and I apologize for not writing to this site all week. I am finally at the only internet spot on the western half of Sicily, without going into the depths of Palermo, and this internet spot is about 40 miles from our villa, named Torre Castelvetrano. (I don’t think this site is able to do the proper paragraph spacing again, so Ashley, if you are reading this, please try to fix, and otherwise, I’ll try later when I ahve more dependable service.)
We arrived at the villa, all 15 of us, in four cars in the late afternoon last Saturday. The town is a fairly large but non-tourist town, and that turned out to be quite nice, actually. Our villa, difficult to find at first, is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, with lush grounds, palm trees, a very nice pool and a wonderful covered sitting place near the peach groves.
The olive groves are on the other side of the villa and guest house, and the caretaker and his wife live on the grounds as well. We have six bedrooms and four bathrooms in the main house, and a 2-br, 2-bath guest house, all in that old stone and tile roof construction that is so typical of Italy and some of France.
One of the delights we hadn’t counted on is a family of cats . . . we can’t quite figure out who the mamas are, because even the largest of the cats is quite small, but we have identified perhaps eight or nine little kittens, 6-8 weeks old, and of course they were just being weaned, with no real skills yet in catching the lizards, so . . . we are feeding them. Angela, Nina and I, the real cat lovers in our group, have been mixing little kibble, water and a bit of milk in two large cereal bowls, twice a day, so they won’t starve.
Hoever, now we’ve discovered that the caretaker and his wife are feeding them as well, so they’ll be fat cats if we ever come back here again.
Since the group is so large, we don’t try to do everyting together, but so far, Neil and I have wandered the ruins of Agrigento on the south coast, visited the little town of Selinunte, which ahs its own ruins, our closest grocery store, and some lovely restaurants with fresh fresh fish, since it is also on the coast.
We have tasted wine in Marsala, consumed lots of bottles of the local wine during the past week with everyone’s exuberant participation, and eaten lots of fresh fish, bread and cheese.
Neil, Brad and I went to Mount Etna on Wednesday, the largest active volcano in Europe. Took nearly 5 hours of driving (I’m the designated driver in Italy, for our car, at least) then about 3 hours on the mountain, including the cable car ride up to 2500 meters, the little van up to about 3000 meters, and the walking around the volcanic dirt and rock at the volcano site. Then down the mountain again, into the town of Nicolosi, through Gravina di Catania, a stop to look for dinner in a beautiful village on a hillside in the middle of the island called Enna (no dinner – restaurants don’t open here until 8:00 p.m.) and back to our villa by about 9:30 p.m.
A long day, but I didn’t want to come to Sicily and NOT see Etna.
So today it’s back to Marsala to a Mailboxes, Etc. to ship some things back home, grab tomatoes to add to our lots of lettuce for dinner, and then some relaxing time at our lovely pool before packing up and preparing to depart by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
We then head for Palermo airport, turn our cars in, and disburse to our various next destinations. Some will go back to the US, and some of us still have Venice and Tuscany. Neil and I will stay 3 nights in Venice, rent our car there for the exploration of LeMarche, and then, as I’ve said in the past, one last night in bella Firenze before we leave for Colorado.