Ortigia to Marate

The quickest part of our journey yesterday was walking to Europcar. We left the apartment at 08:50 and by 09:10 we were on the road. I think there was a young lady earning money at the entrance to the autostrade. She charged us €5 and gave us a ticket. If that’s the case she must earn a fortune. Etna was smoking away and we exited the autostrade at Taormina (€1.70), parked and had a quick walk in and out of the old town.

A reason to come back

We had espresso at Franco and granite at Gelatissimo Taormina. Dave had arancio and I had limone.

There was a wedding!

We then got back onto the autostrade at no cost and exited at 12.05 in Messina (€2). Not only did we get caught in traffic, we went to the wrong ferry! There is more than one leaving Messina and I suggest if you ever need to use one, buy the ticket at the ferry. Mrs Garmin actually took us to the correct one by chance but it looked like a train station so I ignored her. Actually, the trains go onto a ferry!

Train tracks on the ferry

Eventually we left Sicily at 14:35, getting to Villa San Giovanni at 15:05. I had wanted to buy Marsala in Sicily and thankfully the shop we chose had 1 bottle!

Arrividerci Sicilia

Our long drive began and our first mission was to find a shop to buy food and then to get to the resort before reception closed.

Ciao Italia

We did our fresh fruit and vegetable shopping at a farm stall – IGP Cipolla Rossa di Tropea Calabria. We bought more Calabrian chillies to take home and to send to Mark. We managed to get to the resort with 5 minutes to spare. There are two roads up to the resort but the one is closed. You need to go into Maratea itself and then climb the steep, winding road. Finding the reception was not easy but the security guard helped us. We rewarded ourselves with prosecco (€6) before heading to our apartment to unpack, unwind and eat. Today there was a lot of driving. 9418 steps, only 4.97km walked.

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Ancient Siracusa

At 9:25 we trekked uphill from Ortigia to Siracusa. Our first stop was at Antica Gelateria del Corso for espressi. We walked through Piazza Pantheon to the Parco Archeological Neapolis. The Greeks built an amphitheatre here in the 3rd Century BC.

Archeological site

To get some perspective here is Dave sitting in front of me. The ‘cheap’ seats are behind us.

Modern day capturing of a moment

This vast area is amazing.

Teatro Greco

And includes a Street of Tombs and a waterfall.

Street of Tombs
Nature’s gift

The stone quarry was dug out until they reached the Theatre.

Latomia del Patadiso

This area also includes the Antifeatro Romano Siracusa, Ara di Ierone and the Grotta dei Cardari.

Antifeatro Romano

This Roman built area was for gladiator training and games. From there we walked through the residential area of Siracusa stopping at Gelateria Little Coffee for espressi and past the Basilica Santuario Madonna Della Lacime.

The dome of the Basilica

We went shopping and had a beer at Caffé Story before going back to the apartment at lunch. We relaxed and then went back to the swimming platform for some sun and sea and came back to change and read. At 16:35 we headed out for gelato. For the first time ever we sat down for this treat. Dave had fragola granite and I had cioccolato gelato. This was enjoyed at Il Caffé Minerva.

Yum

We decided to have an early dinner and see Ortigia at night. It was buzzing.

The Cathedral at night

We went back to Piazza Minerva for Prosecco before coming back to the apartment to finish off the wine and cheese. Tomorrow we head off again. 21 984 steps and 12.29km today!

Isola di Ortigia

There is a street market close to where we are staying so we headed there. First having espressi at Bar Antico Mercato and then walking past all the stalls before deciding what to get. We bought fish from the nicest looking of the places.

Filleted for us, one for supper

And then some fresh herbs to suit.

A small choice on offer

We dropped everything back at the apartment and went for a walk around the edge of the island.

Such a stunning vista

At 12:00 we came back to the apartment for lunch and to get out of the sun. We relaxed until 14:30 and then decided to go for a swim. We walked through what was the Jewish Quarter to the swimming platform.

No sand!

But rain was threatening so we did not spend much time here. We continued from where we left off in the morning, heading back to the apartment when we got to Castle Miacere. At 18:00 we went to meet Massi and Maria, friends of mine from primary school. We had gelato, walked around and then went for drinks. A typical Italian evening.

A lifetime of memories

Eventually it was time to say goodbye. Another memory to add to so many special ones. We had a late supper and headed to bed, hearts full. 15 483 steps, 8.34 km walked.

Falconara to Ortigia

We had a late start to our day and eventually went down for breakfast at 9:10. We checked out at 10:00 – the room including breakfast and city tax cost €74.

The beach where we stayed

We stopped in Vittorio for espressi at Gran Caffè and to buy lunch. This we ate on the side of the road in Modica at 13:20.

Lunch time view

We drove over an amazing bridge – Ponte Fratelli Coatanzo. Worth looking up on Google. In Ispica we had espressi at Bar F. lli Giurdanella and then headed for Siracusa. We entered a 398 meter tunnel – it was bone dry going in and storming on the other side. As we got into Siracusa the roads were flooded and a car was stuck on the road we were meant to take. Thankfully the Garmin can work out a new route quickly. We put petrol in the car – €52 for 29.49l and then dropped the car at Europcar. Like proper Italians we just double parked in the main road. We walked to the apartment and let ourselves in with a door code, unpacked and went shopping. On our way back Pamela stopped us in the road – you have to love WhatsApp for showing people what you look like. She came back with us, showed Dave how the stove worked and we paid her the city tax. At 16:50 we headed for a walk. First down to Tempio di Apollo and then to Il Cucchino for gelato. Dave had plain cioccoloto and I had fondaleta fondente.

Tempio di Apollo

We then walked past the Fortificazioni Greche di Ortigia to buy herbs to make pasta alla Norma from Aromi di Sicilia.

Look for the Rooibos

We walked down to the harbour and then up to the Duomo and sat down at Monzu for prosecco.

Duomo

It’s amazing how much pricier things are closer to the Duomo. We paid €20 for a really good prosecco and snacks.

The lemon is table decoration

After that we walked back to the apartment via the fountain with a statue of Diana.

Diana

Dave cooked and we had a relaxing and to our evening. 10 352 steps and 5.46km walked.