Sunday, May 15, 2005
I'm still jet-lagged and haven't accomplished a darn thing today. I'm not sure where to start with telling you about my trip, so here are a few random thoughts...
I lost my heart to... No doubt about it - Mount Etna.
Best meal... I think the consensus was Ai Lumi in Trapani. There were lots of good meals, so this is a close call, but the selection of local olive oils brought for our salads (but used to dunk their wonderful bread in) made this meal especially memorable.
Ickiest moment... When our car ran into a swarm of some kind of insect. I was looking out a side window so I only heard the splat and saw the aftermath on the windshield. It looked and sounded as though someone had dropped a bucket of water from above.
Fashion forecast... Chuck noticed an awful lot of people wearing orange. We decided orange must be "the new black". Our hunch was confirmed one day when we noticed that every single mannequin in a trendy Taormina shop was dressed in orange. Our trend-spotting abilities were called into doubt the following day when the mannequins in that same shop were all dressed in blue.
Best hotel... San Domenico Palace in Taormina. This is an unbelievably beautiful hotel (a former monastery) with spectacular views of the sea and Mount Etna. It is the most peaceful, comfortable, and luxurious hotel I've ever been in.
Scariest moment... When we lost the keys to our rental car in Agrigento.
Biggest relief... When we found them. Thankfully, someone had turned them into the ticket office.
Most exciting moment... When our bus got stuck in a snow drift on Mount Etna. This was also the biggest pile of snow I've every seen - it was well over my head. Everyone had to get out of the bus while the guides struggled to free it.
Biggest thrill... Holding my hands in steam from Mount Etna.
Favorite ruins... They're all pretty great, but I think I'd have to say Segesta.
Most thought-provoking ruins... The tumble of column pieces in Selinunte really gets you thinking about time, mortality...
Best souvenirs... Ceramics of course!!
Best reasons to visit Sicily in the spring... The wildflowers are spectacular, as is the weather.
Most beautiful church... Another tough call. The ones that impressed me most were the ones with gorgeous mosaics. The three best were the Capella Palatina in Palermo, the cathedral in Monreale, and Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (also known as La Martorana). The cathedral in Monreale is probably most impressive because of its size.
Biggest brain teaser... Figuring out how to flush the toilet at the restaurant where we ate in Lingua on Salina (one of the Aeolian Islands). I must have studied that toilet for five or ten minutes, pushing and attempting to turn various protrusions without success. I finally realized there was a pedal on the floor.
Most fun... Our day on the Orione, the small boat with its two young guides (I'm guessing 16 and 10 years old - their father was there for the beginning and end of our ride, but for most of the day we were in the capable hands of these youngsters) that took us on a tour around Lipari and Salina.
Favorite dessert... I had a delicious cannoli and some pretty yummy cookies, but this one is a no-brainer - GELATO!