28 May 2005
The La Placa family is busy with preparations for a cultural event that will take place today and tomorrow. Essentially, it is a convention where young computer enthusiasts from around the island convene at San Giovannello and share their knowledge and passion for computers. They are expecting around 70 people today, and up to 100 tomorrow. They’ll fill the rooms of the azienda agrituristica, the reception hall, and camp out on the hillside. So, although I am a bit reluctant to be leaving this area, I am glad that I was able to enjoy it without all of the commotion the convention will bring.
It takes me five hours of nonstop driving to reach Baglio Fontanasalsa, the azienda agrituristica I will be staying at for the remainder of my trip. Admittedly, I did go through a bit of a runaround trying to find the new place with only Italian directions.
Before dinner at the Baglio, I decide to get my bearings and explore some of the surrounding roads. I discover the Museo delle Saline (Salt Museum), and walk around some of the salt marshes. The power generated from the large windmills is used to drain water from the salt basins. Salt crystals are shoveled into huge mounds along the sides of the basins, covered with terra cotta roofing tiles, and left to dry and cure in the Sicilian sun.
Dinner was an appetizing four course meal that introduced me to some of the regional fare in this part of Sicily. The antipasta included sundried tomatoes, white cheese, olives, cold marinated potatoes, couscous with red peppers, and fava beans. Fava beans and mint were the predominant flavors for the pasta course. The secondi course consisted of several different cuts of meat, and dessert was ricotta-stuffed cannoli with pistachios.
At dinner I met a nice Dutch couple from Holland, Herman and Sophie Witte, who had also arrived earlier in the day. They invited me to join them, and we spent the next two hours conversing about our various journeys in Sicily as well as learning more about our two different countries. It was the longest period of time I had spoken English for in over a week! Throughout my stay at Baglio Fontanasalsa, we would cross paths at breakfast and discuss what adventures we had planned for the day.