Saturday, June 20, 2009

One Year in Italy

Today, Saturday, June 20, 2009, is my 365th day living in Sicily over the last two seasons, i.e.,

Does this make me eligible for Italian citizenship?

Rule #1 of Living in Sicily: Never try to go to the beach on a summer weekend, TOO CROWDED!!!

Instead we decided to drive up to the Mt. Etna hillside town of Belpasso to find the home stadium of our own Serie A2 Catania Warriors Paternó baseball team and maybe do a little shopping at the Etnapolis Mega Mall.

Hey, this is as close to Dodger Stadium as I can get for the next 25 days!

They play the hated
Etecno1-Fontana Sala Baganza

You have to love the names that some Italian sports teams have to endure for sponsorship money! Sala Barganza is a town in northern Italy near Parma.

We figured this would be an easy stadium to scout out today to save time before the "traditional" 10:00 a.m. first pitch of game one of their doubleheader Sunday.

As we approached Belpasso,
we suddenly realized that
Mt. Etna was taking a smoke break.

Now Belpasso is a small town so the stadium would be easy to spot, right?


Nothing is EVER easy in Sicily. It turns out that Belpasso is indeed a small town but it sits in the middle of huge city limits that stretch out for miles away from the Centro.

We were told at the very friendly café where we had our due (2) cappuccini and brioches that we would never find it on our own because while officially in Belpasso's city limits it is actually right next to far off, by Sicilian standards, Paternó.

I LOVE A CHALLENGE!!! Paternó here we come!

We found a wedding car in Paternó

Paternó's downtown may have more Catholic churches per square inch than any city in Sicily! This is a bold statement, I know, but I think I'm right on this one.

Suprisingly, Paternó's main street is
Via Vittoria Emanuele

The first guy we asked for help in Paternó was a Parking Nazi at a Farmer's Market.

We showed him a slip of paper with our information about the stadium. From their internet site, the Warriors told us that their stadium is located across from the "Ex Stazione Agnelleria". Rather than an actual address that, heaven forbid, we could have programmed into Garmin, they just told us that the stadium is located in front of a no longer functioning train station. . . GREAT!

The Parking Nazi, in his 50's, was proud to announce when we showed him our slip of paper that he could not read! Wonderful. . .

Finally we found a man in his 30's who actually could read AND knew where the stadium is located but he said it was too difficult to find. "Go in that direction" he pointed and added "ask more people along the way as you get closer".

Sage advice if only Sicilian streets were not so convoluted! We eventually stopped at an Esso gas station where we were told to get back on the main highway towards Catania, pass Etnapolis and take the Motta Sant'Anastasia exit and we could NOT miss it.

We did.

But only after stopping at Etnapolis to shop first.

A very hard to not purchase
Italian Frigerator

Now, I know that "frigerator" is not a real word but one of my favorite people in the known universe calls it a "frigerator" instead of a refrigerator.

I figure if I start to use this new phrase often enough on the blog that maybe, just maybe, the O.E.D. will buy into it and take my friend off the hook.

Could happen.

Colorful Italian Appliances

Andy Contreras and his bride, Jenn,
live in Las Vegas, Nevada

For some strange reason, every time I see this movie, in any language, I want to go on a cruise of the Mexican Riviera

This one week cruise departs from Long Beach, California and stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.

I wonder what ever happened to "Vomiting Veronica" and "The Wolverine"?

After shopping and waiting out another afternoon tropical storm, we resumed our doomed baseball stadium quest.

This German Military Cemetery sign diverted our attention.

Sign as you enter the Cemetery

Sicily 1939-1945

It turns out that the remains of 4,561 German soldiers from World War II who died fighting for their country against the Allies on Sicily are interred here.

"The soldier's graves are the greatest preachers of peace."
Albert Schweitzer
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

This compact Cemetery begins with this room containing this lone statue and dedication plate naming 28 known and three unknown German soldiers who rest here in one tomb.

From here there are four more rooms each housing the German war dead from one of four Sicilian cities, Caltanissetta, Catania, Messina and Palermo.

The entrance to the room of German war dead from. . .

. . . Caltanissetta

They fell near the now pleasant, lively town of Caltanissetta where we had dinner about ten days ago.

The Catania Room

History can have a VERY sobering effect on the perceptions of your surroundings.

The heaviest concentration of German casualties occured in our own now fun filled, festive Catania.

How is that possible?

Someone added their own Memorial Rocks

The Sun sets behind Malibu

Undaunted by our failure today, we will strike out bright and early tomorrow and promise to root the Catania Warriors Paternó on to victory.

IF we can find the stadium.

No comments: