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Archive for July, 2014

I’ve spent the past week waking up to the clearest blue skies. Skies sweeping overhead and taller than any I’ve seen. Onto my balcony for a sweeping panorama of a flat wide blue sea, interrupted only slightly by a few craggy rocks close to shore, the occasional fisherman perched ontop, casting his rod into the blue. As the sea meets the coast the deep blue moves to royal, then shimmers the most exotic and mesmerising turquoise before lapping against the pale grey pebbles of shore.
As I glance southwards down that shore my eyes follow the snaking curve of the coast. Villages perch on mountain edges that tumble down to meet the sea. This could be a mini Rio.
Wild flowers grow here like weeds, pinks, purples, reds and whites all spilling over the banks, lining the motorways, tumbling over old buildings and bridges, the hues unreal, eye-popping vibrancy against those blue skies.
And the heat is intense. It envelopes you like a heavy blanket during the day, when by the coast the breeze provides relief. Local sit in the shade and suck on oranges the size of small footballs, grown in the fertile soil of Etna.
We’re living on that beautiful snakey coast, facing out onto the Ionian Sea. Up the coast lies the mainland, a 35 mile swim to the boot of Italy. Down the coast is the dominating presence of Mount Etna, watching over us all.
We drove up Etna during the week, climbing the giddy heights. Peeking into the giant pock marks – craters blown into existence in recent years. She still grumbles. She still smokes from her top. We scaled her sides on a ski lift then moon buggy and climbed another crater, felt warm earth where lava was 15 days ago. We gazed in awe at the top most peak, not allowed to trek there unless you have special permission.
On the way down, winding past the frozen lava fields, with lush grasses and flowers sprouting from the mineral rich soil, it’s easy to understand the mutant citrus fruits we see at breakfast. Passing through towns scorched and cindered black from “the dust” we wonder if they are scared when they hear the frequent grumble.
Getting accustomed to the balmy climate, the no-rules traffic, the abundance of oranges and lemons, the fresh seafood, the glittering bright and pricey boutiques, the medieval charming town of Taormina, our Sicilian home for seven days…

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