Travelling with your family is not always easy especially when you consist of two adults and three grown teenagers who barely squeeze into the back seat of a car. Being the youngest, I always got bribed – and later forced – to sit in the middle section car dealerships claim is a seat which in my opinion, those detestable extra spaces should not be labeled seats. So it is easy to imagine my unease when my father announced an upcoming trip for a week in Sicily, Italy with the whole clan. Little did I know that those seven days would become my favorites from the year of 2011.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
We reached Sicily by plane, a whole four hours from Munich, Germany (near where we lived) and stepped out to the heat of a May morning. Summer was permeating the Earth and you could feel it in the arid air. We had a rental car awaiting us and we piled in. Over the course of six days, we visited Trapani, Palermo, Caltagirone, Catania, Taormina, Mount Etna, Siracusa, Agrigento, and Sigonella. The cities were all beautiful; they were all replete with spring flowers and dripping history from the baroque walls. Each place had their unique story and their own set of delicious restaurants where pizzas were always heavenly. The people we came by were charmingly warm, loud and full of liveliness while shouting in Italian to one another.
Walking down the crowded streets of Catania on our last day, my mother spotted a postcard of a beautiful beach with a stair-like land formation. The rocks were stony white bordered by the deep blue Mediterranean sea. Underneath the image: Scala de Turchi. We had to be back on the other side of the island in Trapani by nightfall, in order to catch our flight home the next day but we took the detour while driving from the east side to the west. My father wanted to please me. We scoured the coasts in search for this mystical beach. We looped around the south side of the island, looking for signs bearing its name. During those five grueling hours, we all got to talking. The sun was falling over the rural mountains ahead of us while the beaches whisked by at our left.
My mother began telling us the stories she was told when she was younger. Her mother was the oldest of five sisters and they all had plenty of drama throughout their lives. She told us all the old family stories we’d heard before when we were too young to understand what any of them meant. Abandoned children, adoptions, affairs, lies, secrets all taking place in the tropical cities of Venezuela. My mother has a brilliant way of telling stories. She always pauses in the right moment and includes every little necessary detail to paint an image in your mind. We laughed for those five hours straight, so much I even forgot I was squashed in the middle seat between my brother and sister. I was so fascinated by our family’s history that I was lost in the past. Before we knew it, we’d found the scala and ran across the deserted sands to finally find the rocks outlined by the setting sun. We raced to the top of the stone slabs and sat to watch the final rays of sunlight disappear. That moment is etched into my mind accompanied by one of the best feelings of nostalgia only the Italian coast can bring.
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