Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stormy Weather 2.1.06

It's the first day of February. The sun is trying to break through the clouds, rather weakly and unsuccessfully. It started raining on Sunday evening and didn't quit for two straight days. We had an incredible storm! The wind blew so strong we could feel the windows rattle. The rain came at us with such force we had water on the kitchen counter, through the exhaust fan on the wall! The cushions on the terrace blew off so we moved the bench closer to the inside and battened down the hatches! The sea churned and waves crashed higher than we have seen so far. The normally blue sea turned the color of wet sand as wave after wave slammed against the coast. The palm trees were tossed around like a feather duster at high speed! The horizon line disappeared in the cloud. For 48 hours at least it was relentless.

We turned on the heaters and snuggled in, reading books, Bob working on his photos on the computer, me messing around with some watercolors. There was not much we could do but stay inside. We did a little planning and reading our books about Sicily, deciding where we should go in the next few weeks, roughing in an itinerary. I made a chicken soup with this and that in the fridge and we were glad we had enough food in the house not to have to go out at all. We slept late and lounged around. Actually, it has been kind of forced relaxation and kind of nice.

Today the clouds have parted a bit and the rain has stopped. It's still grey though and the sea is still churning. But we were going a bit stir crazy and took a really long walk down the Lungomare Andrea Doria, to the end of Lungomare Basani, where we could see the lighthouse at Punta Secca in the distance, where the road curves away from the sea, then turned around and came home. We were out about 2 hours and it felt so good to get out and stretch out legs. Lungomare Andrea Doria runs along the sandy beach of Marina di Ragusa and ends at the little harbor at a street called Livorno, where there is a boat yard. There's a little wooden structure there that all the old guys hang out in and play cards. Today they were all standing around by the sea and we could only imagine their conversations about the storm these past few days. It was a doozie by our standards and we wished we could talk with them to hear about how this might compare to storms of past years! They were clearly agitated and had a lot to talk about.

The coast along Lungomare Basani is rockier and the waves that crashed there had so much force they sent up sprays into the air that were like giant explosions of fireworks! Bob tried to capture this with his camera and I took a movie with my little digital Canon. Just to sit and watch this show was amazing! A huge wave would crash and send spray almost to the street in giant foamy bursts as the waves receding combined with the ones crashing in for the most dramatic effect. Waves, 2 to 300meters long stretched across the sea, curled and broke in unison, one after the other and we stood there mesmerized. We never tire of watching the constantly changing view that the sea gives us and we know this was a special one.

We were disappointed to see some new graffiti on some of the walls at the outskirts of the town and this continues to be one of the things I am saddened to see. Along with a bit too much debris in places sometimes along the beach. Some days I take a plastic bag with me and try to clean up a bit. I'm not sure how it gets there but as I don't like seeing it, it makes sense for me to pick it up and it feels like I am doing my part for the ecology of the area. We imagine in the summer when there are lots of people here that there must be a clean up crew to stay on top of things. But since it is winter they don't worry about it.

Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous sandy beach and here at Marina di Ragusa it is one of the better beaches in the area.

On Monday night we decided to see if we could find a restaurant open and went down the road a bit in search of something new. We mostly cook at home (living cheap, remember?) and have still not gotten used to the fact that you cannot go out to dinner before 7:30 or 8pm as nothing will be open yet, but as we had a lazy day with the rain and all, we were ready to step outside when the rain slowed a little. We found the most wonderful place! Right on the seafront, with a great view looking west, it's called Baciamolemani (something like a kiss on the hand) and the food was excellent! Bob ordered a Margherita pizza and I had an appetizer of eggplant parmegiano that was so creative and original and delicious! It was served on a white square plate with some sort of sauces drawn on like a decoration around it. Two or three round slices of eggplant stacked on top of each other with fresh tomato and topped with mozzarella cheese. Yummm. For my prima piatti I had the ravioli, served in a mason jar with olive oil and slivers of fresh tomatoes. Delicious! The house wine was a nice red one; the bread was a little on the heavy side, but with a nice crust that soaked up the oil very well. All in all we decided this was a place we would like to return to. During the month of February we were told they would only be open on weekends (when most of the crowds come down) but after that, during the week, we hope.

So that's it for the stormy story. Next week we are planning a couple of days in Agrigento so we can go to the Almond Trees in Bloom Festival (Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore, in italiano) and the annual International Folk Festival. We found a little B&B within walking distance of the temples. We'll tell you all about it later.

Buona sera,
Rosemary e Roberto

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