Day 72-74…December 1-3…leaving Malta, back in Italy

Another very early morning! We left Malta at 4 AM for our flight back to Catania.

Back to our broken into car and reality.

From there we took a ferry back to the mainland of Italy, stopped in Reggio Calabria to buy some new luggage, and some tape, to temporarily patch our window… and then on to another wonderful drive through Calabria…to Tropea.

Amazing to see shepherds minding their sheep in 2017… no different, I think, than hundreds of years ago.

Olives, and oranges in numbers beyond my ability to count. Actually, too many to even photograph! Green dotted with orange, as far as the eye could see! And hills formed by volcanoes, undulating at all kinds of inclines! What a countryside! What a country!

When we arrived in Tropea,what a joy it was to organize our new suitcases, empty as they may be, with the few replacements we purchased 😊.

And then we went out to see what this little town, called “Tyrrhenian’s Pearl” held in store for us! It was hard to imagine how hopping it must be in the summer. It was quite sleepy as we walked through. But Calabria is known to have the best food in Italy, and that did not disappoint😋. Just a little pizza and antipasto! But you’ve never tasted fresh ricotta like this, or octopus fritters, or eggplant Parmesan, or soft, spreadable spicy salami called The N’Duja of Spilinga!😍

The house wine was unbelievably cheap… Not inexpensive…cheap! 8€ for the whole unlabeled bottle! And Jonny and I agree, Wine Enthusiast would give it a 9.8! And then of course, I had to try the most famous dessert in Calabria, the Tartufo di Pizzo!

We were lucky enough to visit the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola di Tropea, recently reopened after being closed for almost 10 years. It is a symbol for all of Calabria. It looks like a sandcastle perched atop the rocky cliff, but is in fact, a medieval church that was a holy destination for pilgrims for centuries.

In the first photo, if you look to the left, you will see the opening to a cave. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, this window to the sea, was also a window to the soul.

For today we just soaked in the tranquility of the turquoise sea, deep blue skies and puffy clouds, and a quiet charming little town.

We ended our stay with the wonderful dinner, but again, oops, forgot to photograph the food😳🙄. It just looked so good, we dove right in! It actually all began in the street. Standing still in the middle of the street… Jonny, looking at his Google maps… This nice Italian gentleman, who didn’t speak much English, asked us where we were going. We said “pinturicchio”. He said, “follow me”. As we were winding down one tiny little alley after another, we finally came to a set of stairs which he led us down. At the bottom of the stairs he said “I work here“. We sat in a beautiful cave-like restaurant, and tried to decipher the menu, all in Italian. Who should come over, but the chef… Our friend from the street.

Missed a pic of a delicious pasta, that is digesting as we speak. Tomorrow…Cantanzaro!