When in Sicily…

At night, with shutters closed, you see things differently. Like this cigarette machine.

It’s been a while since I’ve had such a relaxed travel itinerary. Not the type where you lay on a beach or in front of a pool – that shit is suicidal for me, all that time for thinking and not doing. I mean, the type of itinerary where you have a rough idea where to go and what to see, but it’s not really a big deal if you go to all the places and see all the things.

This trip to Sicily is one of those times. And, honestly, I think it may be the first.

We have a spreadsheet. What self-respecting traveller doesn’t have a spreadsheet?

Ours looks like this:

– Name of the city/town
– List of places to go
– List of things to do

As we’ve arrived in each town (so far, Palermo is our third), we scroll down the list in the mornings and see what we feel like doing. Some things we poo-poo, some we race to (well, we amble slowly, cos it’s fucking hot). On the way, something ancient will attract our attention (which isn’t hard to do when this island is so ancient and has been conquered by Turks, Normans, Spanish, Greeks, Romans, and once, very briefly in 1943, by the Allies).

Every single church is a masterpiece, so we stay a while. We move slowly. We sit. Sometimes there is a mass, and we’ll stay and cross ourselves, standing, kneeling, and I’ll utter the words in English. The ones I know, anyway.

We don’t berate ourselves for not seeing everything because every single place is a goddamned museum! Every street, every café, every building, every fountain.

We have lunch at whatever time we feel like it, after a church visit at 12, or even at 3. It doesn’t matter because that’s how holidays should be. Out of time. Then we head back home to do some work, nap, upload photos, or watch something on our iPads.

The heat and humidity help drive our lethargy and our lack of go-go-go.

Before we left home, Jeff and I struck a deal. We’ll go out in the mornings, come back to our apartment during the hottest hours of the day, then head out in the afternoons and evenings. It’s a good deal. And, most days, it’s working.

I don’t feel guilty over missing some sight or event. Every single day is a sight and an event.

And, I’ve realised, I’m no longer a night person.

Sicilians, like many Europeans, have dinner really late. They flood the streets for an apéritif, and don’t actually eat until after 8.

But me? Honestly, by 9 I’m done. I want to be back inside, the air-conditioner conditioning me, my iPad nestled on my lap, disappearing into a show I’m bingeing. I do wish that I was a go out at night person, because I used to be. I still love the night, but in a solitary way. I like to be alone, not at a party. It’s the reason why I prefer sunsets to sunrises. Really, I love the night.

But whether it’s age or heat, I just don’t have it in me to want to be around people at night. And I don’t care. Should I care? When in Sicily, should I do as the Sicilians?

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