Ciao Bella! There’s nowhere like Sicily.
by Heidi Obermeyer
Sicily, no joke, makes you feel like you have never been more fabulous than you are in your exact state of being when you step off the plane at the airport. It’s like being a combination of Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City and Elizabeth Taylor in her heyday, but with random Italian words and more pasta. You wake up in the morning, walk outside, put on your sunglasses, and it’s like the whole of Sicily is psyched that you showed up.
Palermo, where I was for 4 days at the beginning of June to visit Morgan, was a magical place. Coming from relatively chilly and cold Germany (both weather-wise and culturally) the pleasant Mediteranean sunshine and enthusiasm of the Italians I met was, at first, overwhelming. And then, once the intial shock wore off, it was AWESOME. Everyone was excited I was there. The gelato flowed freely. I got to learn new words in a new language and actually employ them without having people switch into English. AND there were tons of vespas!
We spent most of our time on experiencing the most important Italian activities- eating big meals and then eating big gelato, and then walking around until you were ready for the next round. Which, if we’re being honest here, is WAY more fun than visiting historical sights (although we did a little of that too). We also visited Trapani and where they make salt from sea water, which of course resulted in gelato-rewarding ourselves at the end of a long bike ride to and from the flats.
Sicily’s a poorer part of Italy, and it shows. The town looked like a beloved object that had been sitting in the sun too long; a city that has survived various empires and the breezes of the sea and looks, therefore, a little worse for wear. The Mafia operates with ease in this part of the country, and although they target primarily business owners who are forced to pay protection money, everyone is aware of the issue. There’s a movement by business owners to band together and not pay the Mafia- the participants identify themselves with small stickers on their business windows, and their numbers are growing, slowly but steadily. The streets can be dirty, and you need to watch where you’re walking to avoid stepping in something unpleasant or onto the tail of one of the tiny lizards that like to give you a shock by rustling off into the bushes. But overall, the city is buzzing with Italian charm. I’ll cover that more in a bit, when we talk about gelato (it definitely deserves its own post) and the beaches at Mondello. Overall though, I have to say that Palermo changed my mind about Italy. I will be back, and I will eat more in that glorious country.
On the home front, it’s finally started summer-raining in Berlin, and I’m kind of bummed- it’s also supposed to rain this weekend while I’m in Munich with Emily! 😦 I’m sure we’ll make the best of it, but I am going to have to get a new umbrella since mine bit the dust (er… mud) today while I was swinging it around absent-mindedly on my way to class. You just can’t win in this weather! That’s why I’m staying inside and picking out sewing classes for while I’m home in Denver- I’m thinking I’ll do an introductory one (just to refresh the old mem’ after 10+ years of not sewing ANY bean bags to speak of, which were my first and only sewing project ever, albite one that I did A LOT) and then the class to make this cute dress! After that I can’t wait to start attempting things solo, especially after the lulz I got from the record of Ali’s sewing adventures.