You wouldn’t think finding a bath towel in a city the size of Catania would be difficult.
Wrong. Giuseppe was kind enough to provide one bath towel but it needs to be replaced and another one added, at least, since it will take two days to wash and air dry. So, yesterday I decided to take an extended walk to explore a section of town northwest of the apartment.
Figured I do a big triangle loop, walking down as many main streets as possible, looking at the shops. One problem: I decided to do this in mid-afternoon. Many of the shops, even some of the midsize groceries, close in the afternoon. Some are closed from 1-2:30, others 1:30-4. so even if I found a shop selling towels, I would not be able to buy them.
The area I walked was basically what I would characterize as vertical neighborhoods.
Think residential in any big U.S. city. The ground floors were mostly shops and apartment entrances, with residential mostly on second floors and above. There’s at least one bakery on every block, and at least two cafes/bars. Sprinkled in are barbershops, auto/motorcycle repair, boutique clothing stores, butchers, tobacco shops, a few Dollar-like stores. Nowhere did I see anything resembling linens and towels.
After walking about three miles, and within a block of my apartment, I finally came across
a store with towels inside. Of course it was closed, so decided to return the next day.
My task at the apartment yesterday was to string my new rope to dry laundry. There is a pulley system that extends from my bedroom window to the kitchen window. The rope that was there was rotten and no longer could “move” the drying clothes. Giuseppe had bought me a nylon rope and 10 clothespins. Somehow I managed the engineering and now I have someplace to dry my clothes, four floors up. It’s what they do here, just like Costa Rica and Croatia. Clothes dryers are expensive and the electricity to run them also expensive.
This morning (Friday, Dec. 2), the Internet was down after I came back from my walk, so I’m writing this on the hard drive and will post it later. Decided to take my morning walk along the sea but in the opposite direction as before, heading south to see what was there. It was a nice sunny day, temperature about 60. This section was surprisingly seedy/industrial. Located a computer shop, which might come in handy for repairs. After about a mile, I was at the main bus/train station. Good to know as I start to explore nearby towns. It’s a very large station so I expect navigating it, buying tickets and getting on the correct bus/train will be a challenge. There are several towns along this coast I would like to visit on day trips, such as Syracuse and Taormina. Plus, I’d like to make a longer trip to Palermo on the opposite end of the island. So much to do, so little time.
On my way back, I looked for another pool hall Giuseppe had told me about right around the corner from the apartment. I found it. It’s called Central Park, no Italian name, just Central Park. I looked in the window and could see a large warehouse-like area with a number of pool tables and ping pong tables. Giuseppe says this is where the really good players play. I’ll find out tonight as Friday night should be busy.
Oh, I finally heard back from a few of the apartment rentals I had e-mailed several times. The apartments were either rented, under renovation or they wanted a longer-term renter. Guess I lucked out.
And about that towel. I went to the shop I found yesterday. An attractive woman (married) about 40 let me in and, of course, spoke no English. I picked out two towels that I thought she said were 6 and 7 euros each. She asked if I wanted them gift wrapped, which should have been a clue. When I tried to hand her a 20 euro note, expecting change, she tried to tell me they were much more. I didn’t bring my reading glasses so couldn’t read the receipt or the price tag. But I knew if the towels were more than 20 euros ($27) for the two, I was not interested. I said I was sorry and left. Still need towels.