last night, but was too exhausted to finish it. I have been super super tired in recent days, and I think it’s simply that the exhaustion and chaos of this past month catching up to me. Anyways… I don’t even know where to begin this blog. The most important fact to get out of the way is… I drank straight cold, liquid, dark Modica chocolate three days ago. My life is complete and everything will be OK in the world from now on.

On the 26th of May, I spent most of the day at the beach and running around as usual. At night, I was SO EXCITED because it was my first time back to Ragusa Ibla. I have so many wonderful memories from Ibla, and it has captured my heart. When we drove into Ibla, all of the lights in the city were off, which was strange. We were worried that something was wrong, but it turned out that the first night of the festival of San Giorgio was Friday.  We had to park in a crazy spot and climb up the back side of Ibla in the dark, which felt like we were on Naked and Afraid. We arrived at the perfect moment because within five minutes, the band came, the statue was carried by us, and the fireworks went off! Ibla was decorated with fantastic lights, and we followed the parade behind the statue to San Giorgio (which is what you typically do at these festivals). It was such a beautiful experience! My  host father organizes the festival of San Bartolomeo in Giarratana, so I have heard so much about these religious festivals but had never experienced one before this.

On Saturday, I visited Modica and Siracusa with my grandparents! We had a wonderful time in both cities. In Modica, we began by tasting some chocolate in a shop while we bought our parking tickets, and then continued to eat our way through the town. One of the most famous chocolate shops in Modica (and the world) is Bonajuto, so we stopped there for some (hefty) snacks. Grampy and I each had a cannolo, and then I ordered chocolate shots for us. I asked for the small size, but they gave us larges! Grampy’s response to this was, “God bless her for not understanding”. The chocolate shots were TO DIE FOR. You’re probably thinking the same thing right now that I assumed before… Way too sweet and overwhelming to drink. WRONG. It was a dark Modica chocolate, so it wasn’t too sweet and not too heavy. I can officially die happy now. At 12:30, we took a train ride around the town to see the sights and rest our feet. After this, we went to our car to begin the next part of our day! I was SO excited for Siracusa… it holds a very special place in my heart.

 

In Siracusa, we began with a very early aperitvo / snack. I had my first arancino of the trip, and I was so happy. Usually, arancino makes my stomach hurt terribly, but this one didn’t (thank goodness). Our first stop was Tempio Apollo, which is situated near the coast of Siracusa.

  • Side note for those who don’t know the area of Siracusa – the “mainland” is referred to as Siracusa, but there is a small island on the coast that is called Ortigia. Ortigia is the more lively and exciting area with the tourist museums, Greek artifacts and temples, and AMAZING food. Siracusa is great, too, but generally people are actually referring to Ortigia if they have visited this area.

From here, we walked to a museum that has interactive exhibits to demonstrate the most important discoveries and inventions of Da Vinci and Archimedes. Archimedes is extremely important to Sicily, and this is the only museum that juxtaposes the works of the two geniuses together. It was so interesting to be able to watch their works in action and touch models of everything. Then, I showed my grandparents one of my favorite places in all of Italy – Piazza Duomo. This is an epic square with a famous Greek church / temple, restaurants, and always somebody playing Italian music on the accordion. This piazza is beautiful anytime, but it is the best at night. We then walked to Fonte Aretusa, which is a fountain that has a Greek myth about two lovers. This area has the most wonderful spot to sit and stare at the coast of Siracusa. We relaxed for a bit, and then walked to aLevante for dinner. I had THE BEST pasta dish of my life, ever. In all of Italy. It was homemade pasta with small pieces of cooked tuna, pistachio pesto, candied lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. When you had a bite of the lemon, it was just sweet enough that you could imagine that you were eating dessert. The view from the restaurant was perfect as well. All around, it was a wonderful dining experience!

After dinner, we drove home after a long day. The new running joke between the three of us is about the SS115 signs. Our directions continually had us going around the roundabouts to stay on SS115…. yet Sicily does not ever label their major roads (or any roads). It was difficult to know if we were actually on the SS115, and it made us crazy. Grampy has decided that as a present from the Americans, he is going to send Sicily a bunch of SS115 signs.

After this fun day, I went to the beach on Sunday and Monday. On Sunday, our family friends came to the beach and I played with Sofia and her friends all day! My beach buddy, Antonio, was there and we played soccer. My grandparents finally came to the beach on Monday! Last night, Elena and I took Sofia for a walk in her stroller at night and had another one of our great walk conversations. There were tiny kittens that came out of nowhere on our walk and followed us! One little guy kept wanting to stop in the middle of the street, so I had to stop cars for a minute and get him to move. I honestly cried a little bit simply because they were SO tiny. The homeless animals really upset me here. I need to do something about it, and absolutely will one day.

Congratulations on making it to the end of this blog! Go make yourself a snack because you deserve it!

Grazie mille,

Abby

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One thought on “Trains, Temples, and Time in the Sun

  1. I bet you could bring one of those little kitties back in your luggage. Remember the picture I sent you of how I would be able to quickly identify your luggage because it had paws sticking out. Lulu needs a Sicilian kitty to keep her from being too much of a fancy pants!😀

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