“OH, NO, Signora, we never run the gondola if it is too windy. Today is wind [sic], but we will run it for you.”
Gondola, on the 750m trip up to Erice. Remember to double-click on this photo, so you can count all the other people who made the trip up and down the mountain with us today. Hint: it’s less than one.
As our gondola climbed the mountain, I pretended to agree with the chipper Peggy Schmidt, as she peered around at all the other – EMPTY – gondolas and crowed, ”See? If it were a sunny day, you know we’d be fighting the crowds.” The city, even shrouded in mist today, really is spectacular, and its denizens? Lovely.
Erice was founded by a people claiming descent from the Trojans. What remains today is mostly medieval – walled city, narrow streets.
The art of the cell phone
At the end of our visit this afternoon, we visited Sicily’s finest pasticceria, “Maria Grammatico,” where I ran into Maria herself coming out of the kitchen. She was clearly flattered that I recognized her, b/c she smiled [long-sufferingly?] and took my hand.
In case anybody wondered, it’s still within the Octave of Easter
Arriving here, we drove along the Tyrrhenian, and to get our bearings in the city, we walked along the Mediterranean. Trapani’s rich history (Virgil’s Anchises, father of Aeneas!) was the initial draw, and the people and views are keeping us a couple more days.
La vita è bella
Fish about as fresh as it gets.
Spring has come to Sicily
Noticed in a religious goods store.
I love that , since Easter, crucifixes in/over so many main altars have been replaced by statues like this one in Trapani’s S.Francesco di Paolo. BTW, I”m quite certain that’s CRYSTAL behind San Salvatore!
I’d seen photos and a short video Elizabeth had taken of Good Friday in Cianciana: stark, passionate, foreign, familiar — it encapsulated & encompassed all those contradictions. It still does.
At first, it was just great fun. Outside the town’s biggest market, I finally saw the drummer I’d been hearing for a couple weeks. A few locals started lining up, and cars (and the recycling truck) rushed to get down Corso Vittorio Emanuale before everything began in earnest.
I followed the soldiers down to the clocktower, but they disappeared, so I ran back to the piazza, arriving just in time for the “Jesus or Barabbas” scene (below). The townspeople, some in costume, many not, began to get into it, and so did I, as an Observer, although here is the truth: by the time Pilate got his answer from the crowd that third time, I was starting to feel like a guilty bystander.
“Barabba o Gesu?”
Later, from the 3rd-floor terrace of Daffodils (“Best seat in town!”), I looked down on robed townspeople (singing a Lamentation), Roman soldiers, 2 thieves, and Jesus.
Corso V. Emanuele
Jesus carrying his Cross up the stairs, headed towards Monte Calvario
The two other prisoners, following Jesus up to Monte Calvario.
Holy Thursday morning, I went to Savarino’s to recharge my Internet chiavetta and found Nino Savarino working on his choreography for the Solemn High Mass .
Studying choreography for Holy Thursday’s Solemn HIgh Mass.
Later that day, as I was sitting in the Chiesa Madre, I counted just 10 apostles, and then Father came up to the woman next to me and whispered, “We need two more boys…” She left, presumably drafting the two young men I saw 5 minutes later, running toward the altar carrying apostle robes.
Processing up the aisle in this video: Nino holding the missal, the priest wearing his Thomas Merton wool cap .
Below the video: Leaving church last night, I ran into the crew setting up a stage for “The Condemnation of Jesus ” station of the Good Friday experience here. As I’m writing this, I’m just in from walking the 2.5-hr “Sacra Rappresentazione Vivente,” and still trying to wrap my head around the experience, uncertain how one writes about such an amazing assault on the senses.
The Webcams capture sites and sights just around the corner and down the street from Elizabeth’s studio (MacFlip4 required).
It’s been pouring for an hour, and either neighbors are slamming their doors in unison, or it’s thundering, too. Absent Kare 11 TV Weather, I flipped on the village’s webcams to see if it were worth going out. I found my answer: YES, but I can expect my umbrella to be whipped inside out.
The Cameras capture sites and sights just around the corner and down the street ( Flip4Mac may be required).
Anyhow, today is a far cry from recent days – (gallery below is a random sample from those sunnier moments!)
It began today, Palm Sunday, with the vivente Entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Having learned the route during last week’s 2-day San Giuseppe feast, I headed out for this morning’s procession.
What I hadn’t known, however, was that it wasn’t just a Living Christ that I’d encounter, but many of the Ciancianans, too, dressed in the sort of costume which, in my tiny mind, has always been limited to grammar school Christmas pageants.
Citizens of Cianciana
As he blessed our olive branches, I heard the priest refer to them as “Olive Palms,” and I started to guffaw, but as nobody else was laughing, I did my best imitation of a stifled cough and returned to listening mode.
And then, as quickly as they had arrived, they were suddenly gone. It had been odd and awesome.
Somewhat awestruck after the Vivente and the Benedizione, I went where I go every morning — Bar San Antonio.
I set down my Olive Palm
…and listened to the ever-patient (with me) Gaetano