Day 1: Coming to Italy!
Trip Start May 30, 2013
30Trip End Jun 29, 2013
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We’ve got lots of time in the airport as there is a mechanical problem with the plane. I’ve gone off to make a few more phone calls so when I return to our seats in the lounge area, I find Harvey in conversation with a blonde haired middle aged woman – I’ve learned that I don’t have to leave Harvey alone too long before he meets up with a woman! They’re talking about how she lives in Milan and has visited Sicily many times – she loves it there. We listen as she asks us if we are going to Palermo, Segesta, Agrigento, Siracusa, etc. At first there is a disconnect, because her pronunciation of these places is different than what we think it is. It’s actually sort of funny, because with all the trip planning and reading, I’ve had an idea of what the places names actually sound like when they are pronounced, but I had it all wrong! As she speaks Agrigento, the name sounds so fluid, beautiful, almost sexy. Agrigento – say the “gento” like a jento – soft. Siracusa – the “cusa” is pronounced like a bird “cooing”
Ever heard of Taralli? The flight attendant hands us our drinks along with a small package labeled “The Taralli of southern Italy probably derive from Daratos (not Doritos), a kind of bread widely eaten in ancient Greece”. It’s shaped like a small donut, the size of a U.S. quarter. The label reads “made of superfine softwheat flour, wine, vegetable oil, olive oil, salt”. I’m looking for the preservatives on the label – you know the words that you could never spell in a spelling bee let alone pronouce. It seems this is a snack with no preservatives! Imagine that. It tastes sort of like a pretzel, but with more taste and more chewy. A nice balance with a soft drink. Harvey chose a glass of orange juice. We were a bit surprised when the flight attendant handed him a rosy red glass of juice. She said that it was made from red Sicilian oranges! There was no pulp, tasted sweet, not acidity. We’ll look and see if we can get fresh red Sicilian oranges and look forward to tasting them
We hold up our glasses with our friends we are traveling with, Barry & Karen and toast the upcoming trip. We take our first photos. In just a few days, Barry & Karen will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary – so appropriately, here is their photo with them kissing. In 14 days, we’ll be celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary, so Barry takes our photo – yes, you guessed it with us kissing. Somehow it seems appropriate that our first photos of us for this trip is each couple showing affection for one another. In my imagination, Italy is a romantic country and we’re feeling the vibes even before we arrive.
It’s been a journey to get to our little hamlet of Scopello this late afternoon. Our flight from Miami had been delayed, causing us to miss our connection in Rome to Sicily. So with a short nap in the airport lounge that we had access to with our Platinum American Express and the free food vouchers from Alitalia, we made the best of our 3 hour layover in Rome. By the time we got to the Palermo airport we had had an additional nap on the flight over from Rome and had our second wind! We were relieved that all of our luggage fit in the Hertz rental car
When we arrived at Scopello and La Tavernetta B&B we were greeted with smiles and made to feel very welcome. Our rooms with balconies and views of the sea and simply charming. Our dinner was superb! Wine, wine and wine! Yes, but also pasta al dente, perfect, with a pesto of tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts and olive oil; fresh flavorful and robust tomatoes with olives and onions; eggplant carbonata, pasta with mussels, shrimp and garlic – and crusty bread! Oh my gosh, with the friendly service and fresh food – we were in heaven
A short spin around the small charming town and we’re back in our rooms. Oh boy, we are ready for showers and a good night’s sleep.
A perfect day!
Cell Phone Tip: Harvey purchased an Italian SIM card with service from TIM in advance of our trip from Telestial on-line. The Italian government requires all SIM cards to be registered (for security – terrorism), so by providing the passport information in advance of our arrival (about two weeks in our case), our expectation was that our unlocked cell phone would work immediately upon arrival. Sure enough, just as advertised, when Harvey turned on the cell phone it worked like a charm. In the Rome airport, we found a TIM customer service desk and effortlessly purchased a data plan for 10 Euro for 1 GB data for 30 days. We plan to use the phone for Google navigation. So, we’re all set! Very easy. We’ve now used the cell ] to call our B&B and it worked like a charm!