We have had a lot of fun over the last week traveling with Frank’s cousin, Enza. She does not speak very much English, and I don’t speak very much Italian – although I did improve quite a bit over the last week (Frank does much better than I do). We relied on charades, the Italian/English dictionary, and – if we were really in a bind – Google Translate. But we laughed a lot and had a great time. If something didn’t quite go as planned, I would tell Enza, “It’s an adventure” (or “avventura” in Italian).
Road Trip Home
Our biggest adventure came on the last day on our way home. While we were at our pizza dinner with cousin Evelina’s in-laws, a tiny little puppy bounded into their compound. Evelina and Claudia went through the neighborhood seeing if they could find the puppy’s home, but everyone thinks the owner probably dropped him off near the gate.
Well, Enza decided to keep him and give him as a “surprise” to her son. Which meant we added a 4th traveler, Kiko, to our entourage. They took him to the vet to make sure he was ok, and we picked him up on our way out of town. Fortunately, he is very small, so he fits inside a cute purse bag – can you find him below?
The first stop for our merry band of travelers was Noto, a baroque town that is famous internationally for its flower festival – the Infiorata. Groups spend all year designing and putting together works of art made of flowers. They display them in a carpet down one of the streets that ascends to a cathedral. Every item in the display has to be natural, so they get creative with not only flowers, but stems, beans, lentils, and even coffee grinds. It is amazing what they create.
Kiko liked it, too, but (smartly) stayed in the purse. There were so many people that could have gotten stepped on!
Down By the Sea
We next took a winding tour through the countryside and to the hill town of Modica, where we saw the cathedral, shops, and even wehere Enza’s father worked.
Our destingaion was along the sea at Scoglitti, which is a fishing village near Marina di Ragusa and lots of beach resorts. They are known for their seafood – and we were not disappointed.
There is no menu. They just bring what is fresh. First was crudo (raw) – including tuna carpaccio and raw shrimp (which tastes ok but is kind of wiggly). Next came piles of mussels and oysters, and even some type of big red – & alive! – clam. When I squirted lemon juice on it, it rose up and almost made me jump out of my chair. But I did eat it (and washed it down right away with white wine). Then a plate of fritte (fried) calamari – wonderful. And finally grilled fish, including freshly caught swordfish. We were stuffed. (Kiko was an angel during all this – sitting patiently in his little purse bag with only a few squeaks.)
After lunch, we drove around the coast and ventured to Athena Resort at Kastalia, which is where Enza’s daughter (Mirella) has a beachhouse. It is a beautiful gated resort, but since Enza is a member, we could go inside. There were huge pools, tennis courts, and a range of bungalows – all with a fabulous view of the Meditteranean. This was Kiko’s favorite, since it had big gardens to explore. We had an afternoon cafe and tea there before deciding to head for home.
The four of us finally made it back to Canicatti almost 12 hours after we had set out from Siracusa. Whew – were we tired.
But we weren’t finished yet. Enza called her son to come over for dinner so she could reveal her surprise. For the record, Frank and I did try to talk her into calling him BEFORE we took possession of Kiko, but she said it was a “sorprese.” When I looked worried about this plan, Enza reminded me of my own saying, “Avventura Christy!” (It’s an adventure, Christy!)
Well, Salvio was pretty surprised. But he was a good sport and by the next day, he and his girlfriend, Cettina, had fallen in love. He promised that, with their whole family in Canicatti, Kiko would have a good home. So it was a happy ending for all.
Next Stop: Frank and I are heading to the beach town of Cefalu to rest from all of these avventuras!