Sunday, February 22, 2009

Catania Weekend

Overall, this was a calm weekend in Catania.  The weather improved drastically as we had a lot of sun and with it improved temperatures. 

Saturday morning's view from Malibu for breakfast

Will I ever tire of this view...

... or of this one?

The gorgeous Francesca has moved to Catania from Palermo full time this year and is dating one of our new defensive ends who hails from Palermo.


Our Saturday practice was another good one, well attended and very competitive.  Our depth at the skill positions on offense is a huge plus.

Andrea Mannino is kicking the ball MUCH BETTER than he did last year at any time.

Defensively we are showing improved vigor with the addition of several talented players who can run to the football.  The coaching that Paul Petrich Jr. (DL) and Larry Atkinson (DB) are providing is really making a huge difference in our progress.  Now all we have to do is stay healthy and keep improving.

Dessert and Wine at the Agora Hostel in Catania

Paul's "Lonely Planet Italy Travel Guide" recommended this restaurant, which is is part of this hostel, for an interesting meal.  Upstairs they have a large covered outdoor bar area for drinks only that was packed.  If you go to their underground area you will find three delightful levels of rooms that serve drinks and food.  Here you see us enjoying a local beverage at the very bottom of the restaurant, 18 meters below street level, next to an underground river.  The ancient Romans used this underground river system as a spa 2,000+ years ago.

Now the reason I'm not sitting across from Paul is that if I did, the back legs of my chair would be about one inch from the four foot cliff that, with Paul's track record, would surely have me going over the falls and into the river!

Speaking of Paul, so far he has inflicted a relatively small amount of carnage in his usual Visigoth-like wake.  Let the record show that to date he has only broken one plate, knocked over one lamp (only the bulb broke) and a slew of instances where he has called people by the wrong name.  On a not so funny note, he managed to lose his camera while I was in Mexico.

If the cast from Seinfeld ever decides to do a reunion show, Jerry could really help himself by including a character based on Paul as the central theme of the episode.  Imagine the ratings and spin-off potential.

The Underground River
Up Close and Personal

The Agora Hostel has GREAT Desserts

I opted for the low calorie sweet ricotta cheese, orange sauce and chocolate syrup dessert with a little chocolate powder sprinkled on the edges to keep my body trim and fit.  It went well with the house red wine.

In Camarillo we have a band called the Grandmas, in Catania we have the Granpa.

Coincidence... I think not!

The Statue of Ferdinand I near the Catania Harbor entrance.

His title was King of Sicily as well as King of Aragon.  Born in 1380, he ruled Sicily from 1412 to 1416 as part of the long line of Spanish based rulers of our proud island.  During his time Catania, not Palermo, served as the island's capitol.

The Spanish lost their claims to Sicily twice.  The first reign of the Aragon Kings lasted from 1285 to 1713 while the second period of Spanish dominantion was the Bourbon dynasty from 1734 to 1848.

Giuseppe Garibaldi led his "Red Shirts" in the Italian Revolution to free what is now Italy from foreign domination.  As a sign of their new found pride, some of the locals proceeded to decapitate the statues of unpopular foreign rulers like Ferdinand I.  Far less bloodless than the French Revolution was to their monarchs but 160+ years later still sending it's message.

Catania's Fish Market, mostly closed on Sunday, still offered up a few interesting sights.

Via Etnea, Catania's main shopping street and a great place to take a Sunday stroll.

While the Fish Market was closed, the Sunday Market in the middle of Catania was wide open for business!

Peruvian Native Music with a not so authentic headdress on the right.

This haunting flute music draws a crowd all over the world, why not in Catania?

I have no idea but I liked their poster!

They played at the ZO Club on January 31st... if I'd only known

Nice Wheels Sicilian Style

Old Men Gathering Near the Harbor

After shopping for fruits, nuts and some clothing for Paul (yes, NEW clothes!) and getting some great deals we ran into these large groups of men playing cards in a park near the harbor.

By the way the park had about four more headless statues... oh, those fun loving "Red Shirts" were at it again!

Some of the men just wanted to sit in the Sun for awhile and watch the world go by.

"So then Jackie O bid four no-trump and I looked at Ari and he says 'Is she crazy or what?'  I discreetly nodded yes, still the dumbest bid I ever saw"

Kids at Play

It may be because the penitent season of Lent starts this week, I'm not sure, but kids all over the city were dressed up in costumes.  Super heroes and cartoon characters were the most popular choices.

For Sale, CHEAP!

Etoile d'Or, one of my favorite places to grab a quick snack, is only a few steps away.

The ageless majesty of old town Catania.


Anonymous said...

Why do u people have 2 b so mean 2 Mrs.Spagnuolo. And the person named
"Francesca" which is located underneath the image of her didn't move to Catania , Sicily! That was her old last name. Don't u people know that? Even though her doggie is so cute, don't do this to her. [ unless I'm stuck finding it [ which would be a very good thing]]

She's the greatest teacher in the
Whole-Wide-World! Seriously, event thought I never had ever had her, she rocks. And, basically everybody that I know [the kids] knot that I say that like 500,000,000 times a day. She rock's!

A blog posted from her most favorites student ever. [ sorry about Friday, it wasn't suppose 2 happen]

Anonymous said...

The headless statue is of Ferdinand I, a Bourbon King, who ruled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies between 1759 and his death in 1825.