Monday, April 22, 2013

ASKING THE WAY IN SCICLI

Balcony in Scicli



Tonight the Baroque town of Scicli and other locations known to many outside Italy because of their connections with a certain Inspector Montalbano on television feature in this photo gallery in La Stampa.  I would like to thank my friends at Siliquia for pointing this out to me.

I like Scicli and it deserves the coverage but recently I found that that old adage about people taking longer to tell you they don't know the way to somewhere than to give you instructions when they do was particularly true there:

Some friends and I were trying to find a particular address in the town and I should explain that the friend who was driving has a truck, does not have satnav and even if he did, he would probably be reluctant to use it;  yes, I did print out the Google Maps instructions, but he doesn't trust those, either.  Like a lot of people here, he prefers to ask the way as he goes along and he doesn't see the logic in asking policemen or other folk who might actually know. "Pazienza."

By 7 pm on this misty, drizzly February night, he had asked several pedestrians for directions and we had kept going round in circles, always ending up near the same mobile butcher's store. The fourth time we saw the mobile butcher's, our driver friend relented enough to go into a shop to ask for more directions and was followed out by an elderly gentleman who said he knew where the address was and would come with us. Walking stick notwithstanding, he leapt into the truck and began enthusiastically telling my friend which streets to take. We still seemed to be going round in circles but eventually ended up in a hilly street which we had not passed through before. Then our sprightly navigator told us to stop and I had a sneaking suspicion that he was now lost, too. We didn't have much time to think about it, though, as, with another sprightly leap, he bounded out of the car and into a grocer's shop. Inside, he held a long conversation with the lady owner and then came out with her and two other customers, who all started pointing in different directions and telling us to take this or that street at the top of their voices.

Finally, our energetic guide - by now carrying a sack of potatoes as well as his stick - said he would lead the way on foot and the car should follow him. This we did, with our map-spurning driver manoeuvering the truck through some incredibly narrow streets; it was getting so misty that all we could see was the outline of the crook of the gentleman's walking stick and we were all losing the will to live. Suddenly, our leader stopped at a deserted crossroads and, waving his stick frantically in the direction of a balcony in the narrowest of the streets leading off it, yelled, "Siamo arrivati!"  With that, before we could thank him properly or offer him a lift to wherever he was going, he disappeared into the mist, walking at the speed of light.

The moral of this tale is that, if you visit Scicli on a misty evening, you might need Inspector Montalbano to show you the way!

3 comments:

Lee said...

I love this tale! :)

Liz said...

What a wonderful story! I'm just halfway through a Montalbano novel at the present.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Lee. Hi, Liz. Thank you and I hope you're enjoying the Montalbano story.

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