Wednesday, July 26, 2006
West of Palermo, the capital of Sicily, on the north coast of the island, Sandy and Nicola take us to a National Park with a magic beach. Sandy beaches make the water look green and rocky beaches make the water look blue. The Meditaranean Sea is surprisingly salty and rather warm compared to Cottesloe......
We spent the whole day at the beach and it was as crowded as Zandvoort on a sunny day! (This picture was taken when we arrived early) The rest of the park was closed due to some serious fires. Even when we arrive in the Palermo area we see the side of a mountain full of smoke and helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft take water from the sea to douse the fire.
Nicola's parents live 50 km south of Palermo and we stay two days with them. Once again we are spoiled by the hospitality of our hosts. With Sandy translating and us picking up the rest, we manage to communicate between English, Italian and Dutch.
Sicily has a severe shortage of water. Nicola's parents get water only two hours per day which they can store in a tank. The town rotates its supply every two hours to a different part and the water is pumped from a distant river. Work is in short supply and many jobs are only taken by men. I am thinking of all the Italians who have migrated around the world, looking for a more prosperous country. And to make things worse, in 1968 there was a huge earthquake in Sicily, causing major damage.