Stony Brook Goes to Sicily!
27 September, 2012
Ciao a tutti!
So it took a bit of time to gather my thoughts after Sicily, but I have to say, it was quite the experience. It was so nice to finally be able to get to know everyone in my program and it was definitely a wonderful bonding experience for all!
Taking an overnight train was the first of our many new experiences this weekend, and while some were scared, I was so excited! I quickly claimed the top bunk which I haven’t had since I was a kid and took in my surroundings that would confine me for the next 12 hours! To be honest, I felt like Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express (no complaints there!) After a night of good company and getting to know many of the girls in my program, I was ready to explore Sicily.
We spent our first afternoon in a town in the east of Sicily called Taormina, where we visited a beautiful garden with a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean coast. Pictures can describe the experience much better than words, so here you go!
Next up, my most anticipated activity… Cannoli tasting!!! I’ll never be able to do this justice, but here goes. We arrived at a small pastry shop in the village of Taormina, where we actually got to go downstairs to the production room (a cake decorator’s dream!) Waiting for us were two Sicilian bakers that barely spoke English, a pile fresh fried cannoli shells, and a bucket full of cannoli cream – it took some serious restraint not to stick my finger in and take a lick! As our leader explained the cannoli making process, we watched anxiously as the baker filled the shells and dished them out one by one. Though I was tempted, I waited until I was outside to properly document what I refer to as “my first bite of heaven.” I’ll just say this – nothing will EVER match that cannolo! (yes, cannolo is the singular form, weird!)
From there we boarded the bus for the three-hour ride to Palermo, and finally we had reached our destination. We had dinner at the hotel and headed up to the rooftop pool for some fun, which actually turned into an interesting mixture of college students, nuns, and Italians in business suits (oh my!)
Saturday we headed to a few beach towns called Chefalù and Mondello for some fun in the sun and shopping. Chefalù was especially beautiful with its old world charm and great beach, and not to mention, rice balls! After a relaxing day, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out into the city center of Palermo for a night on the town. Let’s just say we had lots of fun
For our last day in Sicily, we headed out bright and early for our official tour of the city… after finally getting used to being an honorary Florentine resident, being a tourist felt so odd! Though the sun was hot and there was lots of walking, it was great to be able to learn the history of some of Sicily’s greatest spots. I was truly in awe at how much Arabic and Byzantine culture was left behind after all these years when we think of Sicily in such a stereotypical Italian way.
Saying goodbye to Sicily was bittersweet, though most of the bitterness was due to the amount of homework I had left for the train ride home! It turned out to be a bonding experience like no other for everyone in our program, and I am so happy that Stony Brook and FUA provide us with the opportunity to get to know one another in such a fun way. Even being back for only a few days, I feel like I actually know everyone in the program, and they are no longer just names on a spreadsheet; it has really made me excited for the rest of the semester ahead of me.
Now I have a weekend all to myself, as my roommates are off traveling; and I’m really excited to get out and explore Firenze on my own time – let’s see how this goes!
Until next time
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