Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Over the past 11 months I’ve come to appreciate living in Trondheim, Norway. Mid summer is amazing because it is never dark. However, the sun is never hot and we Australians were missing being able to go out without a jacket. So, our solution was to fly to Catania, Sicily. Today we had 30C with a sea breeze and we are very happy with our choice of location.
We didn’t hire a car because we haven’t driven in southern Italy before and we aren’t sure if we have the reflexes required!
Today we had a wonderful breakfast at home of baked ricotta, melanze involtini (eggplant rolls), robiola cheese (nicely ripe), caponata and marinated green olives. Together with espresso coffee, fresh apricots and some Italian biscuits, it was delicious!
After breakfast we walked to the Fera ‘o Luni markets. Along the way we looked in the pasticceria at the baked treats (and sampled some). Since reading Bitter Almonds by Mary Taylor Simeti, I’ve been looking forward to seeing and sampling Sicily’s famous sweets shaped by hand into realistic and familiar shapes. Today we saw a cake decorated with a certificate, fruit and all made from marzipan. We enjoyed looking in the delicatessens with local wine, cheese, salume and pickled vegetables. My favourite was called Vice and Virtue. I bought one of their handmade salami and I’m looking forward to trying it!
We were surprised to find small octagonal wooden buildings in the footpath that had espresso machines and a bar serving alcohol.
Ever since reading Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb I’ve wanted to come to Sicily. It’s wonderful here. Many of the people are friendly, the buildings are crumbling gracefully, the food is fresh and cheap and the climate is amazing.
After a small ice cream for our children, we continued to the markets. The super-abundence of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw meat and fresh seafood was awe-inspiring. Unlike touristic produce markets that we’ve been to elsewhere, here we were among locals buying their fresh food and there weren’t any stalls offering value added products. Many stall holders didn’t speak to us and those who did used Italian. One vendor offered us sweet watermelon to try. We deliberated about buying anything, knowing that we have good produce shops near our apartment and that we’d have to carry everything for the rest of the day but eventually we gave in to temptation and started loading ourselves with vegetables, fruit and some local wine. We bought some of our favourite vegetables that are excruciatingly expensive in Norway, like green beans and a kilo of cherry tomatoes, each for 1€.
My husband visited Sicily as a teenager and has talked about the granita since then. When I saw a stall selling granite we bought one lemon, one apricot and for me one almond with coffee added. Mine was great and our children seemed satisfied with theirs. The vendor set-up chairs under umbrellas behind his stall for us and we sat in the shade enjoying our treats and a break from carrying our groceries. He also brought us glasses of water for free. It was wonderfully generous of him.
Further along we looked at the clothes stalls and I bought a Caledonia bikini for 6€. We all enjoyed walking through the markets and gaining insight into daily life in Catania.