I’ve been a little lazy about blogging lately (sorry!). We’ve been pretty busy here with visitors, Sean’s work schedule, and planning our next trip to Turkey. Sean’s dad Jim and sister Katie were able to come out and visit in October. Jim stayed about two weeks, and Katie stayed the full month. We will finish her visit in Turkey (we leave tomorrow!) and she will fly home from there. Sean’s Aunt Elaine and cousin Christine were also able to come down for a couple days at the end of a European tour they took. It’s so wonderful to have family visit. It’s fun and new here, but it starts to feel a little distant sometimes, so it’s nice to have visitors. And we love showing people around our home.
Jim and Katie’s visit was pretty packed. They flew into Rome and we met them there for a few days. We walked a lot of miles, saw a lot of stuff, ate a lot of food, and drank too much wine. All in all, a wonderful Roman trip.
After a few days in Rome, we all flew back to Sicily. Sean had the next couple days off work, so we spent the first night hanging out at our house and enjoying the sunset, followed by a hike on Etna the next day. We had heard about a spot you could hike to where a large part of the mountain had collapsed and created a huge valley. It was a chilly, foggy hike, but we made it to the overlook right as the clouds parted. It was beautiful, and fun to find hiking trails here. We will go back, but next time on a clear day.
We had dinner that evening along the waterfront in Aci Trezza. Our town is full of fresh seafood restaurants all along the harbor, and we love going down there for an easy, delicious meal (and dessert).
Sean then had to go back to work. Whenever we are able to take time off to go somewhere, it’s usually preceded and proceeded by a lot of working days for him. Since there are only four of them out here and two people required for each shift, when you take a day off, you’re basically just switching with someone else. So, the time leading up to vacation is usually pretty tiring for him. But I sure appreciate it:)
Jim, Katie and I headed down to Syracuse for the day. I love Syracuse’s old town, and they have a beautiful Greek theater that I’ve written about before. It’s a pretty impressive place to take people, especially on days like the one we had when the tourists are mostly gone and it’s almost empty.
There is so much to see here that it’s easy to go and go and go every day. But it usually requires a couple hours of driving, and a decent amount of walking, so it gets a bit exhausting. We have to remember to pace ourselves a bit when we have guests, especially ones staying for a while, or everyone gets a little burnt out. And to remember the cool stuff that’s close to home so we can do easy trips to see things. After a lot of days of walking, we took it a bit easy the next day. Katie and I went down to the fish market in Catania to get fresh mussels for dinner. Sean was able to meet us for a quick swim before work, and we hung around the house.
After our day of rest, we made the trip out to Agrigento. It’s clear on the other side of the island, but a can’t miss if you’re here. The old Greek temples are very well preserved and in a convenient row along a ridge, so it’s a nice stroll downhill to check them all out. For this visit we did something new – I’d heard that the Turkish Steps were nearby, so we took off in search of them. They’re a natural formation of marl, a white sedimentary rock, and look a whole lot like a staircase all along the coast. It’s a popular summer spot, and I sure wish we’d known about it then. It’s beautiful.
We had another easy day walking around Catania and visiting the war museum with our friend Todd. We ate at a seafood restaurant near the fish market that overloads you with all kids of dishes. It’s about three days worth of food, but so good. We had a very non-Italian evening and went to the movie theaters to see Gone Girl. A little bit of America is nice sometimes, and it was a great movie.
The next day was our 1 year wedding anniversary. My, does time fly! I know that life doesn’t always take you where you think it will, but it’s pretty crazy to think back to where we were a year ago and look at where we are now. I never, ever, would have guessed, but I’m sure happy we are here.
We spent the evening in Taormina, a town a bit north of here that is charming and beautiful. We celebrated the occasion at the Hotel Bellevue, a wonderful restaurant that sits on the edge of the cliff overlooking the coast line.
The next few days we had a bit of a scare from the cat. He’d been sick for about 24 hours and not eating so I took him to the emergency vet in Catania early that morning. He had thrown up a hair tie the day before, so they did an x-ray and ultrasound and saw he had some sort of other object blocking his intestines. They kept him for the day, and had surgery scheduled for that night to remove whatever was lodged in there. It was so hard leaving my little guy there. I’ve become pretty attached to him and having something happen in a foreign place is scary. They called that night though and said that the blockage was moving so they weren’t going to do surgery. They kept him overnight and we took him home the next day. Eventually the blockage passed – another hair tie. So, I have to keep better track of those now. He now has a new hair cut to show for his experience.
I spent the next day at home hanging out with him, but Sean, Katie, and Jim went to the Gambino winery. We had heard a lot about it and I look forward to going eventually:) They loved it, and from the pictures it looks beautiful.
We had our last dinner down in Aci Castello and Jim flew home early the next morning. Sean went back to work, and Katie and I did more touring of Sicily. I’ll write more about that in my next post, I see that this one has become a bit long 😉