(note the scale in the lower right-hans corner; it is different from the maps added for the previous days)
After the first day here in Sicilia that didn't go so well, the bitter cold combined with bad planning made the afternoon feel completely wasted, we woke up to new possibilities. I, for my part, was (secretly) happy. This thing is that Capa della Famiglia has problem with a hip. Thus there are two things she dislikes: Walking around for hours looking at things, and getting on and off the bike. The result is that when we arrive some place it is unlikely that I can manage to drag her around more than a few blocks. Second, there will be few pictures featuring the bike.
When I ride alone, part of the fun is to get off the bike, check if it will become a nice shot, move the bike a little, ride to the other side, and so on. With her that is not an option. Thus, there are less photos than what I usually hav in my reports.
For those who remember how Day 3 ended, we were cold, cold, cold, and lost, lost, lost, and having spend a long, long, long time in Lentini (not very attractive, to say the least), but in the end we sere saved by havin picked up a business card a bar in Taormina, thus we found B&B Fontana Vecchia
, via D. H. Lawrence 8, 98039 Taormina (ME), phone +39 094224116, mobile +39 3398142283. Very nice!
Next day, day 4, after a nice and warm night, we return to Sunrise
, in via Zecca 7, phon +39 094224663, for breakfast. The owner makes an above-average capuccino and offers fresh dolce.
As you can see, I have my riding jacket on (cold in the morning) but you can't see that I am wearing jeans. The thing is that Taorina was a little too touristic for our taste. But as we got back there anyway, I grabbed the opportunity to visit the large Greek theater. The Romans later added and expanded on it, but in general terms it is well over 2.000 years old. The shot above is a classic one, with the vulcano Etna in the background.
Here is another with some people to get the scale of things (check the red ring).
While I marvel at the Greek theater, Capa della Famiglia captures some houses and streets. Notice that on the house on the second picture, both the windows and the flowers have been painted on the walls!
We return to the bar Sunrise for espresso. There we are approached by a man, who asks if we are the Norwegians living at Vecchia Fontana. He is the brother of Enrico that we met yesterday. He tells us to just call him when we want to get the bike of of storage. Any time!
We enjoy the coffee, return to the B&B, change, and call him. He turns up in minutes, and we go in his car to fetch the bike. The garage is owned by his mother. So by sleeping there we haev met two brothers and used a favor of the mother. I love Sicilia!
We finally get going, and ride south along the coast. After having passed Catania, we arrive safe and well in Siracusa (wikipedia here
). For me, it is sufficient to know the city was founded 734 BC. Here Bamsefar (that is the bike) was captures just outside the Old City. There is a nice bike-only parking there, down by the sea, on the south side. One can-not get in with a car and I think a lrage and heavy bike will be very safe there. We left the bike and went looking for lunch
We found a trattoria with full-size Greek men making up the scenery, but for some reason Capa della Famiglia foudn the place both more familiar-looking and inviting that I did
Anyway, there were noone else there so we walked on.
We found a nice bar on Piazza Archimede, but I have lost the receipt so I don't know the name. What looks like a dolce isn't, but rather filled with prociutto (one crudo and one cotto). It really Adds Life to sit on a piazza, surrounded by locals (but, alas, I couldn't understand a word - the dialect is simply too strong for my Tuscan ear), having lunch, in the sun, together with Capa delle Famiglia, on vacation. If you look closely you might notice I am waring a safety west. You are free to spank me for not taking it off when venturing away from the bike - ugly as Hell. Afterwards, while not having a sigarillo with my espresso, I write some postcards that will never be sent for reasons that will be explained later.
Because of our negative experience yesterday in Lentini, we decide it is time to pick another small town to visit. As our aim for the day is to get to Noto, we pick one at random. We ride up to Palazzolo Acreide. Founded by the Greek in 664 BC, it also sports a theater, a Necropolis, and so on. Never heard about Palazzolo Acreide? I haven't either, but even this village out in nowhere has more historical remains, including a nice Baroque church to make sure all important periods have left their mark, than more medium sized countries in the rest of the world.
Now, of all things, we stumble on Bonaiuto in the main street. It is a combined bar, and (hold you hat) a book-café. The styling is modern and light, huge windows, jazz inside, excellent coffe, afternoon dolce, and so on. If you are nearby, go there!
Parking on the sidewalk obviously isn't allowed, but as in Italy in general, if there is nowehere else to park... Noone seemed to mind.
We are going to Noto, for two reasons. First we want to see the Baroque city. Second, in our guide, we have found a B&B there. On the way we stop in Noto Antica (the Old Noto). It was a city well before the Greeks arrived (old, old, old) and situated on a easy to defend top of a mountain. The city was totally destroyed by the earthquake 11. january 1693. It was decided to rebuild the town closer to the sea, and thus this very large pile of ruins are left for us to see. It has been a Sicel town (wiki here
), Greek, Roman, Arab and Norman. There is a 360 degree view from within the city. Worth a visit!
We ride down into the "modern" Noto. Just outside the historical centre we check in at Villa Canisello
, via Pavese 1, 96017 Noto (SR), tlf +39 0931835793 (homepage here
). The owner speaks English, and the picture above is the terrasse outside our room. The standard is good, there is even a radiator (!) and it is only ten minutes to walk to the historical center. Excellent!
We start with an apperitivo on the main piazza, after having visited the large Duomo. It is completely white on the inside (very un-Baroque!) but we learn that it collapsed in 1996 and was opened again after having being rebuilt as late as last year.
Then dinner in a small place with a lot of Italiand having dinner in two small rooms. The place is Trattoria ls Buca. I had lasagne while Capa had salsicce, then I had grlled pesce spada in maniere siciliana while Capa had minestrone. Wine and water. Less than 50 euro. The food is "richer", more tasteful than what we have in Toscana. I like it.
The picture shows a ADVrider after a long day and a very nice dinner. Ready for bed!
The last thing we do is to check that the Bamsefar is still safely parked. The parking is inside the gate and not visible from the street so it is not very surprising that it is still there.
After conjucal responsibilities has been taken care of (dinner and so on
) I lay in bed and think about what I have seen today. It strikes me that the single most characteristic thing must be the thousand of kilometers of white stone walls I have seen. When I think about it, the landscape is so full of them that I have failed to notice. They are just there. I must try to snap a photo of them tomorrow.
208 km on a very nice day. I love Sicilia.
Tomorrow, Day 5, we visit Modica, Ragusa Ibla, we meet a man from Milano in Comiso', we become depressed in Gela, and arrive in Agrigento where we meet an owner of a R1200GS.
208 km today. Thank you for your attention.
The map is here