Never, ever, ever come to Sicily in early to mid October. I mean, maybe this is freakishly hot weather but what if it isn't? What if it's always like this this time of year? I'm dying here...
Anyway, aside from dying, yesterday I decided I would go to the Parco Archielogico or however they say it and I'm too comfortable right now to get my map that would tell me. This is where he pride of Siracusa's Greek and Roman ruins are to be found. And I'll just say right up front, overall I wasn't real impressed. First I'll tell you why by the time I saw anything, I wasn't in the mood to be impressed and even though by the end of the outing and especially after getting back here, taking a shower, getting a good dinner and wine(!), I typed this up yesterday in my phone while sitting in the shade after I finally got into the park (which was a feat in itself!) so that I could also post it as a review on Trip Advisor. I started off fine - had to cross the bridge into Siracusa got myself to where you turn in to get to the entrance of the park and get a ticket and that's where the anger started to build. My review follows which doesn't even begin to give all the aggravating details of getting in, getting the ticket, then finding my way to any ruin mentioned on my guidebook map.
Park BIG disappointment mainly because of lack of a decent map and
almost non existent signage. I saw (after asking) one sign for Greek
theater after I had already passed the little path you had to get onto to see the sign.. Dionysius' ear was up above the theater but the first sign I saw for ear was
before any sign for the theater and had an arrow pointing away from theater.
Those were the only signs I saw except for signs for Archcimede's "tomba". My guidebook map had a circular route in which you were to see five sites. The only two I KNOW I saw are Theater Greco and the ear. I
probably saw Latina del paradiso but with no sign who knows. I also
apparently passed another of the five without knowing it although the book
says it's closed indefinitely anyway. There are four more sites in the park not on
book route one being tomb of Archimede. May try to find that although I
do wonder how they know it's his. Save your 10E for a couple glasses of
wine and hope that a visit to Agrigento will be a whole lot better.
After listening to my rant, I'll show you a couple of pictures I took on my way there. I walked from the hotel in Ortigia to the park in Siracusa - I would say probably about a mile and a half or more by the time I backtracked a bit a time or two. But that was okay - I was up for it then.
I took another picture of Apollo's Temple from a different side and it looks more like the ruin of something now, I think.
Also, and this isn't the park's fault, when you're viewing
the Greek theater, there is no way to avoid being in the sun - that
constantly burning, heating, blinding sun. But I did see the Greek
theater and Dionysius ear (because it's a cave that looks like an ear on
its side and apparently Dionysius kept prisoners in small caves on
either side of it and some strange acoustical phenomenon enabled him to
hear what they were saying. .
And here's a picture of a cactus what am a cactus. I was really impressed with its size and also wonder why cactuses grow here - granted it sure is hot and sunny enough, but it's not the desert and I would think especially at the higher elevations where this cactus was, winters are probably fairly chilly. It doesn't look really healthy - maybe they just cling stubbornly to life.
Aside from pictures of the tree to top all trees, I only took this one lonely picture as I followed the
plethora of signs to Archimede's tomb.
The trek to the tomb finally became kind of
hilarious, because after no signs to speak of anywhere, every
turn (or even curve) you came to on this path now had a
sign with an arrow "Archimede's Tomba". And underneath those signs began to
also appear exit signs and I thought to myself "they're herding everyone
to an exit by using the tomba as a carrot. I can't guess how long a
walk it was except it was long. But it was mostly shade, I had stopped
trying to figure out if I was looking at something that mattered and I
was on my way out so I was a pretty happy camper. But sure enough, when you do finally get there, there is a man who, if you're English-speaking,
points out what I had already assumed was the tomb and says as he
shrugs his shoulders "maybe" and grins. I just grinned back and said
"exactly" and we chuckled. Although an Italian couple
who arrived when I did got a long, intricately involved speech from him
and it would have been interesting to know what they heard that I
didn't.Now you get to see tomb too.
And I almost forgot my unforgettable dinner. I went to Caravaggio's again because I had seen their blackboard with the special on it when I walked back to the hotel. I got myself showered and cooled down and went back and had a succulent plate of caponata. And I looked that up on Wiki to see what they say about it and right away they say it's a Sicilian dish featuring eggplant but can have numerous variations. Mine had the eggplant, zucchini, a little bit of carrot and celery, sweet red pepper, small pieces of swordfish and really delicious small chunks of potato that had soaked up whatever wonderful things the dish was seasoned with.
The aroma when he brought it to the table was incredible.and, again, it arrived steaming hot. I about made myself sick but I cleaned my plate even to mopping it up with a little piece of bread. That's where I had the delicious pizza. I feel sorry for them because it's never very full at all when I've been there and catty-corner across the street from them is the place where I had the plateful of spaghetti with anchovies, pine nuts and raisins and it was certainly quite good and tasty but I haven't and won't be going back there because their service bordered on rude mainly because there was just no contact between them and me. The main guy (the owner probably) never spoke to me from seating through paying. When I paid, he turned away to run the card, turned back sliding a pen and the ticket across to me, took them back when I was done and never said a word the whole time. I stood and waited and when he finally turned partially around I did like we sometimes do in America and said "prego" which is thank you, meaning "you were supposed to say grazie you nerd" and he grunted something that wasn't grazie. But they're always filled up, so go figure. Anyway, I'm going to try and remember caponata when I get home. Although I imagine all his ingredients were fresh from the market down the street...
- Mary Lynne
- West Virginia
- 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.