Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eurotrip 2011: So I walk into a Grocery Store in Sicily...

Parking in Messina is about the same as Rome.

After leaving Piazza del Duomo we made a b-line for the shopping district referred to us by our excursion specialist - in Taormina. Even though Messina and Taormina are separate cities, we were close to the boarder so walking distance was only a couple miles. Going off the map (which I wish I still had to show you), we were walking in the right direction...if the top of the map was actually north. During this walk down the wrong road we saw a church. I took pictures of the church without knowing exactly what it was, but thanks to my memory assisted by the wonders of google maps, I can show you where it was here.

If you look around the lower center on the map window you'll see Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale S. Maria Della Lettera, or Catholic Church of St. Mary's Letter. Once we looked around, the map we had showed an icon of a church dome which looked a lot like the one on top of this large church. Given false clues and the wrong representation of North, we ended up going down Via Maggio much further. After Beth twisted my arm we spoke to a local who gave us some directions which completely contradicted the map we had...or the way I was holding it. The fact that small street names didn't appear on this clown map didn't help either, but we ended up understanding the discrepancy at the next major intersection. The church on the map wasn't the same as what we saw, and we were two streets over from where we were supposed to be. Once that was figured out we began walking towards the shopping district.

Passed the University of Messina while wandering.
If you're still following along on google maps (it's completely unnecessary but if you are, awesome), we cut down Via Nicola Fabrizi and took a right into Piazza Cairoli. After walking a bit we found the Canoli place we were told about, Irrera 1910. Since we needed to go further to get to the Coin department store, we took note and kept on going. Arriving at Coin I noticed there was a grocery store nearby. I needed a couple things - a neosporin equivalent, some fruit and juice. So I walk into this grocery store and start eyeballing the fruit section. They had plenty of unique varieties of the same things we have, nectarines, pears, etc., and I had been eating so much starch and meat I bagged up a couple of everything. After making my way to the soda Isle to see if I could find some bottled water I saw their beer selection and other items. Once again, no face cloths or cut ointment, but they had some non-refrigerated juices which would be great in the morning. I started my checkout process, then the senior woman behind the counter started an uproar ha. I didn't quite understand everything she was yelling, but I figured out the prices were missing from my individually bagged fruit. I left the line and a nice old Sicilian man showed me how to apply the prices using a scale that wasn't in my view originally. After those were labelled I thanked him and checked out. While waiting on Beth to wrap up, I snapped a little bit in the street.

Loses a little bit in translation...or lack there of.
Sicily has some interesting traffic signals.

We headed back towards the ship and walked into the pasticceria (pastry shop) Irrera 1910 in Piazza Cairoli. Wow. There were delectables as far as the eye could see and any coffee, cappuccino or espresso variety you wanted local to the region. Through some rough translation, I ordered a double scoop of gelati (strawberry and lemon) and beth requested a canoli that they made fresh, upon order, behind the counter. We had a seat towards the back of the store and rested our legs. Soon afterwards we dug in. I'll tell you what, I don't really seek sweets out. I don't buy canolis when they're available at restaurants. If every canoli was as good as this one, I'd get them with every meal out. The ricotta was so silky smooth, the sweetness was pronounced without being overwhelming; truly outstanding. And the gelati was more flavorful than it appeared. I think that's why I enjoyed most about Italy's cuisine, the fact that real ingredients and their flavors jumped off the dish. The strawberry was STRAWBERRY and the lemon was LEMON; it's like someone figured out how to turn the volume up without annoying the neighbors. If I end up in Sicily again, I'll make it a point to go back. No doubt about it.

Completely redundant, but you need to see the freshly chopped peanuts and chocolate chips. Mhm.
We left with smiles then walked back towards the boat. Upon the check-in/frisking/metal detecting/security-ing, I was told I couldn't bring fruit on board. Sigh. I think my expression twisted my security officers arm (think the movie cover of Platoon with less arm dramatics), and she let me do it 'just this once'. I thanked her and we returned to our room. The view from the balcony was even better on departure, the sun was much friendlier. We relaxed in our room as the boat set off to Athens, Greece. Another nice day checked off, it was time to get ready for dinner.

'That's a huge ship.'
Heading back out to sea.

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