. It’s also sunny, so that’s a plus! We drive the tiny roads, singing along to the same 10 songs on our long-time favorite radio station RTL 102.5, whose slogan is "Very Normal People." In English. I am convinced it’s a bad translation of “extraordinary” people. Oh well, we now are caught up on all the terrible Italian pop songs, as well as lots of Cee-lo Green.
We were a bit late getting back to our villa, well, because we’re in Italy and everything takes longer than it should and we had to stop at a grocery store for more supplies. In these situations, the German in me comes SHREAKING to the forefront of my psyche and I get super nervous about being late. I shouldn’t have worried. When we got back at 8:15 (dinner is at 8), we poked our heads in the dining room and no one was there. Anna, who is our host and chef, was still making ravioli (Ravioli?!!! That means we’re having homemade ricotta ravioli for dinner! We’ll wait). We headed back across the courtyard to our villa, as the other couple (German, remember) peers nervously out their door at the dining room door. Luckily, I am also Native, which allows me to enjoy a glass of wine by the well with my travel partner until dinner is ready.
And dinner was worth waiting for
. Bruschetta again for an appetizer, with one of the three types being pickled olives and capers, caponata - delicious. The primi was of course the extremely fresh ravioli with ricotta and a light, sweet tomato sauce. The secondi was a pan fried pork cutlet and a salsicce piccante (spicy sausage) with more tomato sauce and an insalta verde (green salad). Dessert to top off this amazing meal was what can most easily be described as donut holes, rolled in sugar. A plate of them. The food here is uncomplicated, simple (you can use both of these words when talking about food I’ve decided), fresh, and absolutely amazing.
(C) My traveling wife understates the hypertension caused by the potential of showing up late. Even though in my soul, I know this won't be an issue, I am somehow convinced that all will be lost if the whole dinner crowd is left waiting for the discourteous Americans who couldn't be bothered to show up on time for their hot homemade pasta. Why do I fall for this???
I poke my head into the kitchen with a very sober "mi dispiace per essere in ritardo per la cena," which translates loosely into something like, "I'm so sorry for being a retard, we were driving on very windey roads." La Signora says to me, "it's ok. my son is a retard too." Just kidding
. Instead she apologizes for being late herself - which I can clearly see because she is just now rolling out all the ravioli balls. I'm no Italian chef, but I'm pretty sure those balls still have to go into a dough blanket so we have some TIME. After I about killed us, three chickens, and a goat, we're not the ones who are late. Thank god. Time to open some wine and bring Sara down off the ceiling of the car - where she's been latched since our 8-second ride off the mountain.
OH! Ragusa Ibla and Noto are very cool stops. We narrowed down our rain-limited travel schedule to just these two towns and they did not disappoint. Noto is a beautiful stop - although I'm not sure it would warrant more than a couple of hours. Ragusa Ibla was really amazing. I loved the tiny alleys, stairs and sheer vertical life of these Sicilians. Sara was not as bemused and mostly put up with my Disneyesque blather. We happened upon a wake in the duomo which was very interesting. Other than that - it's a beautiful stop.
(S) Ahhh..blissful sleeping in. The proprietors left us a baguette on our door, which we had with delicious cheese and pistachio salame (it's good, don’t judge) we had leftover from our picnic. After a leisurely time looking at our pictures and checking email, I decided to take a shower. Only to find we had ZERO hot water. Ahhh…the hot water heater in this room is not working. Which we only realized after an hour of trying to find the caretakers who had vanished into the Sicilian countryside and then finally showed up with a dude in a suit and five cell phones. Yes, broken. Now you will move to a new room where it is working. While bigger and probably more expensive, our new room doesn’t have the same rustic charm as our old one. Oh well. The water is super hot. After some laundry in the sink we finally got on the road at 2 pm. So much for driving to Syracuse for the day. Instead it is off to Noto and Ragusa Ibla, two beautiful Baroque style towns, which are perfect for strolling and enjoying mandorle (almond) gelato and an arancini (tough to describe but rice stuffed with ragu and deep fried to look like oranges – hence the name)