May 21st, 2018
Driving past Palermo last evening, mesmerized by the view of the misty mountains, the sea flickering under the sun’s last strokes, and the palm trees rising to the sky, I finally felt I was on an island. I felt I was in Sicily.
We did not go to Palermo. That is saved for the end of the trip. Instead, we came for a couple of days in a village on the Palermitan coast. We stay in a traditional country home, a former farmhouse. Terracotta floors, local ceramics, rustic tools as decorations, window shutters still in their initial form – hard to manoeuvre, nice to look at – and white linen smelling fresh and simple.
Most of the time, however, we are in the garden, with the lizards, dragonflies, ants, and butterflies. The centrepiece is an old olive tree and the patio covered with an ivy shelter. The entire house is covered in ivy. This is where we drink our coffee in the morning, where we read or write, and this is where we have lunch. Mosquitoes reign in the evening, so we are better off inside by then. In the distance, the sea and the hills – fertile and patched with various plantations. The peace and isolation of this garden remind me of Crișan, the village of my childhood summers in the Danube Delta. Mosquitoes, too. And the vicinity of water. Vegetation is so different though – palm trees, jasmine and cacti.
Tomorrow we plan a trip to Erice and Trapani, and the day after tomorrow we move residence to Palermo. There is such a difference between the elegant baroque towns in the south-east and these lush, coastal towns here, in the north-west. I missed the smell of the sea in the south, so I am happy to be here now.