I planned this to be a longer stop, using it as a base to explore and share the incredible island of Sicily, but shortly after I arrived things took a turn. My intended first stop, the Couscous festival in San Vito lo Capo was canceled, and not long after things started to tighten up all around Europe. This wasn’t too surprising though, it seemed everyone expected to be back in lockdowns by October at the latest. Other countries nearby were going back into full lockdowns and I thought for sure Italy would be too. It turned out Italy has been determined to go with a regional approach, though the rules and map of the zones have been tough to follow. Early on Sicily was an orange zone, which meant many places closed and movement was limited. Then I think it was around the beginning of December Sicily went to a yellow zone, so some places were allowed to open back up, but it was still very quiet. The clearest part to me has been the entire country is “red” (locked down) for the holidays; great! Though they did throw in a few days in between when people can go out without fear of fines, or possibly just to keep it confusing. Anyway, all this lead me to divert my attention a bit. You may have seen some of the review videos I’ve done in an attempt to keep some sanity through this time. I did make one sort of travel video while in the area though, I’ll link it below. This is yet another beautiful part of Sicily, and even with the current situation, it was a nice stay. I’m still hoping to share much more of this gorgeous island with you all, just not sure when it’s going to happen.
Of course, with things as they have been, I didn’t talk with as many people as I might have otherwise. But since things are slower and stores have had capacity limits, I did have a bit more of a chance to try to actually communicate with locals; my knowledge of the Italian language is still very limited, but many of the people were wonderful and helped me learn a few things. Shops can be a bit chaotic in Italy normally, and as exhilarating as that can be, I prefer things slower; a change this pandemic shit brought that I don’t mind at all.
After quite a bit of consideration, I decided on making a move between Christmas and New Year’s… things didn’t work out as planned though. The destination country changed the entry rules and the airline didn’t understand them, so I was given bad information. Not too big a deal really, these times are tough, and hopefully like nothing we’ll see again. I did have to scramble, which cost me a bit of money because of their error, but it could have been much worse. I had a feeling not to run full speed with the information, so I didn’t book a place to stay in the new destination: that would have been a lot more expensive. I’m taking it as a reminder that part of this whole experience is to learn, and specifically to learn to go with the flow and fight things less. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning to let the airline get completely away with this. They now have me booked for a new flight that looks completely impossible to make due to the new entry requirements around testing and are being a bit difficult, so maybe it’s more of a pick your battles thing; we’ll see how this turns out…
For now, I’ll be working on a few alternate plans while I spend a couple of weeks in Palermo (a large part of which will be in lockdown).
I’m very thankful for the experiences I was able to have in 2020: it was quite a year (not even knowing what I fully mean by that). I hope everyone has had wonderful holidays and is off to a pleasant 2021! Yeah, I said pleasant; I’m not setting bars too high just yet.
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Costs for this stop…
This was a 126-night stay…
- Accommodation – $2,558.42**
- Getting around locally – $0.00
- Living expenses, including any day trips, groceries, and eating out – $1,315.16 (almost all grocery stores/local markets)
- Mobile phones (I’m carrying a US line and an Italian line. This stop also had some additional charges. I’ve found it’s definitely not just in the U.S. that mobile phone carriers are shady as hell!) – $209.15
- SafetyWing Insurance – $290.27
- Total $ 4,373.00/ 126 nights = $34.71 per
Transportation can be a big expense and I feel that would vary too much, so I’ve left it out along with any incidental/one-time costs.
- I convert local currency to USD after the trip so there will be a slight variation from the real-time conversion. For this stop, it was converted at USD 1.22 = 1 Euro
** This was arranged as a longer stop ahead of time.
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