Friday, 5 February 2016

Sicily Unplanned

Spontaneity is not really my thing. Perhaps years ago I might have done something unexpected, on the spur of the moment, but for most of my adult life I have been a somewhat  obsessive deliberator. In fact, I made a career of it, corporate strategy, planning, and quality improvement are all about careful analysis and risk management. So I suppose it is not surprising when we decided to travel long-term in our retirement this did not involve packing a small hold-all and wandering free-style into the blue yonder. I took to it as a new opportunity for advanced over-planning, a carefully researched and costed journey, with routes tracked on Google maps and Streetview, following a well thought-out itinerary, all recorded in loving detail on a spreadsheet. Sometimes we did deviate from the plan, but only after much serious debate.

Consequently I am utterly surprised, dismayed even, to find myself back in Sicily with no plan whatsoever. The only thing for certain is we need to be in Pisa to catch a flight home on 16th March. The six weeks until then is empty territory to do with as we will; I find that exciting and disconcerting in equal measure.

An icy drizzle as we wait for the airport bus.

In line with this new-found spirit of improvisation we have no idea what we might do over the next few days. It's lovely here at Camping Scarabeo with a pitch a short stroll from the beach. It really is a nice spot and the owners make sure everyone feels welcome and catered for. 

Back to Camping Scarabeo, and clear skies..
It is quite breezy, however...
The owners checked that Maisy would start before we arrived and picked us up from Ragusa bus station in their minibus. Angela was waiting for us outside reception, van keys in hand. "You have gone a funny white colour," she joked, as we climbed out of the mini-bus. After two months of downpour it was fabulous to step out into the sunshine among the site's oleander hedged pitches. We squeezed into the Camping Scarabeo golf-buggy and Angela took us for a quick tour of the site to spot the best one. The vehicle is not really built for three, and given Angela's innate Italian tendency to drive anything with four wheels like a Ferrari, clinging-on for dear life was essential as we zig-zagged about the site, scattering the boule games as we went. 

 If anything the site is even busier now than in the autumn. I think the place has a really bright future, it is one of the best run sites I have come across in Italy, and the area itself has a micro-climate almost as good as Southern Spain in the winter months. 

It did not take us too long to park-up and sort out the van. The only slight problem was one we had foreseen. It was during the flight back in December that I realised that I had left a bag of frozen peas in the freezer. The resultant mould in the fridge was not quite as bad as we had imagined, but still required gallons of hot water and a few Dettol wipes before the shelves looked hygienic enough to store food. Not that we had any food to put in the fridge, our first night feast consisted of a somewhat squashed Waitrose quiche and some very flat-leaf salad that somehow had survived the journey squeezed into our cabin bags between a lap-top and our underwear. Still, we managed to perk-up our meagre rations with a bottle of Nerello Mascalese bought from the local 'Maxi-market'. The sun was setting over the ruins on the promontory of Punta Braccetto as we wandered back to the camp-site along the beach. By the time I went to wash-up after dinner it was starry and a warm breeze was wafting the through the palms and eucalyptus trees. It was great to be back in Sicily with no plan whatsoever.

back in Sicily without a plan.
watching the sunset


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