Road trip with our sailing neighbours.

170719 6 Syracuse Where are we Andrew Francoise and Corinne

Navigating on land with sailing friends 

170719 2 Heading off to Syracuse hillside town

With the departure of Scott and Bek back to Australia we took the opportunity to catch up on boat and paperwork in the very empty, but impressive new marina of Capo Di Orlando. We were still in the company, for the first few days, of Francoise and Corinne of Paradigme. Together it was decided to take the opportunity for a road trip to the south east of the island to the town of Syracuse, as neither boat was intending to visit that harbour this season. 

170719 1 Heading off to Syracuse first glimpse of Mt Etna170719 8 Syracuse Shoreline170719 28 Syracuse Plaza Duoma by night

Wednesday 19th  July we headed off in our Fiat 500CC, with its glass top roof that was extremely good at radiating heat inwards, a particularly handy feature when travelling in an area that is suffering from a heat wave. Lets one have the total experience whilst driving! We chose to drive inland first along the western boundary of Parc Dell Etna through the smaller towns of Bronte and Adrano. An interesting drive with a great view of Mt Etna, though the twisting ascents and descents kept Corinne concentrating on not being car sick and would ensure we took the straighter coastal highway back on our return. 

The old town of Syracuse that sits on the island of Ortygia was the last bastion in Sicily to fall to the Romans. The town we discovered was also where the famous mathematician Archimedes was born and ultimately where he died in the fierce battle that took place in 212BC when the town was taken by the Romans. On the outskirts of the town sits the Neapolis archaeological park where a 16000 capacity Greek theatre was built in the 5th Century BC, a testimony to the importance and wealth of this city at its peak. We spent the afternoon and evening meandering along the waterfront, along alleyways appreciating the architecture, ancient ruins, food and people. The highlight at night was the Piazza del Duomo, a pedestrian square that was buzzing with people young and old, all overlooked by the Senators Palace (now the city hall), Palace Benventano del Bosco, Episcopal Palace, both from the 1600’s and the impressive Syracuse Cathedral. The cathedral began its life in the 5th Century BC as the Temple of Athena and it was around the columns of this temple that the cathedral was built. The facade suffered damage in 1693 earthquakes and was rebuilt in the 1700’s but the “new” exterior simply adds to its impressive and dominating position in the Piazza.

Syracuse Cathedral 

Market Syracuse

170720 3 Syracuse Market Corinne

Next morning before heading out we stopped at the local market. It would have to be the most impressive food market that we have come across this year outside of France. The seafood was amazing, the vongole (pippies) were still squirting in protest in their buckets. The fresh produce beautifully presented and oh so fresh. Not to mention spices of all varieties alongside dried fruit and nuts. If only we did not have such a long hot drive back to the boat we would have been gleefully shopping. 

Cathedral Noto

170720 15 Noto Sicilian Cart170720 17 Taormina beautiful but mad with tourists170723 3 Francois Corinne Lee and Andrew Capo Di Orlando Sicily

Though a little out of the way we opted for our morning gelato at the town of Noto a 36km drive further south. What a beautiful town this turned out to be. The town was largely rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake and so has become a UNESCO world heritage listed time capsule of Baroque style buildings. The cathedral has been completely restored after its dome collapsed in 1996 and is one of several striking buildings that we passed as we wandered the length of what we think was the main street. 

Returning back to Cap Di Orlando we attempted to call into the town of Taormina but the onset of holidays had brought a crowd of people to this area that were to say the least very defensive about car parking spaces so we moved on and found  a quiet cafe in the town of Naxos for lunch. The impact of the crowds and cars could not detract from the beauty of this part of the coastline. 

Finally back in the marina it was time for us to prepare for the arrival of our next guests whilst Francoise and Corinne prepared to continue their journey to Greece. Here our boats were parting ways. It was very special to have been able to cruise with them from Scario in Italy, through the Aeolian Islands and to land tour a little piece of Sicily. We look forward to the next time Paradigme and Katherine are sailing together in the same waters. 

Somewhere someday. 

(For more photos click this link)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain