It was as if Etna’s gravitational pull was too strong. I’d head down a road and off to another only to find myself on a hill with a road that stopped, revealing only a plunge into an abyss. A landslide had destroyed the road. Turn around. Back through a little town, around in circles. This doesn’t just happen to the first-time traveler, apparently. 40+ trips to Italy and I am going in circles. After I pass the pistachio store for the second time I stop, first driving through a gas station to turn around. Passing through that gas station would come to haunt me.
Buoyed up by a full tank I decide to try and go for lunch in Catania.
Catania is complete chaos, the streets are crammed, people are honking, motor scooters are coming life-threateningly close to the car, swooping around me. A vegetable truck swings in front of me to make his way through the mess. There are no rules here. Sweating, my leg starts swelling up. Earlier in the week I banged it in the mishap and there is a hematoma that still persists. But I press on. Finally I am close to the area in town where the restaurant is. Crossing a road I’m nearly broadsided by another produce truck and decide to get the hell out of Catania before they kill me.
The hospital is almost as congested and confusing as Catania was. Relatively new, I use the bathroom. In the meantime my leg isn’t bothering me so much. Not able to find soap or a towel to dry my hands, I think maybe this hospital isn’t such a good idea and head to Ragusa. Maybe then I can see a doctor.
Gulfi winery in Chiaramonte Gulfi.
A large, newish building houses the winery, a restaurant and some rooms. After catching my breath and dropping my stuff, I spy a pool. It’s Monday, is pool time really OK? After what I had just been through and having just worked through the weekend (again) I decide two hours of down time isn’t going to kill anyone. It might even help my leg to get into the water.
It is the perfect step. The water is cool, the air is warm, the breeze offers a nice counterpoint to them both. The doctor is “in”. Finally I am at peace, birds darting around the pool to cool themselves off, the desert humming with the life hidden within it. And sun, the wonderful Sicilian sun. Healing time, time to breathe deep, relax and prepare for another day, another battle.
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