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  • Day250


    March 3, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    In need of services, we set off hoping the inland stopover we were heading for did actually exist and had the facilities it promised.

    Acres upon acres of polytunnels lined the fields, growing tomatoes, aubergines and beans. Most had aluminium frames but the older structures were wooden, some displaying a cross on their apex.

    From one land use to another, we entered the vast grey and hazy industrial area of the Eni oil refinery near Gela and saw amongst the chimneys and buildings, two 'nodding donkey' pumps that looked as if they were extracting oil directly from the ground.

    Back into agricultural land, this time amongst the hills of central Sicily, the slopes sported grape vines, olive and orange groves and orchards whose trees were breaking into pinky white blossom, possibly almomd trees. In the valley plains polytunnels were again being put to use, their sheet plastic covered on one side with a layer of fine sandy soil blown up by the wind from areas that had been tilled, but on which very little grew.

    Online we've been following a couple who are travelling around Morocco in their motor home. The sandy hills studded with rocks and a sparce covering of low foliage brought to mind the photos we'd seen of the African country, which is no surprise considering we are not that far north of Morocco.

    Approaching the big car park behind Caltanissetta Post Office we were relieved to see a sign that camper van emptying was available. A quick look round and we found the water point too- phew!

    Vicky was still unwell so Will went out for Friday lunch by himself at the booth on the car park that sold snacks including panini and cold beer.

    The next day we spent about 4 hours having water from the fill up point dribbling in to our watering can, yet the van's water level still only showed half full! It was the second tap we'd come to with such low water pressure and we needed to get water somehow. We just hope the next tap has a better flow!

    Vicky was a little better so we went for a potter around Caltanissetta. The majority of buildings were wide blocks of flats, rising 7 or 8 storeys high. They were painted in warm pastel colours and in decent condition, some were quite smart looking. The ground level space was given over to shops and services, set back from the porticoed pavement. We find it grounding to be in places like this, where there is little evidence of a show put on for tourists and everyday life is in full progress.

    Another panino at a cafe for lunch and we were ready to try a Sicilian sweet speciality we'd seen at a Pasticceria. A canollo is a deep fried tube of pastry, filled with ricotta. Ours was sprinkled with pistachios and Will described it as 'luxuriantly unctuous' although it was too rich for Vicky.

    Later, Will returned to a market stall he'd bought vegetables at yesterday, looking to buy some local wine. It was €3 for a 2L bottle but the stallholder didn't have change for a €5 note, so instead he gave Will 2 extra bottles, warmly pressing the bag into his hand!
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