Destination Sicily ~ Scala dei Turchi

As the winter season begins and plans for the New Year start to percolate, travel may be on the list of fun things to do in 2016. Travelers who enjoy time out-of-doors might consider a long stay on the island of Sicily. There are natural wonders waiting to be admired. A must stop on the tourist trail has to be Scala dei Turchi.IMG_0871

This cliff face of marlstone, lime-rich clay, rises out of the Mediterranean Sea. The wind and water have been carving the rock face for centuries giving it the look of stairs. La Scala dei Turchi literally means Turkish stairs. Apparently, marauding Turks of long ago used this as an entry way onto the island.

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The traveler only needs a good pair of hiking shoes to walk along the cliff face. The incline is a gradual ascent up as far as the feet find their courage. The cliff face stretches along the seashore for several miles and reaches perhaps six stories in height. Visit on a clear day and marvel at the wonder of it all. Take a seat on the stairs and watch the swirling calm seas change colors. See schools of fish come together and apart in the twinkle of the eye. Feel the sun, wind, and water and know something beautiful only nature could create. Let the sea fill the senses and watch it lap at the feet of the cliff. Leave all thoughts behind and be apart of it all.

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The site is in Agrigento Province at Realmonte near Porto Empedocle. The site is not operated as a park or reserve. There are no entry fees or services. Visitors are responsible for their own safety.

For information about the site, click on this link: Parcheggio Realmonte

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The Stream at the Foot of Scala Dei Turchi

IMG_0921My journey through the paradise that is Sicilia has taken me to Costa della Provincia di Agrigento which in English is the Coastal Area of Agrigento Province.  I am at San Leone Lido di Agrigento in a charming cottage with a great view out to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a brisk windswept day. The climate is cooler on this side of the island. The terrain is gentler with rolling hills of cultivated grape, fields of wheat and an abundance of quiet. The plant life on this island must be incredibly adaptable to strong shifts in climate. The day can be bracing, simmering, petulant or blazing. The nights are cool and misty. The roots of the plants must go deep to find the water and anchor into the soil. The branches must sway or be cracked to bits. The flowers, so delicate and sweet must tremble with the wind or be dashed by it. Hmm, it occurs to me the people of Sicilia must also be so, strong to the roots and flexible to what can happen in life.

This morning, I walked upon the immense formation at Scala dei Turchi. This is an enormous cliff face of a mineral that is chalky in appearance. It’s limestone? I am not sure the mineralized structure. It rises from the seabed and rolls up to the plane above. The substance is firm, a little like marble that has been sculpted by wind, rain and sea. In my life, I’ve never seen something as grand and beautiful. Nothing compares to the natural grace and wonder of Scala dei Turchi. The sea rushes to the shore spilling over rocky formations in the water that are just under the surface, rising and sinking with the tides. The formations make for great walkways out into the shoreline. Perhaps they are carved from something more ancient. This area has been lived in for thousands of years by many different groups, but of particular, this was part of Greece.

As much as I admired the cliffs that resemble steps and had visions of being brave and climbing up quite high, what did I see? I saw thisIMG_0874 tiny little fresh water stream as I was walking towards the steps. There’s an old saying about rivers rushing to the sea. Isn’t it written somewhere that all water wants to return to the sea?  In that the sea is the source of all life and even the fresh waters in the brooks desire to travel back to the source. Here it is, the sweetest little stream appeared as I was walking toward the massive cliff face. I could hear the little trickling and stopped to admire its landing. A small stream continued towards the sea. It was trickling through the soil and forming stalactites. It made it!

What a day! Standing on the shore feeling the rhythm of the sea and winds take over and sweep away any deliberation in thought. The glory in gazing out from the cliffs out to the gorgeous palette of cerulean, aquamarine, turquoise and celadon. I saw dark large swirls of something in the water, as there were no clouds in the sky today, I think it might have been schools of fish just under the surface, forming and dispersing quickly in the turbulent waters. The only thing that slightly mattered was a vague awareness of nothingness. There was only earth, sea, sun and sky. There was only a cliff that rose up and filled the space. The steps are carved by the wind and sun for some nautical god to scale onto the land. Who would come out of the sea to meet Sicilia? Who would be worthy of her?

Sicilia is feminine energy.  She is Gaia. This is the land of Demeter, Persephone, Artemisia and Arethusa. Perhaps that little stream is Arethusa. I met her in Ortygia and found her journey led here. Arethusa was a nymph who was being harassed by the river-god Alpheus. She appealed to Artemisia for help and was transformed into a stream. So, she traveled along enjoying a tour of Sicily before joining the sea.

The cliff has to be one of the natural wonders I’ve had the privilege to see. Here I am looking out at the young olive grove swaying under a cool midday sun. The sea fills the horizon. The flycatchers swoop and swirl through the alleys. The fragrance of jasmine is everywhere. There is no time, no place and nothing that matters anymore. Sicily is everything I wish I could be.

Written by Frances Ann Wychorski May 23, 2015

 

 

Figghiu du Mari ~ Child of the Sea ~ Piero Barone

Piero in seaShe hisses in, soft under the sky, breathing with sister moon as she rolls between the stars. She glides along pebbled shores, carving cliffs and cooling Aetna’s feet. Earth, Air, Fire and Water in plenty on Sicilia.

As you dive, flip and float with her, follow passions back, back to another self. Returning to an oldest and best friend. She who has always been there, gave ye birth, accepts unconditionally and who is in you. Immerse in the sparkling sea. Free your inner child and play the day away but, not ever betray her. As she may devour you.

Flashing brilliance in the eyes reflections of the sea light, all at once curious, piquant, languid or sanguine as the wave takes you. Sea sprite embrace her and find yourself again. Wash away the stars from your eyes and be free again. Play away from the tussle, the tedium, and the ache of the threadbare in need. Plunge in, tumble, roll in the crystalline sapphire sea.

Find your way home: figghiu du mari. Child of the sea.

In the Sicilian

Idda fischìa, duci sutta lu cielu, respirannu cu so soru, a luna, ca comu idda abballa tra i stiddi. Idda si movi tra i spiaggi chini di ciottoli, scogghi a forma di sculturi e ai peri ra fridda Etna. Terra, aria, focu e acqua abbonnanu in Sicilia.

Piero on BoatE comu ci trasi intra, voti e furrì cu idda, assicuti l’antichi amuri, n’arreri finu a attruvari n’atra arma. Turnannu o cchiù vecchiu e caru amicu. Idda ca ha sempri stata ddà e mai s’ha muvutu, vi retti a vita, vi voli beni e picca ci interessa chi cristianu sì, sì sicilianu e basta. Intra l’ondi ca fannu a schiuma bianca,Lassa libbiru u carusu chi hai intra ri tìa e joca finu a quannu un si stancu, ma st’accura, un la trariri mai a sta sicilia, picchi idda ti pò manciari vivu.

I luci culurati nta l’occhi sunnu u riflessu da luci du mari, tutti nta na vota curiusi, piccanti, tenneri e sanguigni quannu l’onda ti pigghia. U spiritu du mari l’abbrazza e t’attrova n’atra vota Porta via i stiddi di l’occhi tua si arreri libberu. Sta luntanu de sciarri, da lagnusia e du duluri do bisognu disgraziatu. Tuffati, asciucati, arrutuliati nto mari ca avi un culiri unicu nta tuttu u munnu.

@FrancesAnnWy2014

Sicilian Translation provided by Luca Sanfratello

Photograph from Scala dei Turchi provided by Piero Barone

Photograph at sea provided by Merynes Rockmebabytv