Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects – Memories from Sicilia

Ahhh, the story behind this photo! My, my – where to start?? In 2006 – after my divorce – I decided it was time  to visit the motherland. So passport and suitcase in hand, off I went solo to Santo Stefano di Camastra, my mother’s village in Sicilia. Although I had visited Italy previously, this was my first time trying my hand behind the wheel. Mama mia! After getting lost in Palermo and finally finding the autostrada, my little feet were shaking on the pedals something fierce but I soon arrived safe and sound at my destination. After a few amazing days visiting the northern coast of Sicilia, I headed to Taormina on the eastern sea. And there on a frosty January evening, I met Danielle – the brooding Sicilian that  I would date for a few years. It was an exotic and tumultuous relationship that lasted until I learned enough Italian to know better. But what great fun it was – visiting three or four times a year as Mount Etna erupted high above leaving a mouth-dropping streak of red  across the evening sky as we sat at the Macambo bar in the piazza sipping digestivos. I promise to share some of the precious memories I have from that period in my life but this particular photo fits the subject for this week’s photo challenge perfectly! That’s me and the Statua Cristo Signore della Montagna. Who is my friend Santua Cristo you might ask?

Danielle and I would frequently drive high into the mountains surrounding Mount Etna to visit his friends, Vito and Angela, that lived in the little village  of Cesaro’.  On the return trip, we would stop at a bakery late in the night to pick up a some fresh bread to eat on the drive back through the mountains. The bread would be warm and just out of the ovens – occasionally they would have fresh ricotta which we would slather on the bread as we drove.  Oops – I digress for food again – back to the story.  This is a photo when we visited the Statua Cristo Signore della Montagna, a 21-foot bronze statue of Jesus Christ with a 20 foot arm span. In 1996, a helicopter carried the 7000 pound statue to its perch on the highest peak peering over Cesaro’, nearby Pizzipiturro Mountain – approximately 4,000 feet above sea level. An effort which apparently took two aerial Christo spinning attempts to secure.

This photo brings back so many wonderful memories – climbing the steps to the statue at dusk; watching the twinkling lights of the surrounding villages rise as dusk settled; dinner after with Vito and Angela (and lots of Averna and grappa).  A wonderful evening with new friends that brings a smile to my face whenever it pops into my mind.  Salute Vito and Angela!

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