Saturday, 10 January 2015
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Just a one hour bus trip from the marina in Licata, Agrigento is the regional capital and the jumping off point to tour the Valli di Templi, Sicily’s best preserved Greco-Roman site. We stayed in a great little place called B&B Rabate, which is just outside the old hilltop town and has a fine view over the valley and a beautiful old church just opposite. Francesca the proprietor clearly loves her town and Sicily, and is very helpful with ideas for things to see, places to go and great restaurants to visit. She speaks only a little English, but our Italian is improving and we find the Sicilian people so expressive that it’s usually easy to pick up what they mean. Comfortable bed, good shower, everything very clean, nice breakfast – a fine place to stay if you’re in this part of the world!
and a great restaurant called Osteria ExPanificio.
For Christine’s benefit, this is what we had:-
We took the local bus out to Port Empedocle, home of the dramatist Pirandello and also Andrea Cammilleri, author of the Montalbano novels. We established that he is alive and well, residing in Rome, that another Montalbano book (about number 18) is about to come out in English and that a statue of the famous Sicilian detective is about to be re-erected in Via Roma, the main street when new paving is completed.
Thursday, 6 November 2014
|Marina di Cala del Sole|
|One of the famous sunsets, after which the Marina is named|
|Grotesques on the façade of the bank|
|Deli counter in an ordinary supermarket (Antonio is Terry's best friend in Sicily!)|
|Peppe prepares dessert|
The weather is beautiful, the food is sensational, the company is good, the boat is safe. Next week we will do a bit of travelling around the local area. There are good vineyards in the hills, and much to see in Ragusa and Agrigento. Not to be missed, of course, is Montalbano’s villa – I hope it will stay warm enough to do the morning swim!
|Cruising crew celebrate Hallowe'en (the local kids have learnt that boats are a good bet for Trick or treat!)|
Sunday, 26 October 2014
We were going to stay until Saturday, as it's a nice town to be in, even if half-closed as all the tourists have gone home. The town is famous for its many mansions, as the holiday makers in this part of the world were not dissimilar to the inhabitants of the Hamptons etc. They competed for the best architects and the best designs.
With its own Cabana (there are a couple more with these as well, plus many not on the beach with their own guardhouses)
Forecast was bullshit as usual. Friday night turned into the voyage from hell. Instead of 4-8 knot winds drifting lazily from all parts of the compass, we had 28-40 knot Westerly winds for hour after hour, side on. The seas built and we got hammered and hammered. Carol was still sick for two days from it. That’s what you get for producing weather forecasts with computers and sidelining the people who used to do it.
The next day was better, but we got invaded by thousands upon thousands of some kind of fly. Not normal ones. Didn't respond to fly spray or surface spray, so I connected up the hose that washes the anchor to another hose and we washed them off. They were on everything. I think they got blown offshore in a swarm and just happened to find a boat to land on. Luckily, they weren't bitey ones.
Things quietened down a little after that and we motorsailed lazily along recovering from the beating of the night before.
There may be no wind, there may be too much wind, but there is rarely nothing going on out here.
Finally we were clear of them and I tried to sleep. No luck, as the radio piped up with "Common Sense, Common Sense, Common Sense, this is Italian Warship “Mars something”. Perhaps it was the Maestrale?. Not big enough for a Destroyer, too big for a PB, too dark to get a good look.
Finally we arrived in Porto Paolo, where we anchored last year (Porto Paolo with a Koala Bar!) As usual, the Admiral’s straight over the side for a swim and I was straight into the bunk for a catch up on sleep.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
So, back on the tren to Brinsisi, then on to Lecce. Kim had a bit of a kip while I chatted to a Pakistani-Italian jeweller called Mario/Muhammed, who suggested a few places of interest in Lecce (including, of course, his shop). The old town of Lecce was quite attractive, though it was the depths of siesta-time and not a lot was happening anywhere. We eventually found our way to the famous Baroque cathedrale, taking directions from several people, including a tribe of kids who took great delight in escorting us personally to the site. The cathedrale is the very definition of Baroque, with all sorts of bizarre creatures cavorting alongside solemn popes, saints and archbishops around its facade. Grimaldi described it as a “lunatic stonemason having a nightmare” – harsh, but you can see what he means! A quick prayer, a look around the creepy crypt and we were back on the street seeking directions to the stazione. “Dritto, dritto, dritto to arco, then poco, poco destra to semaphora, sinistra to stazione” accompanied by flamboyant gestures and mimes. Yep, we’ve got it, grazie!
Monday, 13 October 2014
We also took a tour to see the fascinating ‘cave city’ of Matera, once the ‘shame of Italy’ for its terrible poverty and mortality rates, now a site for tourism and movie sets. Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ was filmed there, and a Ninja movie was in progress while we visited.