217 – 219: Staff Lunch and Rain in the Mountains

217 – Monday 23rd November 2015:  Staff Lunch

The Aged P’s do a huge amount for us:  Personal Assistants – opening post, scanning and emailing docs to us, receiving and collecting parcels, and car care etc.  This was their last day so we picked them up and took them for a staff lunch.  Don’t you find if you treat your staff right, they stay with you?  And we need them to sign up for at least another 5 years!

Seafood - we all wore bibs

Seafood – we all wore bibs

My starter - fried limpets. A very different shape to those on the UK coast. Yummy with all the garlic and a hint of chilli.

My starter – fried limpets. A very different shape to those on the UK coast. Yummy with all the garlic and a hint of chilli.

We have spent two weeks with them and miss them hugely.

218 – Tuesday 24th November 2015:  ‘Gorge’-ous 

Big runs for us and nothing to do with the toilet!  J did 4 miles and I did 5 km … doesn’t that make it sound as if I did more?

We have about a 9 day window before Kerstin joins us from Germany, so we have a window in which to explore a section of Sicily in more detail.  The thought was to head for the hills before winter really sets in as it can be a 10C temperature difference from the coast.  We knew the forecast was clouds and showers, but since we planned to do a bit of walking … no problem!  Huh!

We visited Gole Alcantara.  A seriously large visitor attraction, as the roads to it were really good and they obviously catered for hoards of summer tourists and lots of things for young children to do.  We started with a short film in English about how the deep and narrow gorge had been formed, cutting through the volcanic basalt that had filled a valley.  It was 3d and the narrator – an ant needed stepping on and the butterflies needed swatting so you could see the rock formations!  As it is winter (!) and the gorge is prone to flash flooding, we could not get down to the water level, but there was a route around the top, through a botanical garden, with viewing points.  The heavens opened and served to make the rocks even blacker.  We have seen lots of gorges, but this was seriously different due to the rock formations.  Hence so many pix!

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Prickly Pear – once the thorns are removed it can be used as a juice and added to booze.

We attempted to overnight on a Fattore Amicale (Italian version of France Passion:  farms with free space), but had read on forums that a lot of the farms deny knowledge of ever signing up to the scheme.  And so it proved.  Never mind … Plan B was brilliant.  It was an Agritourism:  vineyard, restaurant, rooms, pool, pukka motorhome services, a shower / toilet block and a VIEW.  We really did not mind the EUR15 fee.

Our pitch with views, once the clouds lifted a bit.

Our pitch with views, once the clouds lifted a bit.

We had arrived early, so both of us did banking and K some Christmas gift ordering.  Lovely phone call with Bron.  During the evening we watched the lightening roll around the hills behind cloud formations.  We had a fair bit of the storm over us too!

 

219 – Wednesday 25th November 2015

Heavy rain, so we had a slow and leisurely start.  We headed for Randazzo and as the skies cleared we parked up and wandered into the town.  We had no sooner alighted from Chardonnay and the heavens opened again (as bad as any Brizzle Drizzle), so we battled to the Duomo (interesting tower as it was predominantly black basalt) and bolted for a cafe … coffee and pizza slices :).  As they are not so used to rain here, the water pours down the streets out of gutterings and gaps in walls.  So heavy, we aborted and headed back to Chardonnay.

 

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James, would that be a cheeky little pizza slice?

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Stashing the beers!

We drove through Bronte (formerly gifted to Horatio Nelson), Adrano and Regelbuto – all in the guide book, but still pretty wet, so no stop offs.  At times the clouds did lift a bit and we could see the hill peaks with ruins atop and the rolling patchwork of fields.  Destination:  Lake Pozzillo Dam – the largest artificial basin in Sicily.  Sunshine as we arrived so we had quick and muddy walk along the shore.

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Our pitch … in front of a running track … and did we use it? But it started to rain!!!!

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It really was very windy and muddy.

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