Mixing with the locals in Gioiosa Marea

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April 16th 2013
Published: April 17th 2013
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Our apartment faces west so we knew we weren’t going to have the early morning sun shining into our bedroom as it did in Monreale. In fact we are tucked into the sloping hillside of a valley and it was only the telltale hue of light on the hills opposite us that gave away that the sun was on its way. The crow of a rooster nearby also gave the arriving of dawn away.

Today is a rest day.

We decided on two days here when we arrived in Sicily just in case we did not get enough of Mt Etna as it is just a short drive away over the mountain range. We can’t see it from here as the range rises too sharply up from the town. However we felt we had seen all we needed to of Mt Etna when we were in and had left Giardini Naxos and so today will be a day to spend with the locals in the tidy little town of GM (it really is hard to say and just as difficult to spell such is the way the letters are formed in the name).

We had also considered a boat ride out to Vulcano subject to the sea being calm and although the sea is almost as smooth as glass the boat trip leaves from a town a further 30km on so we will be happy looking at the islands from the shore.

The facilities in the apartment are great value for the €20 per night and the BBA V2 budget is feeling very pleased as we hadn’t thought we would get prices and accommodation value this good and cheap in Italy.

After an indulgent sleep in we had breakfast listening to a CD put together by our girls for my 60th birthday with all my favourite songs reminding us of home and family. We have no internet connection here(the only slight downfall of our €20 per night apartment)and we haven’t been able to find an English speaking TV channel apart from one that played the David Letterman Show last night.

After some washing and a bit of administration with photos and video we headed off down town to take a walk through the town and find a supermarket and buy lunch before the bewitching hour of 1pm arrived and everything closed up for the afternoon.

At the shop we picked up bargain priced 600ml beer for €0.59 or NZ$0.92 and restocked the supply for coming days. No mucking around in Italy with 300ml cans although they are available, we go for a decent size bottle to quench our thirst at the end of a day on the road.

After visiting several supermarkets since starting out we have become aware that wine is available in greater quantities, like 2 litres, than the standard 750ml bottles for not much more in price. We haven’t succumbed to trying the 2 litre bottles yet because of course if we don’t like the wine we would be stuck with it and feel obligated to drinking it.

With tasty looking tomato and olive bread, emmental cheese and salami we were set for lunch which we would go back to the apartment for and wandered our way back through town acknowledging the locals we passed testing out our limited Italian greetings.

A stay in a coastal town should always have a visit to the beach. Here in GM the bay is wide with buildings at both ends commanding the best views from elevated positions. The beach had a sandy area as you left the footpath but it then became stony down to the waters edge. The sea though was a beautiful blue/green colour and to our surprise, given all the rubbish there has been at other beaches we have stopped at, this one at GM was free of any rubbish floating at or near the shoreline. Gretchen dipped her toes in to at least say she has done the southern and northern shores of Sicily but didn’t stay long as the water still had a chill about it.

We headed back to the apartment for lunch and lounge about reading and generally resting in readiness for several days in a row when we will be on the road to get up to Tuskany via the eastern coastline of the mainland.

With our low cost accommodation for two nights we decided to splash out on dinner tonight.We had spotted a pizzeria on the promenade which had tables and chairs with a view out to the sea in a westerly or sunset direction with under large umbrellas.So it was here that we arrived to order two beers and pizza and sat back eating the best and tastiest pizza we have had ever and enjoyed the views of the off shore islands as the sun sank into the sea.As the sun sank into the sea we were thinking about friends and family back in NZ who would shortly be welcoming the same sun rising in the eastern sky for them.

We managed to find our way back to the apartment in the dark OK as surprisingly that although we were in a rural valley away from the town the road had good street lighting for most of the way.

There was more cloud around tonight so taking in the growing moon and stars were not evident as they were last night.

It had been a very restful day mixing with the locals and ended with a tasty pizza in an idyllic spot on the promenade of a lovely small town in Sicily watching the sun sink into the sea.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


18th April 2013

Vulcano sinking or on a slide?
Loving the photos provided with the blog particularly as it is now quite wet in NZ. However I am wondering just how much wine had been drunk when the photo of Vulcano was taken-seems to have a distinct slope to the right! I don't think you'll get any answers from me re your quiz challenge...I'm not sure my brain is ready for another layer of blog world yet especially after absorbing your travel details and photos. Keep up the good work brother and sister-in law!
18th April 2013

Yes,it is one of those things I need to perfect.Gretchen's camera didn't pick up the island clearly enough thru the haze so I took the photo from the video I recorded but of course it is not as steady as a camera.We can assure you the wine was still to be drunk.
19th April 2013

My Competition Question
Every time I travel to Europe I look at the moon and wonder if what I see in the Northern Hemisphere is the same in the Southern Hemisphere. At the moment the moon is half full (or empty) with the bright half to the left. What is it from your vantage point? If you win this competition your prize will be the satisfaction of knowing you have solved one of the many mini mysteries of the solar system.
19th April 2013

Mmnn..........let me think about this one.I might have to get she who knows all about space to help me out !
19th April 2013

The Moon
Just go outside and look at the moon and tell me is the shiny bit on the left or right, top or bottom.

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