If there’s one rule KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley adheres to, wherever he goes, it’s this: Always talk to the locals.
Time and time and time again he has dispensed that advice. He heeds it, too. Recently, Brumley and family struck up a conversation with a cab driver, en route to the airport after a vacation in Sicily. He turned out to be an American, from Indiana originally, but a resident of Sicily since 1992.
On coming to Sicily: “When I was in high school, I read a book by Mario Puzo, The Sicilian. So I’ve always had this fantasy about Sicily. I joined the military…they came out with a list and said they needed two Marines in Sigonella, Sicily. I came to Sicily for two years, and everything changed from there. I met my beautiful wife, got married, and that was the beginning of my future.”
On why he likes it there: “The people are really nice. The food is wonderful. The weather is good. But I like the feeling that you get all over the island, no matter where you go, the feeling of family. There’s always family. The family is very important.”
On Sicily's diversity: “It’s the largest island in the Mediterranean, so it’s been attacked by every known army in history, I would say. That’s why if you go to the side of Palermo, you have people who look like me – blonde hair and blue eyes. But they’re normal Sicilians. You’ve had the Byzantines, the Spanish, the Greeks, the Romans. Everybody’s been here.”
On how visit Sicily: “First of all, you need at least 10 days. Fly into Palermo, spend at least two days in Palermo. The next place to go would be Agrigento – not spending the night – and from there up to Piazza Armerina: 10,000 square feet of floor mosaics. Down to Syracuse, and making your last stop in Taormina. You have to take a day trip to the volcano – the largest active volcano in Europe, Mt. Etna. If you leave Sicily and you didn’t visit Mt. Etna, it’s like you’re leaving and you’ve missed something.”
"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.