This is … The Blog Behind the Blog (AKA … Linda's commentary on Sicily). Linda posted this on her Facebook and titled it "Ah, Sicily!" Below is her PS to our experiences there … Enjoy!
What really went on in Sicily? Why did we return in a carb daze? Why did we want to take a nap every day? Here's the secret blog–what you won't see in JQ's blog.
Some things about Italy: Mornings are often spent in the market, then comes riposo. Somewhere around 1 PM, riposo begins. If you don't get out of the house early, there's no point in going out until around 4-5 in the afternoon, because everyone closes up shop and goes home. Yep! They go home and eat and sleep. We liked that concept and would like to begin that tradition right here at home. We took advantage of riposo once or twice, but mostly we were out looking for an open caffe somewhere to get a snack. That's where we were when Jacqueline discovered the arancino. It is a rice ball–shaped like a pear–filled with cheese, ham, or whatever, then deep fried. Arancini can be good to very good to delicious. We tried to find the best. There was no diet cherry Coke, but we managed with Coke zero. Cipollino means onion, but there is a pastry filled with prosciutto and onions that is called cipollini that can be found at these same little caffes and they, too, make a nice little snack. More about food later.
Ah, pastries …
Life is less organized in Italy. Schedules don't appear to be important. That's why riposo begins around 1 and ends around 4-5 PM. It varies from day to day and place to place. Usually by 6 PM all the businesses have reopened and by 8 PM the restaurants are opening. That's why you need an afternoon snack, so you aren't too hungry when you finally get to eat dinner! For those of us who live by the clock, this lifestyle can be un-nerving, for a day or two, then you get used to it, then you like it and when you come home, no one understands why you seem different.
Cars are small and people drive like crazy! It's not unusual to see two cars in the same lane on the autostrata driving the kilometer equivalent of 100 miles per hour. To me it's like you put a bunch of marbles in one end of a box, then lift that end and let the marbles roll to the other end. That's how they drive in Italy.
Food is very important to Sicilians. Pasta pistachi, pasta alla Norma (the official pasta of Sicily), pasta carbonara, lasagna, pasta pommodoro, long, skinny pasta, short, fat pasta, straight, wavy, curly pastas. Let's just say, if Forrest Gump had been in Sicily, there may have been a Bubba Gump's Pasta Piazza! Pizza with prosciutto, pizza with funghi (mushrooms), pizza with quattro formaggio. Arancino, gelato nocciola (hazelnut), gelato pistachio, gelato bocia, ciocolatta, Nutella, cornetto con crema, pasticerria and more! That doesn't include the cheeses, sausages, and peppers. These are some of the foods we ate, some for the first time, others several times, always late at night. Gelato is everywhere and, of course, there is always a wide array of cookies and pastries from which to choose if you want something sweet to go with your espresso, caffe or cappucino. (See note above about riposo foods.)
Pasta alla Norma & Pasta Carbonara …
Italians act like they don't understand English. Although some speak English to varying degrees, most Italians understand English fairly well, however, they refuse to let you know that until you've butchered their language while flipping through the Italian-English dictionary you got for your trip. If you make an attempt to speak Italian, they will speak to you in English.It's a little game we play. I kind of like trying to learn Italian while I'm there and always vow to learn the language after I get home. Each time, I understand a little more and try a little harder. After every trip to Sicily, I long to return there.
For every dollar you give them, you get about 71-73 cents back. The prices don't look too bad. "Oh, those shoes only cost 29 euros!" Of course that's about $45! Or is it $50? Your guess is as good as mine. The fact is that you are paying more than you think for everything. That's part of the fun. In between eating we went shopping! If it ever cools off enough, you'll get to see our new coats! (They're purple!) Purple is everywhere in Sicily. It's almost as prevalent as gelato! We got shoes, too, and lots of gifts for our families. We lugged everything home in our carry-ons since our luggage maxed out the weight allowance, with our newly acquired attitude known as "va bene". I think Jacqueline is going to tell you about that, so I'll stop here.
Now you know "the rest of the story", as Paul Harvey would have said. While you are reading Jacqueline's blog, remember to read between the lines with this new information.
Thanks, Linda, for this very scrumptious reminder of our wonderful time in Sicily! My next post will be titled, "Va Bene!" Until then, you'll just have to wonder what that really means!!