Monday, August 25, 2008

Greek Theatre in Taromina

Ahem. "Originally built in the Hellentistic age (3rd century BC) and was almost entirely rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, this theatre is known for its magnificent view of the Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna." /tourguide

All I know is, IT'S BEAUTIFUL!!!!

We decided to act like statues...

Ha! :p

Sidenote: Token's carrying my bag. That's not his "man bag" or "murse." ;)

Somebody pinch me. Do I really live here?!?

Taromina Bound! Part One

This weekend, we met up with Token's co-worker, John, and his wife, Patrizia, and drove up to the city of Taromina. Taromina is known as the Sicilian Riviera and sits high on top of a bluff that overlooks the Ionian Sea. It's a big time resort destination and is usually really busy around this time of the year, but we lucked out and the crowds weren't too bad. To get up to the town, we parked in a parking garage and then took a free shuttle bus up the mountain. Token's a nerd, as you can see here. Haha!

We ate gelato, walked around, and shopped. It was fun!
Because it's a resort town, there are a lot of people around in swimsuits, which is why there are signs like this all over the place:
These pottery pieces are really popular here, too. You stick a candle underneath them, and they are really cool.

Token being a dork, again. ;)

Us! Haha!

Oh, boy. Here's just a random shot of what trends are popular here. Guys wearing purple shirts and tight white pants. Lovely! Usually they are wearing pink or red pants, but not today!

All over the town, there are artists painting, drawing, and selling their work. Whenever we go back, we may have to snag some of this lady's stuff. It was good!!

Random prettiness:

Me enjoying my cherry gelato. Mmm...

Yours truly, again.

We don't know what this is, but it's the Kiss Burger. Interesting.

The apartments around the area have all of these flowers and plants. Very cool!!

Next up - Greek Theatre

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Exploring Catania

After we stopped at the lidos, we made our way into Catania. The city is pretty close to the base - only about 25 minutes or so. Our first stop was in to a pastry shop. Decisions, decisions...

There are a lot of old Catholic churches around Catania. They said in our class that Sicily was overtaken a number of times by a number of other countries, and each of those countries built a cathedral or some other type of landmark on the land, so the variation in different architecture is outstanding.

Catania's symbol is an elephant. In fact, their soccer team is the Catania Elephants. Our tour guide said that Sicily once did have elephants on it, but they weren't the kind that we are used to - they were "miniature elephants" he said. Why they disappeared is a mystery. Some say that it was evolution others say they were hunted... no one really knows why.

This is the main cathedral in Catania. It's in the city centre, and is to honor Saint Agata.

This one of the many statues you can find around the city. It was built for Cardinal Dusmet.

Okay.... so, we felt adventurous and decided that maybe the fish market would be a good place to go. Ummm... probably not the best idea for somone who a.) doesn't eat fish, b.) gets grossed out by blood and guts, and c.) hate all things fish - and especially the smell.

I think Token's expression says it all. "What's that smell?"

The guys selling the fish have them all fileted and ready for you to name your price.

They usually have the head of the fish on display, too, so you know what you're getting. Ew.

Sea urchins were bountiful, too. Even if I did eat fish, I wouldn't even know the first thing about cooking these suckers.

You can't see in this picture, but Token is wearing flip flops. Also note that the ground is wet. Due to the smell of our shoes as we headed back toward base following this tour, I'm going to conclude that the wetness on the ground is not water, but actually that of fish guts and gore. Disgusting. We are going to have to blast some kind of hard core cleaner on our shoes to get rid of that stink. Ew, again.

Oh, yay!! We are out of the fish market and on to more pleasant things, like these cutesy little bread things. Mmm...

The man working at this spice stand got some of our Euro.

The fruit looked good, too, but we just browsed.

Oh, hey! A rare picture of me!

This is such a BAAAD picture and so, so blurry, but, I had to include it. After we had time to wander around Catania on our own, we all met up at a fancy 5-star restaurant for lunch. Our tour guide sat at our table, and instead of getting the food the rest of us got, he got fresh octopus.

Token said it was good. I don't know, though.

Here's what we had for our lunch:
-antipasto: chickpea tortilla-like thing, Italian style mozzarella stick, some kind of fried fish thing that looked like an onion ring.
-1st pasta dish: pestachio pasta with some kind of creamy sauce
-salad with bread
-2nd pasta dish: some kind of pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant
-Main entree: I had roasted vegetables, Token had calamari
-Dessert: a little sliver of tiramisu and a little sliver of this strawberry thing
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? Needless to say, I didn't clean ANY of my plates. That's a lot of food! After lunch, we headed back to base, stuffed and ready for a nap. But nap, no we didn't! To pay for our sins from lunch, we hit the gym and worked off probably 1/4 of that meal. Yikes.
And that was our trip to Catania!