My Sicilian Adventure

Last week was spent traveling Italy’s football, or as the locals call it, Sicily. The girlfriend and I traveled from Copenhagen to Rome to Catania, the eastern part of Sicily, where we logged into a hotel. A taxi trip from the airport and to our hotel turned out to be not as cheap as we’d hoped. 50€ will buy you just about anything these days, including a Fiat Punto for a whole day. So that’s what we did for the remainder of the trip.

fiat-punto

As it turns out, Italians are passionate and their driving skills are insane. Combine the two and you have an intra-city traffic ballet the likes of which will either propel your driving skills to eleven, or (statistically almost as likely) kill you. As of this writing, I have not yet been killed in Italian traffic. Barely.

As seen from above it might seem beautifully orchestrated; cars switching lanes without signaling as such, merging impossibly and never, ever stopping to enjoy the view that is a red light. Three times I tried stopping at the red lights, three times angry sounds of car horns urged me to ignore it. Apparently both red and green means “Go” in Italian.

Remember Lando Calrissians narrow trip through the Death Star in Jedi? That’s what Italians do in cars. Every day. (Through cities, not Death Stars).

Even so, driving up the side of Etna, all alone, was worth it.

south-etna-road south-etna

Aside from being really lousy (or great?) drivers, I can confirm the rumour that Italians make excellent pizzas. We found a really great simple pizzeria at the side of the road towards the hotel and their Diavola, also known as pepperoni pizza, is out of this world excellent. From this day forth I shall only eat that type of pizza.

They also make great ice-cream.

poison

I was very careful not to try the poison.

Overall the trip left us satiated with Italy. Which is a good thing. Visiting off-season, I’m sure, made for a very different experience; there were far less tourists than I imagine visit Catania during the summer. Two recommendations for those of you who ponder a trip to Sicily: get a great hotel and rent a car from day one—pick up and deliver at the airport.

4 thoughts on “My Sicilian Adventure”

  1. Bojan says:

    The Italians are awful drivers. You said it right, it’s just insane there. And not only is their driving crazy, they never stop for pedestrians at the crossing. You have to make a few steps from the sidewalk to the road itself, then someone might stop to let you walk over to the other side. Otherwise no one cares and just buzzes along.

  2. Jenny-fa says:

    That reminds me of my experience in Rome. Roads are rather narrow there, and parking is simply haphazard. Luckily I was traveling in a group of Americans, so we had no difficulty storming crosswalks. We saw a lot of Smart cars there, incidentally.

    Yes! Italian food is the best in the world. I absolutely adore their gelato and pesto.

    Sigh. You Europeans get all the perks. Practically uninhibited travel throughout the European Union, yes?

    Beautiful photos, by the way.

  3. Joen says:

    And not only is their driving crazy, they never stop for pedestrians at the crossing.

    That’s exactly what happened. Every time you try to pass a crosswalk, you throw your life on the craps table.

    We saw a lot of Smart cars there, incidentally.

    Yes! Lots of Smart cars, mostly Smart fortwo but we also saw a Smart forfour! Otherwise cars were mainly Fiat and Alfa Romeo. The police cars were Alfas, which I found rather impressive.

    Sigh. You Europeans get all the perks. Practically uninhibited travel throughout the European Union, yes?

    You’re referring to the fact that the European Union with the intra-police Schengen collaboration should make it unnecessary to bring your passport? Well, as it turns out that didn’t happen. Even if I live in the EU, I have to bring my passport — it’s only if I travel within Scandinavia that their collab. is sufficient. I don’t have to bring a passport when I go to Sweden.

    That said, we are never fingerprinted or photographed, and we never have to fill out 3 forms specifying where we’re going, why, and who’s with us. No siree, we’re treated with respect here. We only get stripsearched by airport security, and in Heathrow Londen, looked at through James Bond like X-Ray vision.

  4. Jenny-fa says:

    We only get stripsearched by airport security, and in Heathrow Londen, looked at through James Bond like X-Ray vision.

    Whoa! Holy crap. Those scanners are…. AAAGH.

    You’re referring to the fact that the European Union with the intra-police Schengen collaboration should make it unnecessary to bring your passport? Well, as it turns out that didn’t happen. Even if I live in the EU, I have to bring my passport — it’s only if I travel within Scandinavia that their collab. is sufficient. I don’t have to bring a passport when I go to Sweden. That said, we are never fingerprinted or photographed, and we never have to fill out 3 forms specifying where we’re going, why, and who’s with us.

    That’s what I meant. I was just saying that, for a non-European like myself, travel would not be so easy. And besides, I thought Denmark was part of the EU?

    And, uh… is this color scheme a special for Halloween? The comment form is painfully bright.

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