Oleanders on the autostrada to Siracusa
Up early and the washing is on the line by 10:30 am. We can now head off on our day’s outing to Syracuse. We have read about this city and it’s incredible history. Those of us from New Zealand whose history goes back either two hundred years and for others eight hundred years here in Syracuse their history goes back about 2500 years or more. So this visit was on our wish list.
The trip will take about fifty-five minutes with the first part of the journey on winding narrow bumpy roads. The second half of the journey is on the autostrada that has toll gates in place but not operational and the road surface is far from ideal. In one part we are diverted onto the left lanes so the road can be repaired. Hopefully the entire road will be fixed so you can comfortably drive near or at the speed limit.
We have programmed our navigator to take us to a convenient carpark close to the island of Ortigia that has the main sights in Syracuse. Today she gets full marks. We drive up to the carpark barrier where a camera records our number plate. It could
Uncovered Greek ruins.
be interesting when we come to leave. We find a great park under the shade of a tree. It doesn’t take us long to mix and mingle with groups of school children and tourists heading the same way. The bus park is full, an indication of the numbers we will encounter on our visit.
The island of Ortigia is connected by two bridges. After crossing over we visit some Greek ruins uncovered during some construction work. What else must be under the ground. A short walk further on brings us to the ruins of the Greek Temple to Apollo. Such history. The town is a maze of little streets. We head down one and are amazed at the way people have created their own piece of paradise in this closed in community. Sometimes we come to a dead end and need to retrace our steps. It reminds us of the mazes we have visited with our grandsons. As we get closer to our destination, the Duomo, the busier the streets get and the tourist shops and restaurants become more frequent.
Reaching the piazza of the Duomo the sight is amazing. The buildings have all been restored. Everything is
Temple of Apollo
so bright and clean. On our walk through the old town renovations and restorations are in full swing. What a cathedral! The original site was occupied by the Greek Temple to Athena. It must have been huge. When the Byzantines arrived they used the existing columns to form part of the cathedral. The columns still stand today but it is obvious strengthening work has taken place. A cathedral security worker gives us a brief history of the building. It must be an amazing feeling to go to work each morning and be surrounded by such history. Our new friend tells us of people hugging the columns and appear to listen to their stories. It has that feeling about the place.
We dine like the rich and famous in a small restaurant nearby. This will be our main meal of the day. It is good to get a taste of fish for a change. We leave the staff happy with our compliments and gratuity.
It has been a great outing but time to head back to our accommodation. To exit the carpark you need to enter your car registration number into a machine. The amount owed is displayed. You
Fontana di Artemide
pay the money and walk away. Hopefully when we get to the exit the camera understands our red number plate. We find the car still in its shady spot. We head for the exit with a little concern. This proves to be unfounded. As we approach the barrier behind two other cars we wait our turn. It takes an age for their number plates to be read. The barrier has hardly lowered when it is on its way up again. A very speedy exit. Perhaps having a different number plate from everyone else helps, sometimes. We do see on occasions people stopping and staring at our flash sporty car with the red number plate, or is it the rich and famous inside the car they are looking at. We’ll never know.
The drive back is uneventful. We stop briefly to purchase ingredients for a light meal tonight. We arrive home to find the washing well and truly dry. The cold beer and nibbles go down a treat. The only downside of the day is the Internet has stopped working. Perhaps we have used up our allowance, who knows. It means there’ll be no Skyping to family back home.
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