Alcara, Part III

The people of Alcara li Fusi are keeping me busy.

Today, I went to the stationary store which was operated by somebody with my grandma’s maiden name. They had a sign in the window that said “souvenirs” so I thought I’d pick something up. The selection of items that said “Alcara li Fusi” was small – most of the souvenirs only referenced Sicily. I got a t-shirt for my dad. (Sorry to ruin the surprise Dad!)

Then, the family that operates this guesthouse, also have a flower shop in town. Last night they told me to stop by the store, so I went. The woman, Rosie, first took me to the church and then took me to have a coffee.

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At the bar over coffee, I once again met a whole group of people. I told them I wanted to visit the town’s castle, because it sits on the high ground and has a great view of the town. I tried to get there yesterday but couldn’t locate the street. They said they’d show me. (The castle is on the left in the following pic. Most of the town is below the castle on the left though there are some houses behind it.)

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Well, they showed me the street but I still managed to take a wrong turn somewhere. I ended up higher up than the castle. However, I found some great views of the town so I was happy with where I ended up. I also went a little bit onto a hiking trail (Alcara sits right on the edge of a large nature reserve, the Park of the Nebrodi Mountains) and took some amazing pictures before turning around and heading back to my room to eat a sandwich for lunch.

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One of the guys who showed me the way to the castle said he has an aunt who is from Cleveland and now lives in Alcara. Somehow I guess she was a part of an immigrant family that came back home. He said she speaks English. He said he’d call her and all I need to do is go back to that same bar I had coffee at this morning and he’d bring her there if she was available. It’s about 3:00 now so in an hour I’m going to be there. It’d be really cool to chat with somebody from Cleveland while I’m here!

Four Hours Later

Well, I just spent two or three hours hanging out with a woman who grew up in Cleveland. She was born here in Alcara but went with her family to Cleveland in 1969. Her family would often come back to Sicily to visit relatives and she ended up meeting a guy here, marrying him, and moving back, and she’s been here for 30 some years. She does private English tutoring from time to time.

It was a nice conversation. We discussed how she ended up here and also how I ended up travelling here. I gave them my family tree and they said they’ll ask around – it’s hard to find relatives in a few days but maybe they can find people if they ask around over the next year or so. We friended each other on facebook.

Amazing how small a world it is.

People here have been so friendly and welcoming here in Alcara I can barely believe it. I walk down the street after two days here and am greeted by familiar faces.

When I was walking back to my room just 20 minutes ago, I decided to take back streets because I want to relax for a little bit and plan for tomorrow. If I’d have walked down the main road, I would have never made it back without being invited somewhere!

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