After a long sleepless night at stansted airport, which i endured after practically being molested by the security guard aftr check in (body searched etc)- do i look like a terrorist?? - must be the blonde hair- very al qaedia. anyway i arrived in palermo at about 11 italian time. After getting off the plane I arrived at baggage collection, and then it dawned on me........ that here,.....in Italy....... they spoke Italian...... and I did not know a word. yes it was a very blonde moment, and i know i am leaving myself vulnerable to riducule revealing this!
anyway Palermo was stunning and the mountains were amazing, set against a sparkiling mediteranean ocean. I managed to get on the bus from the airport to the city, but with no italian even that was a struggle. I then experienced the roads of palermo, and am happy to say lived to tell the tale..... it is abosulte mayhem!!!! freaking riduclous driving, how anyone survives remains a mystery to me. anyhoo i then caught a bus to catania, and hence went through the interior of sicily. by this stage it was about 1:30 and the heat was 36C, which coming from london was hard to handle. The interior of sicily is beautiful, mountains and old vineyards, it defines the real italy so well. I arrived in Catania, exhausted and hot, and lugged my backpack to the nearest pay phone to call Ricardo, a Doctor friend of my father from our days of living in the UK when i was little tot. I attemped to buya phone card, but the language barrier proved an obstacle. A young italian boy saw me and offered his help, so i tried to call Ricardo, but instead i got an Italian man, who evidently knew no english. at this point i was a bit stuck for what to do. it was one of those travelling moments where you sigh and wonder why yyou are here. I made my way to the tourist information , who were highly unhelpful but instructed me to a hostel with an internet point where i could reach ricardo. i waited in the line for a bus ticket, but a italian boy, about my age asked me if i wanted lift to the hostel, and although i knew this could end in tears, and probably against my better judgement I said yes. so there i was driving along in a car through the rough streets of catania with Ferdinand, who later said now he could tell his friends he picked up a blonde australian girl today- lol. I arrived at the hostel and e-mailed ricardo. I sat outside the bar, sipping on iced tea, oblivious to the fact that i was in the dodgest, most dangerous part of catania. Catania is an old city, with little of or tourists, which is in the end why i liked it so much, its the true italy , where you can observe how the locals live. At the hostel i met an aussie called Ida from Coburg in melbourne, she could speak italian, and so it helped to sort things out. She said this was the area most likely toget attacked, needless to say it didn't help that i was blonde, in a sea of scary italian men. they are really something else, i mean they call out to you and yell at you, what I could say! eventually ricardo picked me up and i met his beautiful wife and cute kids. i have never been so relieved in my life!
that night i enjoyed a big italian party as it was ricardo's birthday and his wife ahad organised a suprise party. amazing pasta and food, and really kewl to see the italians such lively interactions. I went to bed at about 11, and slept like a baby.
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