Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vino, Vidi, Vici

We have had no electricity at Malibu for a couple of days, as well as no hot water today.  As it turns out the two problems were connected. . . hmm, water and electricity don't mix do they?  Well our trusty plumber/electrician will be installing a new water heater on Thursday and after disconnecting our old one, he restored the electricity.

As a result of all of this and our varied travels with David and Gayle the blog has a lot of catching up to do, here goes.


David and Gayle at Taormina

First up was the half hour drive north to the jet set resort town of Taormina.  Always a favorite spot for us, it was great sharing it with them on a beautiful day that was relatively tourist free.

White Hat

I think that from now on all Italian Football League Head Referees should wear this style of white hat instead of the traditional white baseball cap, MUCH MORE STYLISH!  

Actually these men are attending a wedding at the nearby church.

Gayle got dizzy when she found out the Michael Bolton (Michael Bolton?)
is playing in Taormina's ancient Greek Theater on July 16th.

Three of my favorite ladies all together for once.

The very chic Wunderbar

A Wunderbar Waiter hard at work.

I have yet to eat or drink at the Wunderbar, maybe some day. . .

In the distance, two cruise ships anchored at Giardini-Naxos.

Spring is FINALLY here. . .


HUGE Ceramic Table Top

This table top was close to five feet in diameter.  Gayle swore she could get it into the overhead for the flight home.

In case you were wondering how to get in contact with Rudolph.

Taormina's Greek Theater built in the 3rd Century B.C.

Yes, that IS Mt. Etna in the background.

 The ancient Greeks certainly had an eye for beauty.

A very cool business sign near the Greek Theater.

The Bride and Groom

After getting hitched early in one of the many churches in Taormina, the happy couple sat down to eat and have their pictures taken.

Stop #2 on Monday
Wine Tasting at the Gambino Winery

Food, Friendship and Wine Tasting

We got to sample five of Gambino's best wines.

After tasting two white wines and two red wines, Gayle finally got a little giddy on the fifth and final wine that they served us, another delicious red.

Two Black Eyes

At the Junior practice Monday night, it was confirmed, Elephant CB Riccardo Conticello broke his nose in the Parma game.

WR Eduardo Gulisano, #10, streaking upfield to catch a TD bomb from QB Andrea Conticello.

Post-Juniors Practice Jonathan's Run

Post-Jonathan's Ernesto's Dolce Run


Amid the frenzy of the Catania Fish Market

Hey Gayle, I think those are chickens next to David.

An Onion Bundler hard at work at the produce area of the Fish Market.

Stop #2, Caltagirone

This hilltop town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been famous for their ceramics since the middle ages.  We came to lighten their load.

La Scala de Santa Maria del Monte

Note that every flight of these 142 stairs has it's own unique set of ceramic majolica tiles.  Of course, you will find several outstanding ceramics vendors along La Scala. 

Chiesa Santa Maria del Monte

Shouldn't the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus weed the church tower every now and again?

David clebrates still being alive after climbing to the top of La Scala!

Two sisters strolling through Caltagirone on a beautiful spring day.

No, that is not upholstrey, it is a SCULPTED bench.

Caltagirone's cool Piazza Municipo Clock

One last view of another church in Caltagirone.

Stop #3, Siracusa

We then headed to the city of Siracusa (Syracuse) that is more than 2,700 years old.  Because we were hungry we decided to get a quick bite to eat before entering Siracusa's Archeological Park.

Here Laurie holds one of our eatery's outdoor plastic chairs advertising Birra Moretti.  I bring this up because about two minutes after sitting down I laid back and broke both arms of the chair away from it's back.  As usual, everyone got a big laugh out of a big man's misfortune.  The workers raced to our table upon hearing the loud crack of the plastic only to find that my cat-like reflexes had stopped me from going over flat on my back.

They brought me a new chair advertising Birra Peroni, a stronger beer and a stronger chair.

Guess what, at the end of our meal, skinny David broke his Birra Moretti chair too.

Not so funny anymore!  You can see one of the two breaks in his chair next to his right elbow.  He finished the meal in a Birra Peroni chair as well.

At Siracusa's Roman Amphitheater

This site was nice but the big deal of the day was Siracusa's older but much more impressive Greek Theater that is still used to this day.  In fact, a performance of Sophocle's tragedy "Oedipus at Colonus" was scheduled for 6:45 p.m. that evening.
Italian Logic Part I

We arrived at the Archeological Park's box office at 4:15 p.m. and bought four tickets to enter the Park at a cost of 8 Euros apiece.  We were told that the Park would not close until 7:00 p.m.

We stopped, as you already saw, at the Roman Amphitheater along the way before attempting to enter what is considered by most experts to be one of the most important examples of ancient theater architecture, Siracusa's Greek Theater.  It was the main reason for coming to Siracusa in the first place.

When we got to the Greek Theater at 4:35 we were informed that it closed at 4:30 to prepare for the evening's performance but that our tickets would be good for the next day.  Informing them that two of us were flying to Rome the next day and that it would have been very nice if the ticket seller had mentioned the imminent closing of the Park's star attraction led to some heated phone conversations between the ticket taker and the ticket seller.

I marched back up to the both and waited about 20 minutes until four different people decided to pay their 8 Euros apiece AFTER being told that the Greek Theater was off limits.  The same ticket seller gave them each one of our four tickets and reimbursed us our 32 Euros.

Italian Logic Part II

This is gthe only parking lot anywhere near the Greek Theater and they clearly told us when we parked that their gates would be closed at 7:00 p.m. when their business day was over.

No problem for us but I had a thought as we returned to our car in a now nearly empty parking lot after fighting our way through the huge crowds assembling to see Sophocle's play at 6:45 p.m.  Wouldn't it benefit the parking lot's owners to stay open until after the play ended to make a lot of money at 3 Euros per car?  Of couse, the answer is no.

Seward Johnson's "The Awakening"

This wild sculpture was on display after the recent G8 Environmental Summit talk in Siracusa.  It is in the Piazza Duomo in the Siracusa's island of Ortygia.


Siracusa's Duomo

Atop the Duomo, an unidentified Saint.

The Duomo's Gate

A Grave in the Duomo

What is E.T. doing in the Duomo?

I'm not sure how this guy wronged this lady but she'll be stepping on his head for a long time to come!

Shadows on the Duomo

Back in Aci Castello, one last supper at Dietro le Mura.

Cecillia, our fun loving waitress!

The Gardner Girls and their pizzas.


Good Times Indeed!!!

Having survived the most dangerous part of their vacation, i.e., driving in Catania, we said good bye to Gayle and David at Catania's Fontanarossa International Airport.  I hope they had as good a time as we did!

Salame Rondello

We stopped at the market on the way home and found these for sale. I thought they were sugar doughnuts.  We bought one anyway.

The Elephants of the future parade at Wednesday night's Juniors practice.

We did a lot of very enjoyable running around for the last five days with Gayle and David.  We have decided to spend the next couple of days in the Aeolian Islands relaxing by the Tyrrhenian Sea.  We'll be based on the island of Lipari but plan to visit three or four of the surrounding islands as well.

1 comment:

Barbara Owen, UK said...

An interesting blog which I came across by chance when seeking info on 'The Awakening' which I also saw in Ortygia a couple of weeks ago.
Did you know that tickets to the Archeological Park in Syracuse are free of charge to people over 60 years of age on production of ID? (not that I am suggesting any of you may be over 60, of course!)
Best wishes, Barbara