May 1st was Labor Day and May Day – another holiday in Italy. Our plan to take a bus to see Ragusa on Sicilia – Sicily, for the day was not a viable option, because no buses were operating. We decided that the city of Modica had enough to satisfy our interests instead of trying to seek other transportation. Our host first took us to his neighbor’s multi-generational cheese business – of about 300 years operation. When Loren inquired, the father’s favorite part of the work is all of it!
The eldest son has a preference for the animals – like bringing the 40 cows in to be milked. This farm has a barn with the fattest hens, which are in stark contrast to so many of the chickens roaming around Africa being the skinniest, that I have ever seen.
Then Loren and I took two different two-hour walking tours around the steep and flat streets of the citta – city, as written up by the Tourist Information office. These offered us opportunities for more belvedere – beautiful views, and to visit places of local interest.
The next day we left Modica by bus, train, then bus again to arrive in Agrigento. Here we saw Valle dei Templi – Valley of the Temples, where we found more ruins of ancient Greek culture in Sicily.
We had a memorable dinner at the very nice restaurant of a friend of our AirBnB host.
We also this week visited Scala dei Turchi – Turkish steps, carved by waves against stark white cliff rock. It was during our taxi ride there that I noticed graffiti proclaiming: TUTTI DIVERSI, TUTTI UGALI. I may not fully understand the meaning but definitely like the idea: all are unique, all are equal! It reminds me of the first Unitarian Universalist principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person…
Reluctantly, we caught our bus for the long ride to the airport, which was back in Catania where we began our visit to Sicily.
Our evening flight brought us safely to Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. We were grateful that we had had the fairly good weather day on Mt. Etna when we were in Catania before… who knew it would soon feel like winter again in May in Sicily? Fortunately the weather is warmer now in Sardegna – Sardinia.
We picked up a rental car, and, with the agent’s urging, followed a different route than Loren had mapped out. We must have missed a turn, stopped for directions and wound up driving a good hour in pitch dark along a winding, mountainous dirt road. We saw a few animals dart from one side to the other in front of us, and were glad our high beams illuminated the deer far enough ahead. Fortunately on the other side of the mountain our cell phone worked again and our agriturisma host offered to meet us in the town of Santadi to lead us to her farm in Su Benatzsu. Tutto buona – all is good! This is our first agriturisma, of a few where we will stay in Sardinia. At this particular one they have vineyards, vegetables, 300 sheep, 200 goats, among hogs, roosters, chickens, numerous dogs and puppies. The goats are milked daily – the sheep are milked twice daily!
We definitely know we are back in Italy from these generous piatti – plates, that are just the antipasto to our dishes to come – of pasta, meat and dolce – literally sweet or what Americans would call desert.
We have enjoyed having our rental car which allowed us to visit a few of the surrounding communities and seaside towns. Porto Botte, Isola di Sant’Antiocio, Calasetta, Nora, Pula, and Teulada are the main ones we have visited so far. Yesterday we found a farmer’s land with what conveys a creative sense of humor. I think the standing cyclist bears a slight resemblance to Loren, who very much misses having his bicycle on our journey…
Pula was of special interest for its many streets being decorated overhead with strings and strings colorful banners to celebrate Sant’Efisio. We just missed the actual Festa on May 1 but marveled at the delightful appearance of the streets.
Tomorrow we will join some of the locals who we had met when we stopped for gelato – Italian ice cream, for a two hour hike near Teulada before we leave the community of Santali. Maybe we can walk off just a little bit of what we have consumed…