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Published: April 25th 2017
You can do nothing but immerse yourself in ancient history are on the island of Sicily.
TIPS ABOUT THE FERRY ..First we had to get ourselves on the overnight ferry from Napoli to Catania. So we had a bit of scouting around during the day and found that the ticket office for our ferry TT LIne was straight down Via Marchese Campodisola from the Piazza Giovanni Bovio. We picked up the the tickets and were told to come back to the gate about 7 pm ... which was great because the ferry left at 9.30 and we didn't want to have too much hanging around all day and in the evening. I am giving this tip as there are not too many signs around and it could be a bit confusing. There are ferries going to the islands eg Capri and they leave from a different part of the port and there's a bit of a building site there too !!!! Well we had it sussed and were at the gate about 6.30pm , showed our ID and tickets and were the first foot passengers at 6.45 to embark ( guards on the gate checking that you are going on
the correct ferry !!) we checked in at reception and soon found our way to our cabin. It was clean and basic , comfy bunks, and with a toilet n shower so we were happy enough. We had read that the food was not brilliant on board and so we had had a good lunch and didn't need to eat but we sat in the bar and had vinos/ birras and once we had set sail we toddled off to bed and slept ok. It was good to wake up and look out the porthole to see Mount Etna and the port of Catania...and Colleen grabbed her camera and shot out onto the deck to take some shots. As we disembarked and handed in our key the nice lady at reception told us there was a small free mini bus which took passengers from the ferry to the gate of the port and from there we could walk to the station in about 10 mins. (People who drive always tell you that a walk somewhere is 10 mins ! ). So down the gangplank with massive trucks and cars trundling past us and there was the mini bus. No way
you could walk through the port with all the tracks and containers so it was quite effiecnt really to have the mini bus. Then we walked to the station more like 20 mins and although we had thought we would be at the bus station it turned out that it was the train station and anyway it was easy to get a train to Siracusa. And we had time to have a coffee and arancini at the bar for our breakfast. We had an apartment in Ortigia which is on a peninsula and is the hub of the old city of Siracusa.
So once off the train we had a quick taxi ride to meet a lady who then took us from the rendezvous to our apartment up a very narrow street. The apartment was renovated in a very old building and we did have to walk up an ancient stone staircase to the third floor. It was quite stylishly decorated but we did feel it lacked some basic items ( so my standby kit of Jcloth , tea towel, pan scrub and kitchen knife has come in very handy !!!) and amenities so it wasn't our best stay.
But it was in a perfect location to explore the old town and we spent many hours wandering around narrow alleys filled with little shops, wine bars and restaurants. The architecture once again was stunning with various styles and we had a wow moment as we came across the Duomo in a huge Piazza at night it was all lit up. The Cathedral incorporates the ancient Temple of Diana in its walls can see the Doric columns both inside and out of the facade. This city has been occupied almost continuously since 5 th century BC and was most powerful and important as well as the most beautiful city in the Greek Ancient world . Birthplace of Archimedes the city fell to the Romans in 211BC in a battle which also killed this famous son.
So as you will see from the photos it is a stunning place to visit and a short ride over the bridge into Siracusa will bring you to the Ancient Greek archeological site where there is a Greek theatre ( still used today ) , a Roman amphitheater ...no doubt with gladiators and wild animals fighting it out as well as a few christians
being slaughtered. And there were some huge quarries where it is said 7,000 Athenians were imprisoned and left to die after they were defeated in battle. Who would want to return to the good old days I ask ???
So many lovely restaurants but one La Folga stood out for me ... it was most beautifully decorated inside and out and also had some yummy food. Here in Ortigia two more friends of Colleen and Peter joined us ..Judi and Adrian so it's been great for me to have traveling companions ..and sharing the responsibilies of travel ...e.g. Which restaurant to eat in , which bar to go in as well as the boring stuff like booking places to stay and train tickets. And in addition to that it's been great fun even when Judi and Collen have tried to teach me to play Canasta !!
So after a few days in Ortigia and a power cut on our last night ..thank god for mobile phone torches... and next time I must remember to put a box of matches in my emergency kit... we couldn't even light the gas in the morning for a cuppa as the pilot
light was electric until clever Adrian managed to light a gas heater and then got a flame on a piece of paper !!!!!
Off we went on another train journey via Messina to the northern coast of Sicily to Cefalu.
Adventures to be continued 😃
Thanks Colleen for some of your photos !
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