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Published: March 29th 2018
Thursday March 29, 2018 - Another early day starting before 7am. I got on the road at 8:15 and didn’t arrive in Ragusa until almost 11am, with one bathroom/gas stop. It was my first time filling up here, and I was only just under half full. Part of me wanted to see if I could make the whole trip on one tank, but the other part decided it wouldn’t be worth getting stuck on the side of the road to find out. I wasn’t sure what to do, but a guy came up to me right away and asked if I wanted to do it myself or if he should do it. I said I’d do it, but he still helped me figure out how to charge it to my card, which was nice. It’s a little different than at home.
Most of the drive was on small country roads, and I kept telling the GPS that this couldn’t be right. It was right, but I do wonder if there isn’t a faster, newer road that our 10 year out of date GPS doesn’t know about. I also wonder what the speed limit is, on pretty much every road. I
mean, I’ve seen speed limit signs, but they cannot be right. It often says 50 km/hr on large busy roads where everyone is flying at 100km/hr +, but 60km/hr on tiny winding country roads where you feel like you’ll die around the next bend going 30. I feel like I’m going to be getting many tickets in the mail, either for going too fast (according to speed limit signs) or possibly too slow (according to every Sicilian who has driven behind me).
I arrived in Ragusa and parked in the free(!) parking lot I saw online last night. Ragusa has an old town (Ibla) and a “new” town (still from the 1800s) and they are separated by a lot of stairs, with Ibla behind downhill. I drove through Ragusa and had to go down a long winding street to get to the parking, which was basically between the two parts of town. From there I went up a short flight of stairs and started walking around. I didn’t have a map, but there were signs to touristy churches and squares, so I just walked around, seeing what I could. I found it a little difficult to navigate the streets,
but eventually, I found the main churches. The cathedral was massively impressive.
Once I finished with Ibla, I decided to have a quick peek at the upper town. Just before I got back to the parking lot, I noticed the tourist info office, so I stopped in and belatedly got a map. It helped me to get to the upper town and find a few things, though. It was quite a lot of stairs to climb, but the views were good.
From Ragusa, I drove to Noto, about an hour away. This time the GPS did itself one better and brought me only on winding backcountry roads. And the roads kept getting narrower and narrower. It’s hard to believe that the road allows for travel in both directions - at times it absolutely wouldn’t have - but luckily I almost never saw another car on this drive. I was zipping along at about 20mph feeling like I was driving 100mph. Crazy. But the drive was really beautiful, through the country with a lot of nice views. There were a lot of cool stone fences in places, and some cattle today. I kept looking for a place to pull
over to pee but had no luck. Either the road has nowhere to pull over or it was on someone’s land and I was afraid of being spotted.
I arrived in Noto and had some trouble with the GPS finding the right spot, but it worked out eventually. I could park on the street outside with no problems. I’m staying in a B&B within a short walking distance on the old town. I took a few minutes for downtime and then headed out to see the town around 4pm. I’d decided to come here to sleep because the building are made of stone and are supposed to look great in the late afternoon sunlight. And they did. This town felt more lively than Ragusa, with more tourists as well. So, how did they get there? No one was on the road. There must be a newer, faster way to go. Everyone was out, sitting in the sun, eating ice cream. So I joined them. I had four flavors in my cup of gelato - dark chocolate, ricotta, nutella, and pistachio. Apparently ricotta is no longer just for pasta dishes, though perhaps it should be.
I walked around for a couple hours and then headed back to the B&B, knowing I’d have to wait until about 8pm for dinner. I chatted with Jeroen and made my way back to town, sitting down for some pizza at a place I found on Tripadvisor. It was ok, but it seemed like whole wheat crust, not my favorite.
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