Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Punta Braccetto, Sicily

We decided to head to a campground right on the beach in a small fishing village, south of Regusa, at Camping Scarabeo. After a warm welcome and a complete tour of the place on foot, we went back to the office to take care of paperwork. When Angela saw from my passport that I was American she said, in her musical Italian accent “whoa! I’ve never had an American here before.” This has been noted several times. They seem flabbergasted that someone from California is at their campground. In fact, when people find out we’re from California, they often ask “why would you come here?”

Camping Scarabeo

The beach curves around just enough to face slightly west and with the winter sun lower in the sky, we had sun all day on the beach and a spectacular sunset over the water. The sand is golden and feels like fine sugar.

Another corny sunset shot

The campground is definitely worth the detour on our way to Agrigento. We even have our own private bathroom, with key. We were given a spot right next to the beach and a man drives around the campground with fresh bread for sale in the mornings.

Bread man

We bought a loaf of bread, a boomerang shaped roll and a round, breaded, deep fried thing—still warm—with a choice of prosciutto or pommodore. We chose the pommodore. It was filled with a rich, dark tomato sauce, cheese and peas. Delicioso! The cost was only €2 for everything. I’m trying to imagine a baker driving though the neighborhoods at home every morning so we could have fresh bread.

There are Hibiscus flowers everywhere and we feel almost as if we are in Hawaii. It is so lush here and there are Palm trees and lava and flowers everywhere we look. I didn’t expect this in Sicily.

We even have our very own ruins which we walked to yesterday. They’re only 18th century, and badly constructed at that, but fun to explore.

We were up early as usual and I walked the beach in shorts and tested the water—with my feet—and can imagine joining all the others we saw swimming yesterday. Maybe later. The days seem to have a rhythm. People take their dogs on their morning constitutional, including this woman who, along with her husband, is camping with these enormous dogs!

Right now, there are men playing Boules on the sand, two horseback riders just galloped by and we imagine we can see Africa from our beach chairs.

After spending midmorning to about 1 pm on the beach, most going for a swim, everyone departs to their campsite for lunch, a rest and then either reads or plays cards or scrabble. Lots of socializing goes on—everyone is very friendly—and there is such a relaxed atmosphere that we both took naps.
The only downside of this entire experience is the flies. They’re pretty aggressive. Yesterday we saw a couple of people on the beach wielding fly swatters and a group was sitting together around a table with fronds of some kind, swishing them around. I finally went to my hiking pack and pulled out some Deet. It seemed to do the trick pretty well.

We did our duty and donned our swim suits then walked gingerly into the water. A little further, a little further… was cool, but felt great. I dunked in first then Chuck followed with a dive. Bracing is probably the best way to describe it, although standing in the water, talking, we weren’t cold. It’s quite shallow and you can walk out quite a ways. It was fun and thrilling to be swimming in the sea on November 15. We lounged in the sun for probably too long. Everyone here is deeply tan and parades around in swim suits almost all the time; but with our fish belly white bodies, we need to take it slowly. Fortunately, there are no photos of this event. Oh, and the flies? They disappeared. Maybe it’s a morning thing or maybe it’s a combination of Deet, sunscreen and salt water.

Life is so good here it makes me almost teary eyed. We decided to order fresh baked pizza for tonight; it was delivered at 6:30. Chuck had a Sicilian pizza: fresh tomatoes, dried tomatoes, basil, dried olives and sausage—no cheese. Mine was the usual Margherita. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

We have sand in our feet and fall asleep to the sound of gentle waves. It’s a constant background noise. And not only that, we have our own artist, painting the sky for us.


Jim Dempsey said...

Your latest dexcription of Sicilia is like music. The senses are almost palpable, sight, sound, smell. I can hardly wait for the next one.


Chuck and Claire said...

Ahhh, thanks Jim. I appreciate your kind words.