Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Under the Sicilian Sun

I had some of the craziest most genuine experiences this last weekend in Sicily! I loved every second and I can't believe that I was going to come to Italy without seeing Sicily. I mean beautiful beaches, cheap delicious food, and hoppin' nightlife. Who could ask for more?

My friend Asha and I flew in early Friday morning to Palermo. I wasn't expecting a mountainous island with bright blue water, I was blown away. After checking into our hostels we grabbed a quick lunch (I had an authentic Sicilian Arancini) and hopped on the bus to go to Agrigento. Agrigento is on the other side of the island and has some really awesome Greek ruins and it was only about a 2 hour bus ride. The scenery through the Sicilian country side was so beautiful! However, after waking up around 3:30 am for airport shenanigans we couldn't help but fall asleep on the 2 hour bus ride. 

Beautiful Sunrise from the plane
Carne Arancini, Basically a fried rice ball with goodies inside

Agrigento is a small town that is a unique mix of rural and urban, it is along the coast and has beautiful views everywhere you look. 

After checking out all the ruins, and taking some time to sunbath on the rocks we headed back to the bus stop to go back to Palermo. Again I fought the urge to sleep so I could see the beautiful scencery... and again without any success. I was too tired to force myself to stay awake. After getting dropped off at the central station we made our way back to Asha's hostel that was offering free carbonara dinner. We met a bunch of other people from the hostel and mingled for a bit. The pasta party then turned into a salsa dancing party! Most of the people we met were all from the UK and a part of a salsa club doing a trip all together. I even got some salsa lessons! I wish I had the energy to keep up with them and go out later that night but if I wanted to have any energy for the next day I figured I better get some sleep.

I love Sicily!
Sunbathing on this very uncomfortable rock

The next day we checked into our next hostel, that we were both able to book rooms together. The cute Italian man that owned the B&B gave us a couple (many) recommendations of things to do. We had talked about going to Cefalu, another city along the coast about an hour away by bus, but we decided instead of spending a good chunk of our time on a bus that we would check out the local Saturday markets and head to the local beach, Mondello beach. 

The markets were mostly all fresh local produce and seafood. Very authentic and hardly any tourists, which was definitely my favorite part about Sicily. Without the tourists you get to experience real Italy with real smells, tastes, and cuisines. Although Palermo isn't the cleanest city it definitely makes up for it in character. 

I HAD to get a picture of this lady, dog complete with stroller.
Swordfish anyone?
Every kind of cheese you could ever think of
Cutest Italian man i've seen so far, tending to his fruit stand!

After walking through the market we made our way over for lunch at a restaurant that was local and supposed to serve up great food for cheap. We were all about that. It was exactly what was advertised, I got a great seafood marinara and Asha got some sort of mystery meat pasta dish that was also really tasty. Both each only 5 euro! I finished the meal with a Cannoli to go!

Seafood pasta lunch
Asha and our nice little friend
This guy just plopped down and decided to have lunch
 with us... he spoke very little English so the conversation was
very interesting...
Cannoli, I was too excited to eat it to take a picture before trying.

Then it was off to the beach, we caught the bus and 20 minutes later we were on the beautiful Mondello beach. We made friends with a group of boys and spent the rest of the day doing anything and everything from swimming, soccer, and paddle ball.

And now you know why i'm obsessed.
The day wouldn't be complete without a cheer stunt!

Before we knew it, it was time for us to catch the bus and head back. The bus stops are confusing because they don't advertise all of the buses that stop at a particular stop so although we were told that the bus we needed to take was coming after waiting for what felt like a long time we hopped on a bus and hoped that it was going in the right direction. We met some obnoxious teenagers that were rude enough to tell us to get off on the wrong stop. So there we were, on the side of the highway having no idea how we were going to get back to our hostel. After asking a hotel we semi understood where we were supposed to go but again we got impatient. Half joking, half serious we stuck our thumbs out to hitch hike (don't have a heat attack mom). After about 10 minutes of standing with our thumbs out a car pulled over and we hopped in. They were two girls heading back into to town, both university students and both extremely nice but their English was poor and my Italian isn't that great but Asha did a pretty good job of keeping the conversation going. We got dropped off and were so thankful for the ride as well as the experience. We walked past one of the markets on our way back and grabbed some sandwiches that were made out of calf intestines, the taste wasn't bad but the texture was really chewy. The owner was also very insulted when we put ketchup on the sandwich, whoops.

Our calf intestines on the grill.

After a long day at the beach we got back took showers and siestas before heading out for the nightlife scene. The nightlife in Sicily is very unique, instead of having clubs they hang out in the piazzas and go from piazza to piazza depending on whether they want to dance or socialize. We headed to the main piazza where we had our first show, it was a crazy drunk lady who was biting, kicking, and screaming at this guy. We ignored her but a couple of minutes later a cup of wine came flying and hit me right in the face. The man who she was trying to throw the wine at was completely missed and instead I got a full cup of wine to the face. I shook it off and we got away from the crazy lady ASAP! And luckily none of my clothes are permanently stained. We talked with a bunch of people and then made our way to the other piazza that had dancing. It was the most incredible atmosphere, the music was Sicilian reggae a very ethnic, interesting mix. We had SO much fun dancing and made our way back to the hostel around 4 am. It is truly a night that I will never forget. 

Found the Italian Ryan Seacrest
This was the backdrop to the Sicilian-Reggae Piazza
Dancin with the Guidos 
Asha with her crepe and new friend
An antique Vespa! First one I have seen since the MOMA
museum in NYC a couple of years ago.

The next morning Asha had to get up around 7 to catch her flight so I spent the day flying solo and there was no question where I was going to spend the rest of the day... THE BEACH!

The aqua blue water is still blowing me away

The beach was great, and I now have some color to show for it. I actually got on the right bus this time, grabbed my stuff from the hostel and it was Arrivederci, Sicily :(.

The weather has been absolutely fabulous since I have been back in Milan and the forecast is predicting mid to high 70's for the rest of the week until I jet off this weekend to Amsterdam! Unfortunately Amsterdam doesn't look like the weather will be as warm, so I am going to enjoy this lovely sun and weather for as long as it lasts and hopefully it sticks around!  

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