Okay, so after our adventures around Italy and Greece, six of us took a train to the Venice Airport, and flew to Sicily for a few days.. The idea was to just lay on the beach, play cards, read, relax, maybe get some sun, and recuperate after a few weeks on the road with the school program.
Sounds good right? Well, when we got off the plane in Sicily, in a little beach town, this happened:
Ha Ha Ha, Just kidding, none of us are really sure exactly where those pictures came from, no one really remembers that 30 min window when the sun was out and we RAN to the beach for proof, because the cold froze all of those memories and then the rain and wind washed them away!
Here is what really happened, or at least some highlights (maybe highlight isn't the right word)... Here is what stood out:
When we got off the plane in the Palermo International Airport, we had to get to the AirBnb (rental beach house/appartment), so, following the instructions that our "host" gave us, we got on the only train that connected the airport to anything, it was the most modern, yet slowest train possible in the world. This train, after one whole hour, took us about 25 km in the opposite direction of the beach house, to the Palermo central station.
Here, we concluded that the train we could take, didn't leave for like 5 hours, until 7 or 8 pm.. So we asked the information what to do, and were they any help? Not really.. haha. We did learn that Sicily has an absolutely horrible bus system, because it is basically not a system. There are a lot of different companies that go to different places.. so imagine how a city or area usually has several different bus lines, but each line or route is handles by a whole different company!
So, the Bus line we needed was Rousou, and it was coming in about 1 hour, excellent! While we waited, we went back to a McDonalds and got some Wifi, and contacted our Host, he told us to take the Rousou line, and we said yup, and that was it.
After riding the Bus for about an hour or maybe two, I knew from an offline map App on my phone, that we had to be getting close, the only problem was, it was getting dark, and we didn't know exactly where the house was, or where we were meeting the Host, or where to stop, or where the bus could stop, or how to speak Italian to the bus driver, or what to do..
Then, all of a sudden, a car parked on the opposite side of the road flashed its brights and waved at the driver so the bus began to stop. As this was happening, one of the girls, Megan, noticed a sign for a market that was listed in the description of the rental, so we decided to get off when the bus stopped, and hope/pray that we were close. When the bus stopped, the man said something to the driver from outside, and the driver pointed at us and motioned to get off.. lucky, because we were getting up anyway. Turns out, it was the host who flagged the bus down and the bus driver assumed that we were the Americans who the host was looking for.
Just a quick not, according to google maps, we could have walked from the airport in less than 7 hours, but instead, the public transit, took about the same time.. don't worry, even while it was happening, we laughed about it, and then after, we laughed more.
So, the host, and her husband showed us around the little flat that we were staying in, and throughout the little tour, the husband kept mentioning how no one usually comes during march.. And he also pointed out that none of the cottages or apartments were occupied for a pretty good distance on both sides of us.. we could see the one apartment, about half a km down the road, with a light on.
They also told us how to get to the town, about a 45 min walk, and the market there. And when they asked us if we had any food, and we obviously didn't, they insisted on taking us to get some groceries. We easily agreed because we had absolutely no food, and it was late, and dark, and cold, and hungry. We were hungry! So a two went with them to the supermarket, while the rest of us started to settle in.
The next step, after they got bak was food, whatever we ended up having, maybe spaghetti, it was good.
We sat out on the covered deck of our little flat and had a great diner! It was a bit chilly.. as you can see, Amy, on the left, is bundled up with her rain jacket, Megan is wearing my green down jacket, and Catherine is wearing her "fashion jacket" as she calls it (this was rather fitting because it was not exactly the warmest or most functional thing).
So our apartment was one story above the main/only street that ran along the coast in the area we were, the road that went to the airport, and the road that went to the next town, and the road that our host flagged down our bus. Well, like I said earlier, none of the houses were occupied up or down the whole street, and maybe one or two cars passed an hour, but that first night, about 5 or 6 little packs of cyclists went by.. I just thought it was interesting, this photo was taken around 10pm or so.
Anyways, we were in Sicily, safe and sound, dinner was a success, we had beds to sleep in, we were having a good time!
Played a couple games of Uno!
Just hung out:
I am terrible at Uno:
And eventually we called it a night and went to bed.
That night, the sky changed, the rain started, and the wind turned up a notch or three. Everyone woke up a bit shivery, (except Amy, I think she was warm, but I don't think it lasted the whole trip ;)
Mid day, the rain let up for a bit and we decided to head down to the beach, and eventually into town! The pictures don't really do it justice, but it was cold, and windy, and really windy. Did I mention the wind?
Here is Patrick, enjoying the Mediterranean waves:
After this, we headed toward town, it started to drizzle and rain off and on during the half an hour to this smaller market that was open, so we stopped here, without going all the way into town. As we finished getting all the groceries we needed, we heard the rain start, and by this, I really mean, we heard the loud rain hammering on the metal roof of the store. Crap. We tried to wait for five or ten minuets but just decided to go. Three of the gang continued to head into town, to get Wifi and inform some of the parents who were expecting messages that we had no wifi at the apartment. And the remaining three of us, were going to walk back with the groceries. About 1 min of walking in the downpour, a lone car came around a bend and I stuck my thumb out, and gave a big smile (although, I'm surprised he even saw us, it was raining so hard). Even though he spoke no english, and we spoke no Italian, he was more than happy to help us out of the rain, we all hopped in, and he drove us the 5 min down the road, and I gestured that we could be dropped off, and he insisted on giving us a bottle of wine! We said "Grazie" a dozen times and then waved goodbye.
It was Patricks Birthday during our trip, so while he was in town with the others, we baked the cake. Here Catherine is setting it outside to cool it off:
And here is Catherine and Megan decorating the cake!
Eventually, after we finished and hid the cake, Patrick and the others returned, wet, cold but successful on their wifi mission. Just in time to help us put the finishing touches on dinner. Patrick made the salsa, it was delicious:
We spent a lot of time, indoors, in basically one room. Okay, basically half of a room.
And here we are surprising Patrick with his birthday cake!!
P for Patrick!
We had no wifi, which was funny because our hosts wanted to contact us when they figured out a taxi or car for us to get to the airport (we were not going to try that public transit thing again). They had listed that they had wifi, but apparently it wasn't working, and when they found out none of us had working cellphones or anything, they were a bit shocked. They needed up driving out from where they live to communicate with us, when they figured out transport. And he always commented on the cold and how no one usually comes in march.
With no Wifi, lots of rain, and lots of time, we played a lot of games.. we played a lot of Charades, the game where you act out words or phrases..
We had fun, we played a bunch of different games, ate food, shivered, shared stories.. The works. The second day, we took one of the paintings that was on a wall and used it to cover up the window in the bathroom, because it was only a screen, no glass.. And at some point, we realized that there was a gap above the patio door big enough to put your arm through. So lots of towels were used to try and reduce the draft of many doors and windows and cracks..
One of the days, Amy and I caught a ride back to the grocery store to get more food, and the nice man who picked us up actually waited at the store while we shopped and gave us a ride back. Everyone was so nice, and even though it was so hard to communicate, we always seemed to get the point across.
And after two or three or a million days inside the little tiny cold room we were occupying, the host, (because they felt so bad), picked us up at 4 am and drove us to the airport. They drove two cars, to fit us, and at one point, we both pulled over on the free way and the husband got out of our car and went and talked to her. At this point, I figured something bad was going to happen.
Luckily nothing did, and although the girls claim that her car was on the verge of blowing up or breaking in half, we made it to the airport in time. They ended up offering us another weekend free if we ever made it down to Sicily again!
It was a fun trip, and although we went a little stir crazy, we had fun. We laughed a lot during the trip, maybe it was to keep from crying, but regardless, it is funny looking back!
Next time, we won't go to Sicily in March. No one really does. ;)