Gelato sandwich. Really. Gelato stuffed into a bun

Trip Start May 22, 2005
Trip End Jan 22, 2006

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Flag of Italy  ,
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

We were a bit apprehensive about going to Sicily, especially when our hotel manager in Rome jokingly asked us why we were going there and whether we had any mafia connections.

Sicily is by far our favourite place in Italy as yet. The geography is very scenic with little towns perched on hilltops and miles upon miles of sun-baked Mediterranean coastline. The people in Sicily are charming and the warmest people we have met. Numerous times we've had friendly locals drop what they were doing to help us or just to chat and make sure we were enjoying our stay. For example, on the train between Sicily and the Italian mainland, the train gets loaded onto a ferry to make the brief three kilometre crossing. On the way there, we simply sat in our train in the dark in the hull of the ferry. Going back, a friendly lady who told us to call her "Mamma Sito" kept speaking to us in Italian and motioning for us to do something. After much confusion and a long game of charades, we figured out that you can actually go up to the deck of the ferry for some wonderful scenery. Mamma Sito watched our bags for us as we went on deck to soak in the views.

One of the most memorable things about Sicily is the food. On our first night there, we noticed people eating gelato in what appeared to be a bun. We found out that this strange but delicious concoction was brioche con gelato and consisted of generous helpings of gelato crammed into a brioche. The brioche perfectly holds the mounds of gelato and the two make for a great mix. The locals would flock to this one establishment in Piazza San Domenico and down the brioches at noontime. We happily joined in everyday.

We also found a place that served a Sicilian specialty, which is steaming veal innards piled in a bun smeared with ricotta cheese and topped with shaved parmesan. Paul loved it and it reminded him of the cow tongue sandwiches his Mom made him for lunch as a child. Moolicious.

In Sicily we also visited our first Mediterranean beach in Mondello, half an hour out of Palermo. It was packed but we really enjoyed the cool sea breeze and the warm blue water.

We also love Sicily because there are not many tourists here. Consequently, almost no one speaks English which made for some fun misadventures. We made two trips to and stood in seven separate lineups at the post office in an attempt to procure an Italian stamp for collection. We kept getting waved away from the counters and we didn't understand why. Despite help from other people in the lineups, we couldn't make out the Italian and kept getting into the wrong lineup. We were stunned when the lady at our seventh lineup finally sold us a stamp.

Although it took almost 12 hours by train to get to Palermo from the mainland, we were glad we made the long trek and would readily come back again someday.
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