Sicilian Surprises

Sicilian Surprises

The first word that comes to mind when I think of my trip to Sicily this weekend is: wet. We probably picked the worst weekend of the month to go as it was cold and raining nonstop (with some hail and unrelenting winds thrown in the mix) for the first three days of our trip. … Read more

The first word that comes to mind when I think of my trip to Sicily this weekend is: wet. We probably picked the worst weekend of the month to go as it was cold and raining nonstop (with some hail and unrelenting winds thrown in the mix) for the first three days of our trip. Unfortunately, my Italian language teacher said that Italy is experiencing a very unusual spring, the coldest and rainiest they have had in years.

garden

However, the second and third words that come to mind are: gorgeous and delicious. I came across many Sicilian surprises during my trip, such as the breathtaking views of the crystal clear water and to die for desserts. Regardless of the cold and rain, the views in Sicily were beautiful! The water along the coast was the prettiest teal color that I have ever seen. You couldn’t even attempt to paint or photograph the colors of Sicily and do it justice. The palm trees, cactus’ and tropical flowers also made me feel as if I was in a resort.

pizza

The food there was also my favorite I have had so far in all of Italy. I made sure to have a slice of thick crust, Sicilian style pizza since you can’t get that anywhere else in Italy. Throughout our days in Sicily, I also tried fried calamari, a calzone with ham and cheese and a delicious sandwich with potatoes that was seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon, a specialty in Sicily. It was very good. The desserts were also the best I’ve had. I made sure to try a Sicilian cannoli. Since I didn’t try a slice of Cassata cake, I got Cassata flavored gelato… but I found that I am not a fan.

cathedral

After arriving in Palermo we explored the city and got to see some of the major sites. While Kevin and Tyler went to a crypt, Henal and I decided to split up and go see two castles instead. The next morning we went to an open market where there were tons of dead, skinned animals (even goat heads!) and tons of smelly seafood. I strayed away from the fish and animals, but purchased a few blood red oranges, which are grown in Sicily. They were delicious, a lot sweeter and less sour than regular oranges. My favorite thing in Palermo was the cathedral. It was gorgeous inside and out.

market

Friday morning we woke up early to catch a bus to Catania. Although the first day was rainy and cold, Saturday we were lucky enough to have some sunshine! We went to an old greek theater, walked to some pretty cathedrals and saw the main gate to enter the city. Our hostel was right next to Castello Ursino, so we could see the castle at night from the terrace! Although Catania itself was pretty, my favorite thing may have been the two and a half hour bus ride to get from Palermo to Catania. The views of the coast, the mountains and green fields of Sicily are amazing.

cannoli

I may be returning from Sicily with a broken umbrella (it didn’t make it through the vicious hailstorm), sopping wet socks and shoes, and most likely a few extra pounds of weight, but I am also returning with fun memories from a beautiful place I won’t forget!

Why Hello, Spring!

Why Hello, Spring!

It is officially March and yesterday was the perfect spring day in Viterbo. It was about 55 degrees and there were no clouds in sight. I woke up Sunday morning and ran to the park, where there were kids playing soccer, moms pushing strollers and cute, old couples observing from benches nearby the fountains. It … Read more

It is officially March and yesterday was the perfect spring day in Viterbo. It was about 55 degrees and there were no clouds in sight. I woke up Sunday morning and ran to the park, where there were kids playing soccer, moms pushing strollers and cute, old couples observing from benches nearby the fountains. It was so nice to be able to run outside in the warmer weather and not have to wear a jacket! After my run I went back to the apartment to grab some homework, an apple and yogurt, and then made my way back to the park to do some reading in the sun.

winery

This past Friday we went on a field trip to Tre Botti Winery for wine tasting! While I do not care for the taste of wine, I made it my goal to find a wine that I liked while I was in Italy. What better place, right? However, I have now decided to accept that I am just not a wine fan. We were taken on an outside tour of the vineyards, mostly only seeing Jane (the vineyard donkey), since near everything was dead due to the winter weather. Then we were taken inside to have lunch and have a tasting of three wines. The winery family made us pumpkin soup, a tray of cold cuts, roasted potatoes and pecorino cheese with jam on top for lunch. I promised myself to be adventurous while I was abroad, so I tried a little bit of each. Surprisingly, the pumpkin soup was really good. However, I think the fact that it warmed me up from the freezing cold may have something to do with why I liked it so much. The cheese was another story. Although I am not sure if I will get the memory of the horrible taste out of my mind for another few weeks, I am glad that I tried it! We tasted a white wine and two red wines. I preferred the white wine the most. Italians LOVE their wine! We were told at the winery not to swallow it right away, but to leave it on your tongue to savor and appreciate the taste and quality.

orvieto

After the winery we were taken to a nearby town called Orvieto. We went to see “Underground Orvieto,” where there are old Etruscan caves. The cathedral in Orvieto was beautiful! I loved it. Inside there were many stained glass windows. Behind the altar there were four vertical rows of 11 stained glass windows each. Each window told a different story with characters, animals and settings. I wish I could show what it looked like, but we were not allowed to take pictures. After the caves and cathedral, we were allowed to explore a little before heading back to Viterbo. There were cute ceramic shops everywhere. I made sure to purchase a postcard since I am attempting to get one from each town/city that I visit!

bracciano castle

Saturday I went with Kevin, Henal and Tyler to another nearby town called Bracciano. In Bracciano there is a huge fairytale castle and the eighth largest lake in Italy. We saw that the weather was supposed to be nice so we decided to pack lunch and a blanket to have a picnic by the castle and lake! It was a great day and I fell in love with the little town. Signs of spring were everywhere. Henal and I came across a tree with pretty, pink flowers blooming, so we decided to take a few for our hair. However, springtime bees also come along with springtime flowers and I don’t think those bees were too happy with us for picking a few of the blossoms.

lake

We had quite a hike from the castle down to the lake, but when we got there we found the perfect picnic spot. Two white swans came and swam near us during our picnic! After lunch we went on a tour of the castle. Although the inside was pretty, the view from the top of the castle, looking out onto the town and lake, was my favorite. It was so pretty!

Castles, lakes, swans, picnics, flowers, friends, gelato (Oh yes, we got gelato too of course. This time I got Nutella flavored!) … it was a perfect day trip and successful weekend. I am so excited for the warm weather and am crossing my fingers that it’s all sunshine and springtime from here on out.