25.01.2013 - 25.01.2013
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Today was our last full day in Italy. We left our pleasant (if not chilly) lodgings in Floridia, and drove to Catania. We had a breakfast of pastry made with pistachios and freshly squeezed orange juice, and then it was time to say goodbye to our lovely hosts. Sicilians really are the friendliest of people. Just as we were about to leave, however, it started to pour. We've had some of the strangest weather whilst in Italy, most of it involving rapid changes from sun to rain to hail. The weather can shift in an instant, or stay that way for the entire day. Today, the rain persisted.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to check in at our hotel until after two. So instead of walking around and getting wet in Catania, we ducked into an Ikea and had an unusual but not unpleasant afternoon. We spent our time looking at bizarre light fixtures and enviable bedroom ensembles. There were a few "mini-houses" that were right amongst all the merchandise, where you could see how it was possible to fit all you needed into a 30 or 40 metres square space, and still have enough room to actually live there. Abby and I had fun pretending to plan our future apartments and houses. We even had lunch there, which was Swedish meatballs (the staple of all Ikea restaurants), though Abby got pasta, which was al dente at best (closer to raw). Mom had a little adventure when she tried to buy gelato. Initially, she was handed an empty cone. Once she'd gotten over that, she found the machine she was supposed to get her ice cream from. However, it didn't seem like it wanted to cooperate. Eventually, we figured out we had to get a token from a cashier (who didn't seem very happy about giving us one), and Mom got her gelato. The rest of us got stress-free donuts, which weren't too bad, but made me miss Timmy's. Dad also got an espresso, which only filled half of the already tiny cup.
After a few hours, it was time to head to our hotel. It didn't take too long to find, and we were settled in quickly. Our room, however, was lacking in a few places. Abby and I slept in a bunk bed that seemed to have been placed there as an afterthought. The fridge was off, and was full of water that we had to ladle out in order to keep the food edible. And though we got the kitchenette we requested, there was not a dish or utensil to be found in the place (you'll remember we had the same thing happen in Lourdes). Mom went down and got some things from the hotel's kitchen, while the rest of us tried to figure out the logic of giving us a kitchenette and nothing to use it with. Since we were flying tomorrow, and didn't want to buy a bunch of groceries for dinner while throwing most of our other food away, we had a picnic of sorts. We spread a tablecloth out on my bunk, and laid out fruit, vegetables, crackers, cheese, and cookies. Mom and Dad even went out and bought a pack of soup and some arancini to add to our ensemble. It was just as good as (and definitely more fun than) a "real supper". Unfortunately, the tap in the kitchen didn't work, so we had to do our dishes in the bathroom sink. But we've gotten pretty good at adapting by now.
We turned in early, as we would be waking up at quarter to five the next morning. That's the problem with cheap flights: they're always early. Plus we had to return our rental car (Steven) before we left. We'll say goodbye to Italy for now, and I, for one, will look forward to returning in the near future. But in the even nearer future, we have a new country to visit!