Best Laid Plans: Italy 2

You know the saying, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” or the verse that says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”? Well, I kept thinking of both yesterday.

Planning: a lot of it took place before we left to come here. Matt had to coordinate many things to be able to perform the work that he is here to do. And I researched, contacted and reserved rooms with all the B&Bs. Then there was figuring out how to be away from home for 5 weeks and pay bills. Or how about figuring out how much money we would need and get it in the correct currency. And planning what food I needed to take to be able to eat my gluten free diet.

Well, it all hinged on Matt being able to do his work. That is why we are here after all! He is installing equipment in 10 different locations and that equipment had to be shipped from the states and be delivered by truck before we arrived. He spoke with the others responsible for shipping and it seemed that all would be in place by the first part of April. So Matt allowed some wiggle room and we took off on April 8. Well, you guessed it, the equipment had not arrived to the location in Sicily but we did. This was not a good situation. What should we do? Our plans were carefully laid out and depended on us keeping our schedule. We did plan in some trouble shooting days, but not any here in Sicily. I prayed for a miracle.

After much thought, Matt decided that there was time during another stop in Naples that he could take a quick flight back down to Sicily. That would mean figuring out the flight, renting another car and….leaving me all alone…in a foreign country…where I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t much relish this thought although it would give me a chance to be even more adventurous and an opportunity to, once again, trust God. So, to keep the schedule, yesterday we left our beautiful spot in Sicily and headed towards the mainland of Italy.

I kept saying, “I don’t want to leave this place”, Tenuta Giarretta, the agriturismo. Not only is it beautiful, but comfortable and the food was delicious. And Clelia knew just what to feed me so that I didn’t get sick.

Clelia holding some oranges from their orchards

Clelia holding some oranges from their orchards

And we hadn’t yet gone to the summit of Mt Etna. I told Matt that I just added that to my Bucket List – to go on cable cars to the top of the active volcano: Mt Etna.

Mt Etna with wildflowers

Mt Etna with wildflowers

We left our new friends at Tenuta Giarretta and headed toward Messina where we would catch a ferry to the mainland. My normally optimistic, cheerful husband was not very happy. He tried to act okay, but really he was FINE- Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. Well, not quite, but he did sigh every once in a while and was very quiet. Even though we were quite concerned about our situation, we tried to have fun driving along. And we wondered, would the equipment have arrived in Naples in time for him to do that install?

Driving through Italy is not good if you have a fear of tunnels. I have never liked them. They make me feel like I can’t breathe! Well, I’ve had to totally get over that. In this part of Italy, you drive through one tunnel onto a bridge over a deep valley and then into another tunnel. And the tunnels are long and curvy. And I actually could breathe!

So many tunnels through the gorgeous mountains

So many tunnels through the gorgeous mountains

We needed to make it through Messina to embark on the ferry. Matt showed great driving skills as he maneuvered through the crowded street.

This little boy was with his mother in a flower cart along the road

This little boy was with his mother in a flower cart along the road

These were hanging in vendors stalls. I'm not sure what they are. Fish?

These were hanging in vendors stalls. I’m not sure what they are. Fish?

We found the ferry, got a ticket and settled in to enjoy the 30 minute ride. The views are beautiful as you look back at Sicily and forward to the mainland.

Our car is down there on the ferry. We enjoyed watching from the upper deck.

Our car is down there on the ferry. We enjoyed watching from the upper deck.

We ate a lunch of prosciutto, chips and a banana. We were headed to a agriturismo that was halfway to Naples about a 4 hour drive.

So much beautiful scenery

So much beautiful scenery

Then our miracle happened! Matt got a call saying the equipment had arrived in Sicily! Yes, a miracle, but here we were on the mainland and almost to our next agriturismo. Did we keep going and Matt have to take a commuter plane ride back down? Or should we turn around and drive back? Yep, that’s what we did. So, yesterday, we drove 8 hours to get, well, right back where we started!

Tenuta Giarretta

Tenuta Giarretta

So, here I sit, in beautiful Tenuta Giaretta while Matt is away working. I’m surrounded by beauty and lots of people. And so glad that I won’t have to be brave while Matt flew away. God is good! Clelia is making me some lunch; at least that is what I think she said.

This agriturismo is a 500 year old building. It was once used as a monastery. They have an area of the floor with glass and it looks like an archaeological dig.

This agriturismo is a 500 year old building. It was once used as a monastery. They have an area of the floor with glass and it looks like an archaeological dig.

This well and lava sink were used by the monks 500 years ago.

This well and lava sink were used by the monks 500 years ago.

I kept seeing bees on the orange blossoms and we were served honey with breakfast. I thought they must have bee hives and sure enough they do! This man showed off their 20 some hives.

I kept seeing bees on the orange blossoms and we were served honey with breakfast. I thought they must have bee hives and sure enough they do! This man showed off their 20 some hives.

Tenuta Giarretta is a favorite place for field trips. The children love exploring the farm and seeing the animals.

Tenuta Giarretta is a favorite place for field trips. The children love exploring the farm and seeing the animals.

 

Gorgeous orange blossoms. The scent reminds me of my grandparents since they gave me orange blossom perfume from Florida when I was just little.
Gorgeous orange blossoms. The scent reminds me of my grandparents since they gave me orange blossom perfume from Florida when I was just little.
We went for a geocache and ended up in Paterno. It looked like a very old town and so interesting. Very narrow streets.

We went for a geocache and ended up in Paterno. It looked like a very old town and so interesting. Very narrow streets.

Matt said there was a pillbox geocache. I thought it was one of those that had a logbook in a prescription bottle. No, I have now learned that these structures from WWII were machine gun bases and were called pillboxes. He found the cache!

Matt said there was a pillbox geocache. I thought it was one of those that had a logbook in a prescription bottle. No, I have now learned that these structures from WWII were machine gun bases and were called pillboxes. He found the cache!

Lots of wildflowers are in bloom. Here are thisles with oranges in the background.

Lots of wildflowers are in bloom. Here are thisles with oranges in the background.

If you enjoyed this post, you will love the first post about Italy. Another Grand Adventure – Italy1

See the next part of the story: Italy 3

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28 thoughts on “Best Laid Plans: Italy 2

  1. Pingback: Italy 2015 #1: Arrive in Sicily | Joyful Wonder

  2. What an adventure…and it’s just getting started. Glad that you got back on track so all your planning didn’t have to be redone. Of course we love when a plan comes together…especially after so much planning.

  3. Please keep traveling and writing…. you do it so well that it makes us feel like we are actually there. Your writing and beautiful photographs are inspiring. May God continue to bless you! Will be looking forward to reading your blogs

  4. Pingback: The Call of the Mountains: Italy 7 | Joyful Wonder

  5. Pingback: Another Grand Adventure: Italy 1 | Joyful Wonder

  6. Pingback: My Friend, Sergio: Italy 5 | Joyful Wonder

  7. Hi Janine, It seems that everything worked out just fine and Matt will be able to finish up his work.(God heard your prayers). I love seeing the pictures that you take, and it looks like a beautiful place to visit. The picture that you took of the archeological dig looked interesting. I wonder if you will see any unusual birds while you are there? Are you planning on trying to do any birding? The volcano is probably in a rural area, so you might see a few birds there. I don’t blame you for not wanting to stay alone in a foreign country. That isn’t something that I would do either. Enjoy your vacation!

    • Hi Colleen! We’ve already seen a black bird with white patches. I think maybe a magpie? And the farm has a beautiful peacock. But that is it so far. I was not able to bring my 300mm lens with me, so I won’t get good shots even if I see birds. But I will still enjoy seeing them!

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