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Sicilia in technicolor

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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

soft spotlights

separated at birth? ;)

Parco Duchi di Cesarò

reminded me of a sea anemone

Coming up.. The Food, Palermo & Mount Etna.
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On March 23rd, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC), nickdangerous replied:
My soul has been stirred.

Thank you. Grazie.
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On March 25th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC), nomi replied:
My pleasure. :)
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On March 25th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC), nomi replied:
Thank you, pleased you enjoyed them. :)
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On March 23rd, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC), whorlpool commented:
Gorgeous photos

That's not a sunrise, though; it's the arrival of the mothership.
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On March 24th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: ..
That would explain a few things then. ;)
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On March 23rd, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC), dawaioser commented:
"chard fried in olive oil, garlic, and red chili "
~ That sounds delicious and I have to tell you that your photo's make me dream...such gorgeous places that I hope to visit one day! ':^)
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On March 24th, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
It is and it's nice and healthy, I find myself craving it often.. I don't feel right if I don't get my fix. :)

I hope that you get to visit them too, I can certainly recommend Sicily without hesitation.
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On March 23rd, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC), sorrento commented:
These are fricken amazing. My faves are the narrow cobbled stone lane, the snowy Mt. Etna and the hillside trees. (These are besides the one of you.)
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On March 24th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Thank you. :) Also thanks for taking the time to look through this onslaught of photographs!
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On March 24th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
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. :)

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On March 23rd, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC), ronaldraygun commented:
I love all the stonework, particularly Castelmola's paved walkways. The Etna photos look great, too!

Also, this one is simply awesome.
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On March 24th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Thank you very much! :)
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On March 23rd, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC), workroom commented:
mama mia, so niice
you get to see the most gorgeous sights! thanks for sharing!
i love your long photo posts (and always wish there were more per month)
you're looking beautiful as always
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On March 24th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: mama mia, so niice
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. :)
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On March 23rd, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC), heuteistmeintag commented:
I've got so much bandwidth at the office I almost feel like I should challenge you to saturate it ;-)
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On March 24th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Oh bring it on! ;) Actually I think my bandwidth is probably suffering more.
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On March 25th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC), bizzong commented:
wonderful post! thanks for sharing:)
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On March 30th, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
thank you! :)
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On March 25th, 2007 08:50 am (UTC), gecko_trillam commented:
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.
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On March 30th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
thank you for taking the time to go through it all, it makes the time spent worth it. :)

I always love to hear which photos people like the most, it sometimes surprises me and helps me learn!
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On March 25th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC), silver_notebook commented:
Thank you
Oh, b'jesus: too much stunningly beautiful travel inspiration. You make it all look languidly stunning (and you look gorgious, too).
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On March 30th, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: Thank you
Thank you! It was such a wonderful trip and refreshing, always good to escape somewhere
in the dead of winter and from the relentless grey skies I think. :)
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On March 26th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC), zeavy commented:
Lovely shots! Lovely place! :D
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On March 30th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Thank you! :)
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On March 27th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC), m00t commented:
No complaints here. :)
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On March 30th, 2007 01:36 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
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
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