Monday, September 28, 2015

Sicily Travel: Permissio di Sojourno - Partinico Again

We thought we were done with the process to get Christopher retroactive permission to stay in the Schengen zone as long as he has with the granting by the Italians of a Permisso di Sojourno. He has a little paper with his photo and some stamps on it that says; "permisso di sojourno". As you might expect if you are at all familiar with certain Kafkaesque styles of bureaucracy, we are not done. 

Now we need to get an official Italian identity number, a 'codice fiscal'. The adventure continues back in Partinico. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Siracusa Eco Excursion

Some days ago we saw the local water kayak polo team playing in the small boat harbour here between the little island of Ortigia and the mainland of Siracusa. A few days ago I happened to be walking the dog past the same area when the polo team was finishing up and stopped by to ask if they knew anyone who rented kayaks. We succeed in getting the phone number of Simionio who was happy to work with my limited Italian and his limited English to arrange a kayak trip for Monday at 9am for 2 people (only those who have struggled in a second language can know just how hard that is to do).

Christopher and I arrived, bright and early, with our swim suits on, ready to paddle. Simionio brought his lovely girlfriend, Guilio (Julia) to help translate. The kayaks were unexpected, they didn't have a rudder, all the steering was done by your hips and paddle. A challenge for us middle aged folks, while Simionio ( a member of the kayak polo team) paddled forward, backwards and all around, at speed. We paddled to some lovely caves, past a few beaches and a huge number of medusas (*jelly fish) and back to the small harbour.

Sicily Travel: Marsala

On Friday we took the slow train to Marsala on the West coast of Sicily. A lovely little town, with marble streets truly pedestrianized. Sadly, the highly recommended archaeological museum and site were sub-par, mostly 'seen before' and scrub land. On the other hand, the slightly mentioned tapestry museum was 'knock your socks off'. I am susceptible to that sort of thing, but even our friends were amazed at the artistry of the fibre work and the incredible artistry of the tapestries. The much touted main Marsala cathedral was also only 'ok', whereas the 'pergatorio chiesa' was fantastic and just around the corner. Sadly, the slow food restaurant that is a 'must visit' was inexplicably closed and we ate re-heated pasta at a street side venue.

The train ride was a real highlight, rattling through the Sicilian landscape, apart from the major highways, into deserted stations.

Sicily Travel: Permisso Di Sojourno Police Visit

This afternoon a strange number dialed my cell phone and I answered to a very fast speaking Italian. I was able to discern "polizie" and so answered; "si". Less than 15 minutes later, a municipal police car pulled up to the gate. We opened up, he came on in, greeted us and proceeded to pepper us with questions in Italian. Luckily our wonderful landlord answered his phone and helped us to answer the questions (whatever they were). We think that the local municipality wanted to check that we were actually here and not some sort of odd apparition. We've been into their offices enough you'd think they'd take it on faith, but that is not the way of bureaucracy. A quick visit, and it was over. We learned the officer's birthday, that he has a chihuahua, but not his name. We hope this is near the end of this process.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sicily Travel: Permisso di Sojourno Fingerprinting

We found the fingerprint office - hidden from view in the back corner of the Questura in Palermo near the immigration office. At first glance it appeared abandoned, sleepy empty corridors. I rang the doorbell, and the lights turned on (sigh). After wandering around a little, we found a guy talking on his cell phone who deigned to get up and schlump off into an office nearby. We followed, and discovered another fellow hidden behind a giant computer. The schlumpy guy and the computer guy proceded to take digital finger and palm prints from Christopher. We hope this is the last step for Christopher's permisso, so that he can legally return to Europe after over staying his 90 day welcome.

Sicily Travel: Permisso di Sojourno Success (in part)

We have achieved a massive step forward for Christopher's permisso di sojourno. To re-cap;

  • Canadians can only stay 90 days in any 6 month period in the Schengen zone, which includes Italy, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, etc. 
  • we were here in the Schengen zone for 7 months, so Christopher needed permission to stay; 
  • to get this, we were told by the Italian consulate in Vancouver that it would be a simple task to drop into the local police station and ask for the permit;
  • we discovered that it is far from simple and spent many days trying to collect paper work, getting translations, mailing and worrying;
  • we were finally able to get an appointment for submitting our paper work on the 21st of September. 
We were able to provide the paper work asked for this past Monday in Partinico. In return, Christopher received a piece of paper with his photo stapled to it, and a few ink stamps applied that is a sort of provisional permission. He has to perfect it by providing his fingerprints, and another photo and by a senior Italian Questura official putting their seal on the paperwork. 

Today, we go to Palermo for Christopher to get fingerprints. 

Still Alive in Sicily

Tech troubles continue, but never fear, we are alive!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sicily Travel; Recycling

We have really struggled with the recycling situation here in Sicily. Siracuse does have recycling, but it isn't simple and it isn't picked up often. We've personally filled the metal/glass/plastic bin in the last week with our own water, wine and beer consumption.

Sicily Travel: Market Days in Ortigia

We chose to stay in Ortigia Sicily for the morning food market, and Lo! it is good. We've been almost every day of our stay and we have found wonderful vendors of everything necessary for great cooking. We've had mussels, clams, squid, 2 kinds of sun dried tomatoes, lots of other tomatoes lettuce, well, just every kind of vegetable you'd possibly think of. We've already found our favourite fishmonger, and baker.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sicily Travel: Still Alive in Siracuse!

Sorry for not posting - both of our computers died! We're here in Siracusa, Sicily with our friends from Whitehorse. It has been really fun seeing Sicily through their eyes.

The very first meal we shared at a restaurant here, one of our friends didn't order a second dish and everyone else did. The chef came out and asked; "why you not eat"? It was just epic - a perfect emblem of of everything we love about Sicilian food and the pride that people have in their wonderful food.
Eric did get a little bit off of everyone else' plate... 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Roma to Pizzo

Today we drove from Roma to a small holiday town called Pizzo, which we picked for no obvious reason. I found a hotel that accepts dogs and has a bit of beach. It is just right for us. The beach is a short walk away and the water is crystal clear. I think this town has won awards for the cleanliness of its beaches and water (blue flag). Now we are off for a quick meal.

Sadly the car we've got now is a bit of a lemon. Its a Fiat 500, so we were surprised when it turned out to be utterly gutless. A big fat phewey.