Hope you had a good summer …

I think I may have inadvertently led people to believe I had a wonderful summer lazing around the beach and traveling around Sicily.

In reality I had a terrible summer, every time I tried to go to the beach it was friggin freezing and in August my mother in law spent the month in hospital at Taormina which meant I was helping out at my in-laws, taking 2 hour stomach churning car trips back and forth through the mountains to relieve my sister in-laws who stayed in hospital with my husband’s mother (trust me you don’t ever want to be left along in a Sicilian hospital!)

So summer was a hazy mirage of heat, family obligations and late night sleeplessness to get through writing deadlines.

I did manage to snap a few pics which will give you a sense of my summer on the road, it is nothing like last year (2013 was great with visitors and trips to Etna and Taormina). Here is what my summer looked like:


Road from the mountains to Taormina


The road back and forth going from Montalbano, Linguaglossa, Moio Alcantara, Giardini Naxos to Taormina hospital.


Traffic near Giardini

Hot August Summer traffic outside of Giardini Naxos.

Giardini Naxos, Messina


Giardini Naxos, empty restaurant, Messina


Where have all the tourists gone? The economic crisis makes itself felt in the seaside resort of Giardini.


Balconies at Giardini Naxos, Messna


Empty summer streets at Giardini Naxos,ME


Sicilians in their balconies and deserted streets at Giardini.


Taormina hospital near Giardini Naxos, ME

The crumbling and utterly depressing Taormina hospital which is far, far away from touristy Taormina.

True old fashioned Sicilian’s don’t go to Taormina for their holidays they get treated for cancer at Taormina hospital. They don’t go to Acireale for Carnivale they go there to buy second-hand cars in the acres of car yards.

This summer I became a true Sicilian, forgot about vacation time, rolled up my sleeves without complaining and did what was needed. Their tenacity is to be admired. These Sicilians are certainly tough but they never really truly enjoy their own island, which gives them a melancholic quality and why I hope never to be one hundred percent Sicilian.



16 thoughts on “Hope you had a good summer …

  1. I’m so sorry that you had a crap summer. I hope that your mother-in-law is better now. If it’s any consolation, I spent June and July doing the same thing when MY mother-in-law invested HER local hospital. My brother-in-law made hospital visits fun by making a phone call in German in the corridor – starting a minor panic in the geriatric ward when a man started screaming “the Germans are here!” Never a dull moment when he’s around 🙂


    1. That’s fine Joanna, I’m hoping to make it up by spending some time in the southern hemisphere during our winter!!
      The mother in law is doing fine, she gave us a scare but it turned out to be a gallstone problem which was fixed by a routine operation. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, I got to see a little more of Sicily and my mother in law had a Jehovah’s witness and Evangelist in her room so we were praising the lord sister and brother most of the time 😉


    1. Thanks Yvonne, she’s doing just fine, her dementia will never get better but thank goodness it turned out to be gallstones. Hoping to make it up by going home to Australia for a holiday in the new year.


    1. Sicilian hospitals are scary places, I’d avoid them at all costs but if you get lucky and find good Doctors it can be bearable. I really don’t understand how in a country like Sicily which is really very people/community/family orientated could put up with such a bad healthcare system.


      1. I love it, it’s such a beautiful place and I really miss it even though I’m told it has changed a lot since I’ve been living overseas. The last time I visited I did notice things had become quite expensive. The world is a big place, I hope you get to Australia too! I feel like I’m missing out on visiting a lot of different places!


  2. Hard to think of Taormina as Sicily’s Cancer Ward and sorry to hear you had a tough summer. Amusing how tourists get such a different idea of places. An odd question, perhaps, given all your to-ing and fro-ing: why are so many Sicilian highways on viaducts (like between Catania and Enna)?Presume it must be to prevent earthquake damage…


    1. Yes, the Taormina hospital is hidden aways way, way below Taormina it’s actually closer to Giardini Naxos, if you blink you will miss it and in my opinion it is best avoided. Living in a place is totally different to being a tourist for sure, I wish tourists could be aware of ‘both sides of the coin,’ it’s easy to idealise a place like Sicily.
      In regards to the viaducts, yes I think it is an earthquake related thing as the building laws are very strict and have many elements introduced to withstand earthquakes. Everything in Sicily is built in reinforced cement, even seeing a basic house construction site is like witnessing a skyscraper going up. They don’t call la Sicilia ‘la terra ballerina’ without a reason ….


      1. La terra ballerina – what a great name….Yes, I remember driving into Agrigento, expecting wonderful temples all over the place and seeing, well, a half-built Soviet city. Quite an eye opener.


      2. Yes there are many places which are still being rebuilt after the 1968 earthquake, some terrible concrete monsters in places like Belice, abandoned ghost towns (Noto Antico is an archeological site) and half finished things that will always remain unfinished. Tragic really. By the way the viaduct that I put in my post is actually part of the famous Circumeteneo railway. The tiny little train that goes from Catania to Gela around the base of Mount Etna. I’m a little obsessed by it as I still haven’t been on it.


Comments are closed