Sunday, January 6, 2008

Buon Giorno di Aci Castello

I am writing this from a hot spot in Aci Castello after driving solo for the first time in Sicily. Driving here is really all the adventure I need for one day!

Arrived in Catania after a two hour flight from London on Air Malta. The flight was good with ample room in economy, unfortunately the chicken they served ranks right up there in infamy with the ones served at the 1975 Thousand Oaks H.S. football banquet.

I was met at the airport, picture, by Davide Giuliano, our Head Coach and G.M., and a player/coach Gustavo Bonnano. Good people!

They drove me to my apartment which is on the third story of a three story building, two apartments per floor.  NO ELEVATOR and 53 long steps to the top, did you read that Laurel Elizabeth! The apartment is a two bedroom, fully furnished and what a view of the Bay of Catania. We also have the only apartment with access to the sun deck that is the entire roof of the building!

My car is a 4-door silver Fiat, it is a new Hertz rental car for me to use for 6 months.

Gustavo took me to dinner, picture, at a local pizzeria where we hooked up with four more players, Giulio, Manny, Alessandro and Fabio. During dinner I asked each of them why they started playing American football, the best answer was Manny's. He made the choice after watching the movie "The Replacements". I hope he can teach the other players the end zone dance from the film. At this pizzeria I saw a first, a pizza topped with French fries...interesting.

From there we drove into the heart of Catania. Parking is VERY difficult but worth it. Catania is alive with people at night just strolling, eating, talking and drinking. There is lots of places to shop plus street vendors all over the place. This is a very vibrant city.

When I got home I returned a call to Bill Bennett, Brandon's father. He jusy wanted to let me know that Brandon, our two-time All-American OL/DL from Willamette University, had signed and faxed his contract to be an Elefanti. Before signing they took the contract to their family lawyer to approve it and their lawyer is Bill Conte who was a good TE and a great kicker for us at Thousand Oaks H.S. in the early '70's. I wonder if he still has that square-toed, white kicking shoe? Small world ideed.

On Sunday I woke up late, unpacked and then went to a 2 1/2 hour lunch at a great seafood restaurant with Davide, his wife Daniella, her brother Pietro and his girlfriend and Tony, a former Elefanti and his significant other. I ate first and asked questions later. It was all good and I can now scratch off eating black squid ink pasta off my to-do list. I also understand how much more Italian I have to learn, I pick up about every tenth word making details tough to understand.

The enclosed pictures are in no particular order, one of my three new friends, Davide, Daniella and the Mt.Etna active volcano. The others are of the view from our patio, of the living and dining rooms and of Elefanti clothing Davide gave me.

Everything is exceeding my expectations!


Koreen said...

Tell me about the statue next to your hat. Looks like he has a pretty good handful. Sounds like your adventure is off to a great start, except for the squid....I'm not quite sure about that.

Andrew said...

I was just going to ask about the statue myself by of course Koreen beat me to it.

kat said...

Glad to read that you made it safely to your destination! I look forward to reading your blogs!! Have an awesome time! I love Manny's movie The Replacements answer.