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Published: September 30th 2017
Walking Ortigia's perimeter.
Geo: 36.6185, 14.9894
I killed time until the bus to Siracusa. I traveled with the girls that I kept running into last night (Jill - Ohio, Sheree and Maryam - both from California). All three are doing their master's degrees (international relations) in Bologna this year.
I sat around the hostel for a bit and then we all sat and had coffee (and an arancini for me - the "breakfast of champions", as Sheree put it) at the bus station waiting for it to depart. We changed buses in Catania - it didn't look very nice. Perhaps I won't stop there later on when I go to Agrigento.
Grabbed a coke and a ham/cheese panini. I never understand this - it's already been grilled but when they sell it they grill it again, drying it out. Why not just wait until somebody buys it before grilling it?
Siracusa - very nice architecture. It's a very neat place - I like it very much as it is quite charming. I am so glad I met up with these girls - we ended up grabbing a quad room at a B&B for only 25 euros per person in Ortigia (not sure if it's a part of
Jill (left) and Sheree (right) dipping their toes in the surf.
Siracusa or a separate town, but it's a tiny little peninsula jutting out into the sea) . On my own I would've spent at least 35-45 euros for a crappy single somewhere. But I am spoiled now! I can't go back to hostels! It was a great little B&B.
Maryam stuck around the B&B to shower and chill out while the rest of us went for a walk. Through the town and down to the water where we had really good almond (mandorla) granita. You wouldn't think it would be tasty and refreshing but it was absolutely great. Jill fell in love with it. I think she will name her first born child "Mandorla" and her second born "Granita". We walked around Ortigia's perimeter - the waves were incredibly powerful. You could feel each impact ... like a boxer absorbing a massive body blow.
It reminded me of when I was little and read "Ulysses" - the imagery of the waves of Siracusa perfectly matched what I had imagined as a child. Off to Siracusa proper. We walked to the Greek theatre but it was closed. Back to Ortigia to meet Maryam for dinner ... but first, we grabbed another
I love the rays of light breaking through the clouds in this picture. Almost transcendent!
granita. Jill is becoming increasingly obsessed with mandorla, like a crack addict!
Dinner - had an incredible squid ink panzerotti. It looked like crap slathered in tar - revolting, actually. But the taste ... amazing! They were like oval shaped ravioli covered in the divinest of sauces. My main was breaded and grilled swordfish. It was a small portion and was a little dry. But still, it was the second best swordfish I've ever had.
The best? I tried some of Maryam's - prepared in a sauce with cherry tomatoes. Incredible! And this is coming from a man who has never been a swordfish fan. My tomato salad provided a nice balance to the richness of the meal. And we washed it all down with a nice red wine and tons of bread.
Afterward, we stumbled around town 1/2 drunk and giggling (at least, I was). We went back to the second granita place we went to - Gelateria Bianca. Jill had a third mandorla granita. Maryam had ricotta and mandorla gelato - the exact flavours that I would've gotten! Both were incredible but the ricotta was unexpectedly good, with some chocolate chips sprinkled in it. After trying hers I
Down in the pond was dinner waiting to happen.
almost got one for myself - unfortunately, the six or so pieces of bread I ate were not co-operating with me.
I was totally over budget for food today, but it is nice to do once in a while. I also justify it with the fact that I have been very cheap with myself for the first half of the trip. Time to live it up a little bit, I think.
Back to the B&B, where we all passed out fairly quickly. I suspect that Jill was dreaming about mandorla - I heard slurping noises from somewhere in the room all night long.
It was a long day, but a good one. Siracusa is a city of contrasts - the new town versus the old town. The extremely friendly and the extremely rude people we met - the gelato vendors were rude to Jill, almost the way drug dealers treat their junkies who HAVE to keep coming back for more. Also, Sheree slightly got in the way of a guy at a bakery and he just stood there glaring at her. But it's alright - we all still loved the city and especially the gelati and granite!
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