Monday, December 22, 2014
A gorgeous morning in Erice meant it was the perfect time to walk to the Spanish Quarter and take a gander at the views from the castle. Good start to the day!
Today was the longest drive as we went from the western part of Sicily all the way to the eastern part. To break up the monotony, we stopped at the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento. It was a boiling hot day - I'm so glad we took the taxi from the parking lot at the bottom of the valley up to the top - that way we could just slowly walk through the park, stare at all the ruins, and then end up at the car. If you're a temple geek, this is the place for you - so many temples, so much history.
We also stopped in a beautiful little town called Noto, known for its particularly good examples of Baroque architecture.
But finally, finally we arrived in Syracuse (Siracusa). We found a spot to park in, and went to find a cafe to meet our AirBnB host in. We ended up at Caffe Apollo, since it was close to where our host wanted to find us, and sat down to get a couple of drinks. Service was slow, but the waitress eventually took our order. When she came back with our drinks and bill, I decided to pay right then in case it took a while, so I handed her a 50 euro note to break it. We then waited for her to come back with change, and after a while it became apparent she was not coming back. We flagged her down and she then tried to pretend like we hadn't given her any money at all - I was getting pretty irritated by this charade and as we got more and more agitated she then started saying that maybe we just gave her a 20. In a stroke of luck, our AirBnB host showed up right then, said hello, and then asked us what the problem was - when we described to her what was happening, she burst into Italian at the waitress, who then quickly hurried off and came back with our change. This confirmed our worries that the waitress was trying to cheat us - I'm not sure how this would have ended had we not had our host there to argue for us - but it was really upsetting and such a stupid thing for her to do.
Our host, of course, was as lovely and charming as the waitress wasn't. She and her partner took us on a walking tour of Ortygia, pointing out shops and restaurants they recommended. The location of the AirBnB was perfect as well - right next to the Duomo. A and I were keen to go have a drink and meal to wipe out the cafe memory so after a quick look around we stopped at La volpe e l'uva - a restaurant in the piazza right in front of the Duomo. The view was incredible, and the warm evening, wine and food was the best antidote for our earlier frustration.
After a pizza that we couldn't stop devouring and some linguine with clams that were exactly what I needed, plus a carafe of red wine, we were stuffed and relaxed again, watching a guitarist play in front of the Duomo. It was such a beautiful evening we decided to explore a bit.
Which is how we ended up at a little cafe in front of yet another stunning fountain, drinking limoncellos.