Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cowen's Sicily and Mine

Tyler rolls his eyes at an NYT account of prodigal misspending at the Italian Tourist Board, particularly in respect to the South and Sicily.     He's right of course, but here's a guilty secret: hang the Tourist Board, I'd list Sicily as one of my own favorite tourist destinations.  I first stumbled on it alone back in 1985, diverting myself with a long weekend away from a work assignment in Rome.    I told Mrs. Buce we had to get back there together and indeed we've traveled the island a couple of times since.  In all, I've pretty well scoured the place by car bus and train and I'll go again tonight if you are offering.  

There are tourists in Sicily and facilities sufficient to care for them--Taormina is the first place where I ever stayed in a hotel with a rack rate of 800 Euros, though happily I was not paying rack rate.   Things do seem to have gotten busier with time: in '85 I had the sere, spooky unfinished temple at Segesta all to myself; two years ago we found it equipped with full tourist array.    One thing Sicily mostly does without:  the walls of high-rises one finds blazoned along the Costa del Sol.  Too bad for Sicilians who want to make a few coins, but I say thank heavens for waste and sloth at the Tourist Board.

Bibliography:plenty of good stuff to read by Sicilians or about Sicily but I have a nostalgic soft spot for Goethe's Italian Journey, my companion on that solo first foray 29 years ago, and still the only bit of Goethe that I can say I unreservedly enjoyed.  Here's a brief appreciation of the Sicilian chapters.

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