Note from AggieB: I was supposed to spend a week in Sicily with a friend and her family. I didn’t make it because of work, but Cynthia is posting on Facebook and making us all jealous. I asked her to write a guest blog for Agatha Bertram, describing a typical day …
Eat. Swim. Sleep. That about sums up our days. There have been seven already here in Sicily.
The town is called Capo d’Orlando. It has a population of 13,000 which doubles in the summers. Most of the year there are so many empty apartments. When the economy wasn’t so bad, it went up to 50,000 in the summer brimming with tourists. It’s in the middle of the north coast of Sicily half way between Palermo and Messina.
We are awake well before the bread van honks it’s horn at 8am to announce it’s arrival to all the nonnas who run out to be first served. I swear when I came here in my early 20’s going out to the discoteca until early morning that bread van toot was at 6am, waking me up five minutes after I went to bed. Now, getting up early with kids, 8am is a long wait for my brioche or croissant for breakfast.
There’s a fish van and fruit van, the occasional linen van and other random vans that pass my dad’s apartment. It is in a complex full of cousins, uncles and aunties. So are the relatives on every side. Its a ‘buongiorno’ to all and time for a swim.
We often forget our shoes and have to sprint over the hot pebbles straight into the water. My husband suffered a foot blister. Oh the pain of this lifestyle! The water is almost always calm and clear. It’s always hot, and always inviting. Because of the family situation mentioned above there is always at least one set of cousins around to splash with.
Time flies and before we know it, it’s time for lunch at one of the aunties. My memories are of the Italian tomatoes, full of flavour and richness, cooked fresh with just a bit of garlic, basil and passion, and served on penne so very al dente. Reality proves me right. The tomatoes and all the fruit and veg we eat come from the uncles veggie patches across the road and we were served exactly that only hours after touch down and then every day since.
After pasta there’s some sort of main; a zucchini frittata, veal involtini, meatballs, caponata, or chicken cutlets served with salad, before fruit, then coffee. It’s a long process and the company and chit chat is as wonderful as the meal which of course induces a siesta.
Evening comes and it is beach time again, and this time, almost everyone is down having finished work. The temperatures have been 33 during the day and 25 at night with a very humid heat which means other than the beach, people only go out at night.
Back home my kids love the park, shopping and playing on their devices, but here it’s just, ‘let’s swim’. It’s exactly what we want to do too, it’s just down the stairs of the apartment, it’s hot, we want to cool off, it’s too easy, so we do.
My baby squeals as his feet first touch the water then splashes with such joy only a moment later. My toddler and his cousins are so busy jumping off the pontoon or trying to catch prawns over at the rock pool with their fishing nets. We splash until 8pm then go in for dinner on our terrace watching the sunset.
Surely we won’t get sick of this. Back home our kids went down at 7, but here, the night hasn’t even begun. It’s not until after 10 that the town comes alive as we walk through the centre, play at the parks, shop and meet up for granita and gelato. The days are long and really nothing done but eat, swim, sleep, repeat.
This is not a holiday. This is life. I love it.