Catania, September 22-24
Hot, first impression off the plane. Got off at the wrong bus stop, trudged with bags through a funky part of town, and up steep streets (so that’s why it’s called lug-gage!) until we found our “hidden gem”, Crociferi B&B, where we promptly had tea, showers, and Larry napped. I had been feeling the strain of the heat, the teary frustration of not being able to get to the place without taxing him, so it was a big relief. Remember: take taxis in a difficult situation!
After a couple of hours of rest, we headed downstairs to the neighbor restaurant, La Deliziosa, which was indeed. Two women cooked in a very small kitchen (two burners!), another worked the front (reminded us of Neens), and never stopped moving. We split a creamy mushroom pasta dish, and a thin piece of swordfish with a crust of Mediterranean spices, along with a fresh tomato salad. For dessert, a kind of crême caramel. A big glass of white and some Moscato, and I needed a walk to clear my head.
We headed down Crociferi the Way We Should Have Come Up, past a bunch of Baroque buildings, some churches, some no longer. People eating out everywhere. Piazza Mazzini is especially lovely in its symmetry, bordered by four identical pinkish buildings with concave circular fronts, which form four quarter circles on the piazza. Three of these were full of diners, families with small children, everyone having a great time. It was eleven at night.
As we made our way back to our room, fireworks popped in the neighborhood.
Monday, September 23
At 6:30, the street was quiet, a few people making their way with phones on. Now the sounds of setting up shop, work, climb in through the balcony doors. For a hidden street, there’s enough traffic. The sky portends a hot day in the lower nineties. We will walk around town, and mind the heat.
Eating breakfast with complete strangers is a little awkward, but we managed, and overcame our language differences, with mixture of French and English. Sorry, no pictures at the table.
As soon as we got it together, we headed to the fish market, passing through the food market.
The fish market is raucous, smelly, gory; though dead, the fish are beautiful.
We passed into this garden for a bit of quiet.
Onto the Duomo, looking out onto the city and beyond to Etna.
Into the Palazzo Biscari, a quick look at a few rooms and the odd aesthetics of 16th century aristocracy.
By this time we were minding the heat very much, thank you, so we retreated into our room, nodding off until we thought it would be cooler, but it wasn’t really, so we sat in the shade and ate this calzone-y dish, read, and drew until we were ready to visit the local amphitheater, Greek and then Roman, and still used today.
Gelato at last!
Dinner at Antica Marina. I keep forgetting to take pictures of the food, but here’s what’s left of that meal:
Tango dancers in the square tonight. Buona notte!
A walk for stamps, money, a knife. Post Office overcrowded, no knives in the street market (duh), but the bank delivered. 1 out of 3. But wait, we’re in the fabric and notions district, great pictures! (2 out of 4).
And we climbed the stairs back to our street (3 out 5!).
Off to the rental car place, no need to bore anyone with that game, but the building was cool, with this exhibit on the Trump/Kim media show.
Made it out of the city on the first try, Larry’s expert driving and my navigating. Sicilian traffic and driving is about the flow, and they only honk when the flow stops, and then EVERYBODY honks!