Sicilian Holiday (1)

Cigno didn’t seem the most obvious name for the hotel’s female tortoiseshell cat, but with a mixture of languages and mime, the proprietor explained she was called after the swan for her elegance and beauty.

The cat’s name wasn’t the only thing that surprised me about Sicily.

When I lived in France, I met several Sicilians and they were uniformly serious and dour. So I was unprepared for the smiling, friendly attitude of the locals. My efforts at speaking Italian were met with patience.

Encouraged,  I persevered, dragging words and phrases from my memory, gradually piecing them together with a few bits oif French and Spanish like glue. My top moment was being congratulated for asking for a glass of house red wine in perfectly grammatical Italian.

Perhaps we were like the first swallows of spring. Heralds of tourists to come bringing our money to their businesses. Or maybe it was a tradition of welcome to the outsider.

Again,  Italians from the mainland had told me what a closed society Sicily was. Neighbouring villages, they said, eyed each other with suspicion, and preferred to marry among themselves.

I had visions of inbreeding, low foreheads and lower intellects.

Instead, Rumanian girls who had arrived looking for work had married the local boys. Happy families of mixed nationalities displaying no anxiety or coldness about differing cultures.

So it was a shame and a shock to meet the only miserable Sicilian of the trip on the last day, just hours before we left. He opened up the monastery for us to visit, but seemed to have left his smile at home. He glowered, arms folded, as we looked about. Maybe he had a cold in the head, but as an advert for the loving nature of God and the Christian church, he left a lot to be desired.


10 thoughts on “Sicilian Holiday (1)

      • Now that’s even more confusing because i replied to you from this post!
        Just tried to follow your instructions but it brought me straight back here to my page. Maybe I have to log out first. Cat is climbing all over me so have to give up for the moment!

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