Chapter 24: Syracuse- A Greek tragedy and the mines of Moria

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February 25th 2004
Published: November 2nd 2006
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Chapter 24

A Greek tragedy and the mines of Moria

They arose at a reasonable time and headed for the archaeology park about twenty minutes walk from the town (having bought another map and consumed breakfast). A section of the park, right next to the athletics track, was a Greek amphitheatre. Set in well-kept grounds, the theatre lay in front of them. A cosy well-preserved theatre dug from the rock arose from the stage, with steps rising up onto a hill. At the top of the hill, small caves and a natural spring provided the backdrop. An excellent place to visit, though not quite on the scale of the Coliseum, more a second division kind of ground.

Around the theatre, the Greeks must have had an incredible view of the Naxos sea. Unfortunately nowadays, the view was now interrupted by high modern buildings which formed the town of Syracuse. Near the theatre there was a huge cave whose entrance was in the shape of an ear, the mines of Moria (Once again read Lord of the Rings for reference). Legend has it that people were imprisoned here by a goddess. The entrance was vast and the acoustics were incredible. Inside it was pitch black except for a very small gap at the top of the sheer face where the goddess used to listen to her prisoners. Two women were singing in harmony which the cave transformed into an orchestral chant. A must visit in Syracuse.

Unfortunately the other caves were closed. The roman ruins and church were also not open to the public due to reconstruction work. They headed for some more catacombs which much to Martin’s pleasure were also off limits. The huge cathedral shaped like a wigwam was open however, and was very similar to the one in Liverpool. Sanctuary Madonna della Lacrime is a huge concrete cone church built as a result of a mass-produced Madonna statue that cried in 1954. It occupies a vast area but could not have impressed the Lord like the churches of old. Syracuse’s new town is really just a mishmash of 1960’s monstrosities and the occasional ruin here and there.

They headed back to Ortygia where they found a superb internet place where they burned a cd of the first lot of photos (4 euros) and then downloaded them to a photo site on the net so all their friends could access them. And it worked! (the marvel of technology). After the wonders of the internet, it was time to check the wonders of washing machine as it was high time, their socks were becoming mini bio-parks. After the washing they headed back to the same restaurant where Maya had a tomato based starter, whereas Martin had the same as the day before.

Maya this time however went for the salmon pasta as her main. Once more with a litre of red wine, and the lemon liqueurs, the grandmother wrote the price on the table cloth, 20 euros! They didn’t have any change for tips, so they bought two cans of coke in order to obtain change. However as the establishment were unable to break a 20 euro note, they gave our two the cans for free. What a fabulous host! They felt bad but impressed by the generosity of the people of Ortygia. Highlight: Amphitheatre & Caves Accomodation: Adequate 50 euros per night

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