Week one in Sicily… We made it to the bottom of Italy so why not Sicily? We joined WorkAway which is like Woofing in NZ and found a home in Sicily that needed the gardens done and house cleaned. Some might say what for?? We were looking forward to it, we have been travelling for 3 months now and the thought of staying in once place, one bed, doing jobs sounds exciting.
Easy ferry ride from Villa San Giovanni, a bit like the Waiheke ferry, however riding off the boat onto the island felt nothing like Waiheke. This place is tourist heaven and the locals drive like crazies. I think I have been spoilt cruising down the centre of Italy.
The house we were going to was also like a housesitting situation as the owners live in the UK and had not been here for a few years since Covid. After getting the key from the local tobacconist, off we went… Well the house was a huge villa on the side of a hill in a town called Piedemonte Etna, at the base of the Mt Etna, on and off the most active in the world! (at present she is off! and we hope she stays that way)
3 stories, 5 bedrooms an old Sicilian villa that looks like a museum on the inside. Terracotta tiles on floor, books everywhere, ceiling must be at least 5 meters high, an eclectic collection of artworks and nic nacs everywhere. Most things were also covered in a layer of volcanic ash as apparently the penultimate WorkAways left some windows open when the left (for 7 months), I would rather work in the garden then do dusting 😊
After settling in and deciding what bedroom we would take we wondered around the section. Boy o boy we sure had some work to do! Etna erupted on the south side awhile ago and the drive, patios, terraces are covered in lava ash (it’s like miniture scoria the size of a pin head). To us it was like scoria rock but a tiny pebble. Lots of old stone walls overgrown with ivy and in general a very neglected section.
Armed with spade, loppers, secateurs, gloves, rake and a chipper machine we got stuck in!!
Found the local market as were also keen to cook our own meals occasionally. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day about 2pm with just a snack for dinner.
Bindi made friends with the guys in the local hardware store and managed to hire a chainsaw for a few days, Legend! We have had regular contact with the owners who I think have realised they have stumbled on to a good thing with us, other Workaways seem to be mung bean, kaftan wearing vegans (that’s what Bindi reckons) they have bought a blower, waterblaster and a wheelbarrow on Amazon to be delivered to us, thank goodness!!
May all sound like hard work but the expectation of Workaway is 4-5 hours a day and 5 days a week. So we have plenty of time to play and what better place to play than on an island!
First exploring session was up the coast to Taormina, town (surprise surprise) on top of a mountain. Monte Tauro, one of Sicily’s classiest resorts is up there, very cute walking around the old town but I think I missed the memo on the dress code 😊 We headed down the mountain to go for a swim at Isola Bella (Beautiful Island)
A lovely lunch in Castiglione di Sicilia visiting a castle the off to Alcantara Gorge. It is close to Mt Etna and is a valley that was filled with lava and then the Alcantara river carved its way through over many centuries and formed some awesome basalt rock canyons. The water was freezing at 9 degrees, but once we couldn’t feel our legs we walked further into the canyon.
That’s a wrap from Piedimonte Etna. We’ve also found a couple of local bars with WIFI and tapas. The fish market is about 10 minutes by ‘moto’, every third corner has a butcher shop. LTD (Living The Dream)