Friday, February 20, 2009

Of Palermo, MUMMIES! and the Acireale Carnevale

Thursday, Paul and I loaded up the Ford Fiesta for the two hour drive through the heart of Sicily to visit Palermo and hold an evening practice for the seven Elephants who reside there and can only make the Saturday practice.  We hope that this extra session will pay dividends as the season nears. 

Snow and, no, that's not Mt. Etna

From all reports, this has been one of the coldest winters in the recent memory of our collective teammates.  We saw snow in the mountains all through central and western Sicily on our drive.  If you recall, our Palermo players could not get to practice last Saturday because the freeway was closed due to the snow.

The north coast of Sicily and the Tyrrhenian Sea

Palermo's Eurocalcetto

This is where we will practice in the evening and we made finding it our first priority once we arrived so that we could be sure of being on time for practice at 6:00 p.m.

Does anybody want to go to Dubai with me?

Another reason to visit this faraway and exotic land, the dedication of the new Luciano Pavarotti Tower!

Cool kiosk in Palermo

Trattorria Basile

Paul found the GREAT place in his Lonely Planet Italy guidebook.  It is very unpretentious but serves very good food at incredible prices.  We ordered two bowls of spaghetti, one loaf of bread and one Diet Coke and one Fanta.  The TOTAL price for the two of us was only 7.40 Euros... we'll be back!

Palermo's Teatro Massimo Opera House

Hard to tell from this photo but it is HUGE!

Palermo's Capuchin Catacombs

Finally, after several aborted attempts we found it AND it was open!  I again respected the request for no photography so you will have to be satisfied these pictures of some postcards and the guide booklet I purchased.

These Catacombs were recently featured in National Geographic.  This underground crypt hoses 8,000 mummified bodies of Palermo's upper crust and clergy.  For centuries, people would choose a niche to be placed in before their deaths and thus get a feel for some of their future neighbors.  Upon death, their bodies would be dressed in their best outfit and then be dried out.  Interesting but still a little creepy. 


Our seven players all showed up ON TIME!  We are working with two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, a running back, a tight end and a defensive back.  An eclectic collection but we got a lot of work done, it was worth the drive.

Paul coaching a 1 on 1 pass rush vs. pass blocking drill.

Carnevale in Acireale

On the way home we stopped in Acireale, only a few miles north of Malibu, to check out their Carnevale celebration.  With Ash Wednesday occurring next week, this is a six day festival leading up to the start of Lent.  We will return for more festivities this weekend I'm sure.

Nutella Crepes are a key part of any pre-Lenten diet.

They are classified as a Health Food after all aren't they?

It's a Small World

During Paul's 22 kilometer walk last week he ran into these two people who are from Finland where Paul once coached and we ran into them again last night at the Ristorante L'Oste Scuro di Vincenzo Fazio in Acireale.

To the left of Paul are Paivi Iivonen with her husband Heikki.  They actually said that they went to a Porvoo Butchers American football game in Finland last season so that means that they saw both Larry Atkinson and Taber LeMarr, Elephants this season, play for their old Finnish team in 2008.

A small world indeed!

P.S. If you want to read a hilarious account of Paul's 22 kilometer walk while I was in Mexico, click onto Jason's blog  If you know Paul, you'll be glad you did.

Great Friti di Mare Spaghetti

Unlike Paul, the "1928" embroidered on my pullover is the founding date of the Brookside Golf Course that surrounds Pasadena, California's Rose Bowl, hence the rose.  Such a date on Paul's clothing usually denotes the year he bought the particular item. 

The disturbing "Candy Man" of the Acireale Carnevale

Elephant WR/DB Taber LeMarr

While we were in Palermo, the final piece of the Elephants American puzzle finally arrived.  Taber grew up in the Phoenix, Arizona area and attended both the University of Wyoming and the University of San Diego before playing a season in Finland.  He will be a major player in the IFL this season.

No comments: