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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 21, 2014

Sunday - and it's Tuesday morning

I forgot to put in these first two pictures from my Saturday adventures.  I decided I wanted to take a walk after dinner and went down to the "shopping street" which in the daytime is where I went to see Apollo's Temple and the open-air market.  I figured things would be quiet...I was very wrong.  It was way more crowded than it had been in the morning!  Everyone out enjoying the evening.  And as I passed through groups of people, I heard very little, if any, foreign languages (including English) being spoken.  It was nearly all Italian. So I think I got my first experience of what the guidebooks call "the passiegetta except that's probably spelled incorrectly.  It's where everyone goes out to an apparently pre-ordained section of the city, town, village, wherever and walks around greeting friends, getting coffees and treats and such.  It was pretty wonderful.

My dinner (second picture) was a way too large helping of spaghetti alla Siracusana which means the sauce was tomato based and had toasted bread crumbs, anchovies, pine nuts and raisins!  It was very tasty - the sweet raisins with the salty anchovies was a great combination and the anchovies were chopped fairly small.  Even when there were bigger pieces it wasn't nasty at all, just a little chewy.

 So, onto Sunday where apparently the beautiful morning was a perfect one for sailing!

My first order of business was to walk up to Piazza Archimede because I was told that I would find an ATM there.  Apparently they are few and far between here.  And there it was and I got some cash so I could breathe a little easier.  The Piazza is really beautiful with a huge fountain which my book tells me shows the river nymph Arethusa being transformed into a spring. That was a little too brief for me so  I Googled it and will give you the short version.  Arethusa was fleeing from a very ardent pursuer, the river god Alpheius, and she asked Artemis to protect her.   "Artemis transformed Arethusa into a spring that flowed beneath the Ionian Sea to emerge on the island of Ortygia in the Sicilian city of Siracusa where the same spring can still be visited today." However I also read that Alpheius pursued her underground to Ortigia and (this is always in quotes) "mingled his waters with hers".  Hmmmm...and you saw the result in Saturday's post when I was lost and game across the statue and pool. 

The standing up woman would be Artemis and the sliding into the pool one would be Arethusa probably wishing she wasn't so incredibly alluring!
I've seen a fair number of buildings with dried bits of vegetation growing in various little crannies.
This was in the window of one of the several cafes that border the Piazza Archimede.
And so was this. :)  I felt kind of guilty because she was such a happy little thing and when I asked her grandpa if I could take her picture she decided she just didn't know about that.  But I took it anyway, cause just look at that little outfit with her pretty new blue shoes to match!  That's probably why she was looking leery - she sure was better dressed than I was. :)
Image result for sicily flagI was now headed down the street towards my next stop, Ortigia's duomo.  This street is a very artisan-shop type street so was quite enjoyable.  I was really tickled with this wheelbarrow and wondered about the three legs.  I later discovered that it is probably a tongue-in-cheek of the symbol found on the Sicilian flag called a triskelion.  Once I had seen this I started seeing the actual symbol on all sorts of tourist things like postcards and such. And here it is.

I loved this shopfront also.  Went into this one and it just had all sorts of fun stuff.

So following the suggested route, you arrive at the back end of the cathedral (which my pitiful guidebook doesn't even name).  The building started out as a temple to Athena and the builders were very wise I think to leave the columns showing.  They only left one actually open but you can see them marching down these two side walls both outside and inside.  I counted and think I remember counting 8 on each side.
A little building attached to the cathedral but I don't know it's connection.
There are lots of cats in Ortigia!
Here's the exposed column...
and two very happy sweeties...
Some very lovely buildings around the Piazza del Duomo which t book says is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Sicily.  And it was lovely - very large and not actually square - it just sort of spread out all over.

And here's the front.  Very different from "my" Duomo but quite beautiful.  It's much more baroque because that was the last of its several lives, starting with the Greek temple.

The main door
The two columns were beautiful.
How it got to where it is today, ending before the baroque facade was accomplished.  The next two photos were interesting - the first one is the footprint of the cathedral with a color code that is explained in the second picture.

A section of the floor.  Further up the sanctuary, there was one circle different from all the rest, but I was unable to get a picture of it because the sanctuary started filling up for a service.
The altar and choirs
Beautiful paintings on either side.
The bones of someone - this was one of two in one of the side chapels. 
This is one of only a few windows of stained glass in the building.  This one is over the altar and I had to set the camera really dark to finally get it to show up.
Stairs up to the pulpit - there was another pulpit, same as this one, on the other side.  You can see the congregation gathering.  By this time, there was a man up front playing the guitar and singing which was pleasant and different.
Columns from the inside...
Another side chapel
I liked the red door
and the service has started so after a bit of listening, I went on my way.  There was a hymn everyone sang that was accompanied by the guitar and all the responsives were sung and accompanied by the guitar, so quite a modern service.
This is another church at one end of the Piazza Duomo - the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia who is the patron saint of Sicily.  Its main claim to fame is the artist Caravaggio's painting of the Burial of St. Lucy painted in 1608.  There were no photos allowed but it is installed as the altar backdrop.
And this building really intrigued me - it has a lot of the dead plant stuff going on but I couldn't decide if the fairly elaborate steel work was to hold the building together or actually for some kind of decor.
There was one more small church in that vicinity that I stepped into and admired this very simple ceiling adornment.
And two lazy cats...
and a treat for me.
Looks like Ortigia has its own flatiron buiding, so in your face NYC!
Start with water, end with water.  And my gosh, I'm just behind one day now.  Although by the time I get back this evening, it will basically be two days. 


Christopher said...

Looks like you covered quite a bit of territory… I'm really enjoying all the Baroque architecture! So different from Florence, and so beautiful in that bright sun! (And it looks like they have a lot of beautiful wrought iron throughout the city?) How neat to see that one Cathedral, which incorporated the ancient ruins directly into the walls… And I'm glad you're keeping the daily gelato tradition alive :-)

Chinch said...

Love all these pics and look forward to discussing them all in person some fine day. And wow, would I ever love to share those oversized portions at the restaurants with you -- the pizza and the spaghetti both look super yummy. Company arriving today thru Saturday so I'll probably get behind again but I'm sure enjoying your travels. xoxo

January said...

Kind of weird to have a temple to Athena now be a church, but better than letting it crumble, I suppose! It looks like you are getting around all over, which is nice. And as hot as it is, it's not too surprising that most folks go out in the evening! Maybe you should start being a night owl and go hang out with the locals :)

Mary Lynne said...

Yes, and before it became a Catholic church, it was a Byzantine church(?) Did they have churches or temples or mosques or??? Anyhow, whatever they had, it was.

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