Thursday 17 September 2015

We had in fact left Gatwick on the Wednesday evening but late as the British Airways plane had not arrived on time.  Indeed we had the usual denial of any delays but the give away is when you are told that the gate information will not be provided until about 5 minutes prior to planned departure.  So why not an apology alternating with the delay rather than complete denial.  None of us are really that stupid any longer.

The stupid people are the baggage handlers who, because of the delay, must have decided to leave the luggage in the open whilst it is raining. We are not too badly affected we find on opening our cases – we identify the wet items and make use of the hair dryer to dry out the worst items.

Our tour guide for the week had met us at Catania airport and Salvatore took us down the motorway to Syracuse for our first night – which was much shorter than planned due to the delayed arrival and the time spent drying clothes on arrival.

The photos of Syracuse are to be found here.

The day is warm and sunny and first we go on a walking tour around the oldest part of the city before going to the Archealogical Park where some of the earliest Greek remains are to be found.  The Greeks dug into the side of the hills to remove the stone needed for construction and left the ground above.  However an earthquake later brought down the remaining supports; there is evidence of one support standing with walls of a farmhouse still visible.

This tour was chosen as it is packed and after our first Granita we head inland to Noto (photos here) which was destroyed by earthquake and rebuilt in baroque style in the eighteenth century.  Lunch here provides a first real taste of the Sicilian palate before reboarding the coach and wending our way (via Modica – no stop) to the hillside town of Ragusa, where the old town is famous as housing the tv version of the hq of Inspector Montalbano and some of the surrounding streets seem familiar from the programmes.

We visit the old town (it was there first but due to an earthquake the buildings are a similar age to the new town) and there are photos to be found here.

Dinner in a local restaurant – this meal is included in the tour, as indeed was one each day – was also good local food as we have our first introduction to anti-pasto.