Monday, June 24, 2013

Flash Ending

Oh, hi! So, my time in Valladolid has ended. It came so quickly in a rush of fun and unfortunate events. To briefly recap, my mom came to visit me and got to see my life here in Valladolid, including where I work. I went to Porto, Portugal a month ago. The weather was incredible: the first truly good weather of 2013 for me. I got to wear shorts! Success. I also got to practice my Portuguese. It is so much more fun to speak than Spanish. Sorry!

View from our AirBnB apartment. Not too shabby. ;)

I then had a weird health issue pop up out of nowhere. Something neurological and thankfully not serious. Unfortunately it took a week of my time spent under hospital arrest to find that out. So, the year really ended in an abrupt, anti-climactic fashion. I was working, working, working, absent for a stressful week, and two days of work later, BAM, finished!

Goodbye Mojados!
Lacking closure, I immediately departed for Sicily with Matt. We had been reading up on the island thanks to some really helpful Lonely Planet PDFs (a dream on my iphone), and to help set the mood we watched the second and third installations of the Godfather series. I was definitely excited to go, especially after getting a taste of sunny, beachy, summer weather in Portugal.

That's what I'm talkin' about. In Mondello outside of Palermo.
Sicily is incredible. After a week there I felt like I could've easily stayed two more; I mean there's so much to see. We narrowed down our itinerary to three cities: Palermo, Agrigento, Syracuse, back to Palermo to flight back home.

Being in Sicily definitely made me appreciate Spain more. It felt like some strange mix between Brazil's infrastructure and general cleanliness and Spain's wealth of culture and history. Needless to say, I got used to almost being run over my cars and scooters several times a day, and now my jaywalking skills are quite impressive.

Old palace in shambles. Sketchy? Beautiful? Both?
I ate pasta, pizza, and gelato everyday. I had a cappuccino whenever I could stand drinking something hot in intense summer weather. I ate granites (like the best sorbet + slushie in the world) in as many flavors as I could manage: my favorites now being limone (lemon) and mandorla (almond).

Frida Pizza in Palermo rocked my world!
Had to inhale this right before the ballet. No problem.

Sweet ricotta inside! Delicious.
I saw the ballet Giselle in Palermo's Teatro Massimo (where the climax of the Godfather 3 occurs). I saw Greek ruins 2500 years old and even got to climb on some of them!
Teatro Massimo. Much prettier auditorium than in Vienna!
I did not get sunburned thanks to my OCD sunscreen usage...Nor robbed or run over. I didn't miss a single bus trip. I did get frustrated though, a lot! Thanks Matt for keeping things in perspective for me.

Anyway, Palermo was a crazy experience of a city. It was run down and dirty, far more than Porto, but it was still really charming and beautiful. We spent three nights there and even made it to a nearby beach Mondello for one afternoon. We also witnessed no less than three one day!!

Palermo's Cathedral
We went to Agrigento next (about a 2 hour and change bus ride) where we spent just one night and hurriedly saw the Valley of the Temples in intense heat. I had a great time regardless! Agrigento has a cute, refreshingly calm (after Palermo!) historic downtown. We stayed in the nicest bed and breakfast of the trip (hostels being a rarity in Sicily) Camere de Sud where we had freshly baked croissants in our flavor of choice for breakfast. Chocolate, almond, pistachio...oh, just a few things.

Temple of Concord, 5th century BC
Syracuse was my favorite stop of the trip. It was harder to get to from Agrigento than we had planned (no direct buses, had to stop in Catania), but it worked out really well! We were there 2 nights and got to see Ortygia, where we stayed, and the Archaeological park and museum. Ortygia is magical: cute shops, great architecture, right on the water, ruins of a temple to Apollo a block from where we stayed...

Went swimming here one morning

I can't wait to go back! Oh, and did I mention that I'll be working in Madrid starting in September? Big city life here I come! Until then I'll be bouncing around the US to spend some time with friends and family. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Lauren. Glad you had fun. Looking forward to seeing you at home next week. Sicily looks awesome...your mom and I need to add that to our list.