Hello from Sicily! I am in the midst of a whole new style of traveling. I am accompanying my husband on a business trip so, while he has built in some time for tourism, I am on my own most of the time. The first few days of our trip were spent in Virginia, where we are in the process of selling our home. I was able to catch up with many friends while there and so thoroughly enjoyed my time. We are currently in Catania, Italy. I'm trying to write this post on my phone, having left my iPad on an airplane, so please forgive spacing, spelling or other errors. Before I write much more I will share a few miscellaneous photos: Early on in my time here, I discovered a wonderful combination of cappuccino and Cannollo, a local dessert. Other than that, I have been disappointed in the food. I think the issue is that I am used to American style Italian food which, as usual, is very different from the real thing.
One interesting food note: last night we dined with some of my husband's colleagues. One of them ordered horse meat as his entrée. The idea horrified me, but I understand it is normal here. My husband actually tried the horse and he loved it so much that he wanted me to try it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps) I was unwilling to try it. Even now thinking of it turns my stomach.
The part of Catania that I am most enjoying is the sound. My favorite thing is to go into a piazza and just look and listen. The atmosphere is always festive. There are groups of people, men mostly, standing around talking and sometimes gesturing wildly; there is always a man playing an accordion (which brings a smile to my face and seems quintessentially Italian ); and there are church bells ringing frequently. I have tried to no avail to figure out the schedule for the bells. I thought they would ring on the hour, but it seems to be on the half hour and they do not ring consistently from one hour to the next. On Sunday (while enjoying cappuccino and Sicilian Cannollo with my husband) the bells began to ring and suddenly there was a loud explosion. Eric and I looked at each other in alarm. There was another explosion at which time Eric observed that no one looked the least bit alarmed. Reassured, we continued with our cappuccino. The explosions continued for several minutes. Last night at dinner I asked the reason for the explosions. No one knew. They guessed perhaps they were in anticipation of a religious remembrance that is upcoming. Explosions? Apparently no big deal in the life of Italians!