On my last monochrome photo post I promised that my photos of Italy would be in technicolor so true to my word here they are. :)
My lasting memory of Sicily is a countryside speckled with crumbling Arabic, Greek, Roman, and Norman ruins nestled among the citrus orchards and pistachio farms. Villages crown mountains and branch out into the fractal coastline; they almost look organic as though they either grew up from the soil or have been there so long that they took root. Everywhere I went was rich with mythology, the particular area we stayed in was home of the cyclopes who lived on the slopes of Mt. Etna and were weapon crafters for the gods ("the thunderbolts, which became Zeus' signature weapons, were forged by all three Cyclopes: Arges added brightness, Brontes added thunder, and Steropes added lightning").
We stayed long enough to learn the ebb and flow of the locals (like the French the Sicilians disappear home for several hours for lunch, reappearing to reopen shops in the late afternoon) and due to it being midwinter the local to tourist ratio was preferable to the rest of the year. I can only make obvious statements about the food such as I had the best risotto, pasta, and pizza I've ever eaten anywhere. I became particularly addicted to chard fried in olive oil, garlic, and red chili which I ate heaps of and continue to cook at home now. After travelling around the area and climbing the crater of Mt. Etna to driving across the heart of the island to Palermo I felt the press of time and was only left wanting more, much more. I want to travel the full circumference of the island, taking the time to explore the ruins and villages in-depth and Syracuse. There's more I could write here, but I think I will let the photographs speak for themselves.
Naomi: after M said that about my photo posts last night I think I'm going to make the Taormina part into 2 posts ;)
Macsen: NO NO NO
Naomi: it's like 100 photos on one page though
Macsen: who cares?
Naomi: I just don't want it to be obnoxiously long
Macsen: I don't think people have complained. I don't think M was either
Naomi: okay, if they do I will tell them to blame you :)
So if this crashes your browser atlaz will process all complaints. In the meantime you might wish to make yourself a cup of tea while it loads. :)
traditional christmas eve bonfire
after the bonfire, walked home in the pouring rain.
looking like a drowned rat, but a happy drowned rat. :)
the morning after
excelsior palace hotel
The first few days in Sicily it uncharacteristically poured with rain. The locals kept apologising as if the weather were their fault and reassuring us that this was a rare occurrence, the first storm they had in recent memory. I loved it. Or more precisely I loved seeing the lightning flash across the Bay of Naxos, stretching out to the Ionian Sea, and sleeping to the rumble of thunder (despite the building-shaking clap that came in the middle of the night and made me sit up in a half-sleep state). The next morning the hotel lift electrics were fried, the phones dead, and the television reception gone. We were told that we had a hotel room with a view of Mount Etna, but due to the storm we never saw it the first few days as it was shrouded in clouds. When I opened the shutters that morning to a bright blue sky suddenly Etna was there, crystal clear and shining with fresh snow. I was grateful for the rain because without the rain there would have been no snow. I took photos from the balcony of the steady plume of steam that rises from Etna's crater and the black scar running down her volcanic side by a lava flow the week previous.
Mount Etna from hotel room
Taormina is perched high up on a mountain side, but higher still is the town of Castelmola which is a two hour walk up a labyrinth of staircases and sloping walkways.
looking up at Castelmola
café in the sky
norman castle ruins
Taormina and amphitheatre
at the east end of Taormina are the roman-greco amphitheatre ruins
amphitheatre seats - norman castle, greek ruins
these flowers grew wild in the ruins, tiny and barely noticeable
sunrise over the Ionian Sea
separated at birth? ;)
Parco Duchi di Cesarò
reminded me of a sea anemone
Coming up.. The Food, Palermo & Mount Etna.
Thank you! :) Italian villages are some of the most beautiful I've seen, the way they are built and positioned is so unique. Flying over I could see mountain after mountain each capped with villages, I only wish I could have explored more of them. I hope you get to go back soon. :)
thanks for making it through them! ;)
I will be posting much more over the next few months, though I wanted to get this one out of the way first. I know myself too well and that if I split it up into too many posts over time I would never get around to finishing it before I went somewhere else and it became just a distant memory. :)
thank you for taking the time to prepare these photos and make such a long, lingering post! i love that you notice so many details in your surroundings. you've presented such an encompassing view of your visit, it's extraordinary. the visual texture, the color, the composition. it's all truly splendid!
and, this one is magical with the bird flying right towards you, framed by the arch.
Happy to see you made it back home smoothly, I hope the rest of your trip went well! Where are those photos, am not looking forward to seeing the one of me. :) I am disappointed I forgot to take a proper photo of you two, but at least I have the one I snuck in Bar Italia.
Also thanks for taking the freezing cold weather back to Seattle with you! ;D