It is very easy to focus on the beautiful and charming here in Sicily. There is a such a lot of it. We live in Mascalucia, a peaceful village within a short distance of the city of Catania. I have to admit though, we really struggled with Catania when we first arrived. The dirt, the noise, the traffic and general decay makes Catania unlike any other European city we have ever visited.
That’s not to say Catania doesn’t have it’s charms. The dirt, the noise, the traffic and general decay make it fascinating all at the same time. Like much of Sicily, Catania doesn’t give up it’s secrets too easily. There is a vibrant arts scene and the multitude of food trucks and street vendors makes the place just seem so alive. Once you know when to travel so you avoid the traffic that can choke the city, where to park and that you need to pay the self-appointed man who “looks after” your car a coin, you can start to enjoy exploring.
We have learned to always ask the locals to help us find the best places to eat because these aren’t going to be easily signposted for the new arrival. You need to be taken there, introduced and educated as to why this is the only place to visit for granita, coffee, brioche or pizza. Of course, this does depend on who you happen to be speaking to. There is rarely consensus on this subject.
On Sunday evening we suggested to a group of friends that we head out for pizza. This initiated an animated half hour long discussion on where we ought to go. One pizzeria was suggested only for someone else to declare that the last time they had visited that establishment their stomach had not been right for at least a week. Other restaurants were discounted as too expensive or poor quality. The pizzeria that we eventually decided on was tucked away just off the Main Street, through a courtyard and up a few flights of stairs (pictured above). Like I said, we’d never have found it on our own.
A couple things about pizza. First, Italians only eat pizza in the evening. You can buy pizza by the slice any time of day, but you only sit down to a pizza at night time. Second, Italians never drink wine whilst eating pizza. Beer and pizza is the accepted combination. We have no problem with this arrangement!
Anyway, whilst waiting for our beer and pizza, we were able to take look at what was going on in the piazza below. This was a bank holiday weekend so there was quite a lot to see. Just then, there were a variety of dance performances going on. We have become used to the great number of public festivals since coming to Italy. But Catania seems to do it all with greater theatrical flourish.
I am glad I have overcome my initial difficulties with Catania because there really is a lot worth seeing here. We are so grateful to our friends for taking the time to help us understand the city a little better.
I have needed a little persistence with my current creative project. I am figuring a lot of this out as I go, so there has been a good bit of unpicking and starting again with some parts. It is also a challenge to get a good photo of it. I never seem to be able to take take a picture that really captures how it looks on the hoop.
I did seriously think about casting it all aside and just embroidering some flowers! However, I reminded myself that I started the project to try and push myself and my technical abilities a little.
I felt pretty good about sticking with it…even if it did mean I had to unpick most of the work I had done on the window sill.
I am still working on the flower post I promised last time. It may take a while on account of the fact that I keep forgetting my camera every time I go out!