Today is my last day in the south.
I came here with the plan to stay four or so days in Palermo and then go Wwoofing. But, as everyone knows, when you are on a trip with no plans and you try and make plans, well, things are bound to get twisted.
But how wonderfully twisty these last two months have been. I stayed a month in Palermo, spending Christmas and New Years with the amazing people I met here. Then I did indeed go Wwoofing. I spent three weeks atop a hill in the Sicilian countryside, working on a farm, meeting beekeepers and dairy farmers, seeing old tombes and castles, spending time with my wonderful hosts over long outrageously delicious hand made lunches and learning to make ricotta.
It was often cold when the wind blew off Mt Etna, but when the sun came out you could sit on a rock and see all the way to ocean, across valleys of trees. Old rock walls snake their way hither and thither across the countryside, sometime going nowhere or joining nothing. Painstakingly put together hundreds of years ago in an effort to de-rock the ground, they are quite simply a work of art.
My first wwoofing experience was a wonderful thing.
After many a tearful goodbye I leave the Sicilian countryside to head back to Palermo for a week to catch up with my friends here. I have caught a bit of a cold and feel a quite silly as I spent most of the week reading and watching movies on my laptop that I have already seen.
On the weekend there is a festival called Mandorle In Fiore, which is a festa to celebrate the almond blossoms and I am wildly excited to go to this festival. There will be processions and stalls apon stalls with many different things made out of almonds and music and…
Well before you get too excited let me tell you that it was my first disapointment of this trip.
I rode a bus two hours to Agrigento. It was a cold and windy day. When I arrived I discovered the people I was meant to be meeting couldn’t make it. The procession was fantastic, almost and hour of group apon group of people in medieval dress dancing and singing and throwing ceremic vases in the air, or flags at each other like colorful javelins.
But after I went to where the stalls were and they were all very commercial and mostly had nothing to do with almonds, flowering or no. I walked around in the drizzle staring at imports from countries, the same that you can find at almost any market. There were some almond nougats and pralines, but that was about it.
So I spent the day reading Huckleberry Fin on my new E-reader and drinking too many coffees in my attempt to stay out of the rain.
Which was grande, because Huckleberry Fin is a wonderful book (read it, I tell you) but all in all a sad disapointment overall for this flowering almond festival…
Perhaps on other days it was better, and the weather put a damper on things… I dont know.
But tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, I fly back to Bologna to catch up with people there and to see snow for the first time! By the time you read this, I may just well be making a snowman or else hiding by the fire and trying to keep warm.
One of the two. After Bologna I head to Verona to see the city of Romeo and Juliet before getting crazy at Carnevale in Venice.
I believe its going to be packed full of people like sardines in a tin… But they will all be wearing masks and gowns, and that will make it all worth while.
See you in the land of the snow…