Sometimes imagining what a place is like, miles away, with only illusions, photographs and stories to guide you, makes for the best kind of daydreaming. And dreaming about magical places comes most naturally when your city turns sad and pessimistic; Jack Frost teasing from the horizon. We watch our skin go from golden-brown to pale, as we picture a place with 360 days of sunshine, where row boats in primary colors lie washed up on a white, smooth beach. We daydream about rhythmic music and drums and fresh fish markets that are brimming with people. We daydream about a place like Cape Verde.
We’ve come to the the last leg of a short, but intense, trip through Southern Italy: a three-day escape to the north western coast of Sicily. From the markets and church domes of Palermo, to the natural and rustic Isole Egadi, there was a lot of ground (and sea) to cover in only a few days. I discovered hidden coves frequented only by locals and Italian vacationers, and cycled over dusty coastal paths in Favignana. I swam in cleansing, crystal blue water that was so clear you could spot jellyfish before they stung you. I walked through streets of white cubed houses with bright blue shutters that inspired the decor of a non-existent, future home. And now, I’m going to share with you just how to make the most of 36 hours in Sicily.
It’s hard to compress eternity into just two days… It is Roma Aeterna, after all. But I’ve discovered that if you’re savvy at crowd-dodging, willing to wake up at sunrise and generally a good power-walker, then you can actually squeeze a lot into 48 hours. There are many itineraries out there on what to see and where to eat when in Rome, yet I find that the best itineraries are our own – the ones that come from wandering. So, an espresso in my veins and a map in my hand, I braved this chaotic city without a minute to waste. Because while Rome may be eternal, nobody should wait forever to see it.
In just over 24 hours, I will be getting on a plane to cross the Mediterranean for Rome. From there I will eventually make my way down and over to Sicily: the ball that the boot kicks, the haven for Italian mafia, the island of volcanos and waters in brilliant blue. In anticipation of such an adventure (and as I sit staring at an empty duffle bag) here’s what my ideal Sicily-bound suitcase would contain…
Growing up, I lived in a house that looked out to sea. During those first ten years of my life, sand and salt water always found their way into our living room via flip-flops, damp swim suits and goggles. Sunny days always equated to beach days without a second thought, and the seashore was our backyard. I miss it often, and even though the other half of my days have been spent in a big city, I still get those sudden pangs of yearning for the ocean.
So last weekend I escaped for three days to a small fishing town on the northern, Galician coast of Spain. Arriving at sunrise, I opened my eyes to a distant view of the ocean, peeking through the windshield… And it felt like coming home.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted some tunes on here. And I know we’re over half way through summer, but it’s never too late to share music for easy listening in the car, on the road, by the pool, at the beach, in the city, at your cubicle… Because there’s more than one acceptable way to beat the heat.
Moving to three different cities in three years means I’ve experienced three challenging (some more than others) quests for the perfect apartment. And while it might have helped to be the kind of traveler who goes with everything set up and ready for arrival, I prefer to figure things out along the way. When I first moved to Paris (a tough city for finding a decent apartment on a budget) I went with a single bag and an overly-optimistic 4-night booking at a youth hostel. Daunting as it was, had I not done this, I would’ve never found the best apartment gig I could have asked for… And, if I were to do it all over again, here are a few things I would have liked to know before arriving in each place: