Monday, December 12, 2005

10.12.05 Our first week in Sicily

On the previous blog I talked about how we spent Monday in Marina di Ragusa wandering around and walking on the beach and on Tuesday, going to try to get our address changed officially. On Wednesday we simply enjoyed Marina di Ragusa again. The weather was lovely; I took off my shoes and socks and waded in the sea. We watched the sunset on the beach and bought some groceries. I cooked dinner in our kitchen and we ate outside every meal. We did some more unpacking and settling in.

On Thursday Elio gave us a signed letter stating that he had rented us this apartment and included photocopies of his identity card. He had phoned the Municipio and determined that this should be sufficient enough for us to obtain our official change of address and indeed it was. The stern woman behind the desk warmed up to us and input all of our information into the computer and even joking about the fact that we were born in New York, a city she would love to be in and wondering why in the world we wanted to live in Sicily! We laughed about the fact that Americans want to go to Italy and Italians want to go to America! It seems that our identity card is good until 2010, regardless of our address but we still aren't sure about the whole thing, since the card has our Perugia address on it. She told us that someone from the city would be visiting us at our apartment (as they had done in Perugia) to verify our address and that pretty much was that. We aren't completely sure if we will receive a new identity card with the new address or not so we are just going to wait and see what happens. For now we are happy as clams to just keep living here in Marina di Ragusa. Residents of Italy. Pensionati. Beach bums.

Friday we drove to a little town called Portopalo, for a celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8). On the way we visited a little fishing village called Marzamemi, very charming with boats in the harbor and old stone buildings, where we stopped for lunch. This must be a tourist attraction for the Sicilians because the lunch, while it was very tasty, was pretty expensive. We mostly liked sitting in this old piazza and looking at the beautiful old architecture. Our destination for the day, Portopalo, is a small town and they carried the statue of the Virgin Mary (well actually it was rolled down the street) accompanied by a band. It was a modest celebration I suppose but really interesting to see all the townspeople out walking through their town proudly following this statue of Mary that I am sure means so much to them. We followed along for a while but quit when we got tired and it started to get dark. Christmas lights are strung across the main street and looked so pretty and festive. We managed to find our way home again without too much difficulty.

On Saturday after a leisurely morning of walking around Marina di Ragusa and along the beach (this is sure to be a daily ritual), we decided to try to find Isola delle Correnti - not an island, but more of a promontory, connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land which we have read is usually submerged - the furthest point south in Europe, further south than Tunis or Algiers. The beaches here are lined with dunes and we watched the sunset from on top of the rocks, as a fisherman cast his line into the sea and a man in his car listened to what seemed to us to be old Italian songs (from a tape? A CD?) in his car. As the sun went down, the air got colder and we decided to head back home.

Since we had been in this general direction the day before, we chose a different route home, more inland, with the intention of driving through Modica, which lies about halfway between Ragusa and Marina di Ragusa. I really wanted to see the town lit up at night and had read about the incredible baroque church of San Giorgio and wanted to see it at night. Like Ragusa, this city is in two parts, the upper and the lower and San Giorgio sits in a very dramatic position, from our viewpoint, it seems to be the center of both. The lighting is so dramatic; it stands out like a fairytale castle, at the top of a picturesque flight of stairs that is circled with lights. The city itself, and its main streets were lined with shops and we promised ourselves we would return when we could spend the entire day wandering its streets.

We had a bit of an exciting (or terrifying!) few moments here, as we drove into the old part of Modica, and found ourselves driving along roads really too narrow for our car (we have some scrapes to prove it). I thought we were going to have to call for a crane to come and lift us out! Bob stopped the car and got out and walked further down the street to see what was ahead and if he thought he could maneuver the car the rest of the way out of this part of the city. He saw a man and his son going into one of the houses and bravely knocked on the door to ask for help. They then returned with him to our car and said it would be just fine, if we went slowly (piano, piano) and carefully and proceeded to guide Bob through the narrowest parts. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we came to a wider street and were able to drive out of Modica, offering handshakes and gratitude!

And that was the end of our first week in Sicily. We cannot believe how gorgeous this island is and we can't wait to do further exploring. We are thrilled with our new apartment and its location on the Mediterranean, and delighted to be able to share our stories with all of you still interested in reading about our adventures.

Buona serata,
Rosemary & Bob

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