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March 31st 2018
Published: March 31st 2018
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Saturday March 31 2018 - Another good day. I got up close to 8am, and my host offered me some cookies and tea. Not a healthy breakfast, but it tasted good. I got packed up and headed out for another walk around Ortigia. This time I found my way back and forth much easier. I spent a couple hours walking around and then headed back. I did a few internet things and then had to wait for the preteen to exit the bathroom so I could use it and get on the road. My drive was only an hour, and I was driving through the city, then on a weird forgotten backroad of dubious quality that had me driving under bridges through narrow gaps in the support. Finally I ended up on the highway and passed through a lot of tunnels. The road must be new because the GPS was very confused about where I was half of the time.

When I got to Catania, I parked just outside of my B&B in a spot I knew I could not stay in. I brought my things up and checked in and the girl told me her father would be right back and he would park the car for me. He actually only had to pull it in just around the corner, so that was lucky. They gave me a map and a cup of tea, showed me the places to go, and then let me at it. The B&B is in a fantastic location, right down the street from the cathedral. I walked away around 1:45pm and started to see the sights. Of course, the churches were closed until 4pm (how religious can you be when your churches close for lunch?), but I made a good round of the city. I started by trying arancini, fried breaded rice balls with savory fillings. I only had one but it was good. My book also pointed me to a popular pasticceria (still popular even after the 20 years since this book was written) where I got a cannoli. I didn’t realize they were stuffed with ricotta, which just seems so weird. But it was good. While I was eating it in the park, a guy came up to me and started talking. My guard was up a little, but he was nice and we chatted for a few minutes and then he left. He was from The Gambia, a(nother) place I’d like to go. He was telling me his documents are for Italy but he was working in Germany for a bit, and now he’s trying to get his documents to live there instead, as there’s more work to be found.

I saw many churches from the outside, some from the inside, and some old Roman and Greek ruins in the city. The weather was sunny and warm, and I’m hoping I didn’t add much to the slight sunburn from yesterday.

I came back in the evening for a couple hours before heading out for dinner. I notice it’s not cold in my room - a first this week. I also noticed a mosquito, so that might be interesting tonight. For dinner, I decided to get another arancini and had a walk to look for some. I ended up choosing a place based on a bunch of other people inside. I got one arancini and a piece of spinach pie to go. I brought them home, ate them, and then went back out in search of dessert. I wanted to try a granita, a sort of lemon slushy that is special here, but I couldn’t find any, so I settled for what turned out to be subpar gelato.

I almost skipped Catania, but I’m so glad I didn't. I really like this town compared to some of the more beautiful ones. It seems more alive. Tomorrow I fly home and will prepare for the arrival of a good friend on Monday. Then we’ll play in Switzerland for a few days until next weekend, when we’ll be back in Italy with a weekend trip to Milan. Pizza and gelato await. Though to be honest, anywhere in Italy you can’t open your mouth without pizza or gelato falling in.

Additional photos below
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The bar where I got my snack. The bar where I got my snack.
The bar where I got my snack.

Bars here have alcohol, but most seem to function mainly for coffee and snacks.

3rd April 2018

Make life worthwhile

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