The Corso was even more crowded with holidaymakers, plus an unusual number of dogs on leads when we went out to replenish food stocks this morning. The sun shone from a sky with wisps of high altitude cloud to A road train full of kids and a few parents, driven by Santa, was making stately progress from Porta Catania to Porta Messina with much bell clanging, as much to attract children as to clear the way. It was decorated with cartoon characters and called 'il Trenino dei sogni'- the little train of dreams. One mum walked alongside the train holding her three year old daughter's hand, while dad sat opposite.
It was just warm enough to eat lunch out on the terrace without a top coat. We had messages to say that Kath, Anto and Rhiannon had checked in at Gatwick and were awaiting their flight. We whiled away the afternoon, taking a stroll down to the cemetery. We discovered it was closed for the public holiday so we returned and started preparing for an early supper. Around six we had messages to say they'd landed at Catania and were on their way in the hired car travelling along the SS114 taking in night time coastal scenery and towns festively decorated. At eight we went out to meet them, on the say from their hotel, climbing the steps up to the Guardiola. As we approached the car park terrace half way, we saw the three of them just below, and were soon hugging each other with delight to be reunited in such an unusual place.
We prepared a meal for them at home, then exchanged Christmas gifts and drank some Nero d'Avola to celebrate their arrival. It was getting on for midnight when I escorted them to the top of the steps for their descent to a long night's sleep, looking forward to awakening to a balcony view of Isola Bella. It promises to be bathed in sunshine.