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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 23, 2014

Wednesday -not too much sightseeing and still hot

I had thought that Wednesday I would go back over to Siracusa to visit the archeological museum that has quite a high reputation - my book said "probably the best in Italy".  So, once again, I headed off to go over the bridge and saw this beautiful tall ship with a man actually going up the rigging.  However, I see that nowadays that is done with some kind of motorized method cause he basically sat and held on til it took him to where he needed to be.  And I've done another "original size" one cause then you can find him right above the first spar on the first mass.

 And the next two photos were in Siracusa and I took them to show how nice the buildings look after they've been renovated - smooth and clean, new windows and doors, new balcony railings, just very nice.  Later on in this post I'll show some buildings that really need renovated.

 And that's about as far as I got in Siracusa.  It was getting hot and as explained in my "confession" post, I was losing heart a little bit and just didn't feel like making the trek.  I noticed a flower shop place across the street and walked across and picked out a pretty live plan for Lucia, the girl who was at the front desk when I came flying back into the hotel on Monday to report my purse had been stolen.  She was so gentle with me in addition to being as helpful as she could be.  And when I reported later that I had found my purse, she came around from the desk to give me a big hug.  So I had been pondering what I could do nice for her and a plant seemed like a good plan,.  It was kind of a hoot in the shop because it was a man and wife and the whole time the man was getting it wrapped, bowed, tagged, bagged, the woman insisted on trying to communicate with me which was friendly but I simply had no real idea what she was ever saying.  She mentioned Miami after I mentioned the heat and like Florida and at one point made it sound like she had been there, or owned a small hotel there or something.  But we did a lot of smiling at each other and were both satisfied when it was all over. The bag got pretty wet on the bottom so it was an awkward walk back and hot (have I mentioned that?)  But when I got into the hotel and gave it to her saying how much I appreciated her on Monday, she started crying and came around and gave me another big hug.  Turned out it was also her last day so I'm sure she was already pretty emotional.

Walking back to the bridge, I passed a nice looking gelato shop had a delicious small cup.  Their gelato I think is somewhat different than in Florence but this was delicious and the man there was friendly and I always appreciate that.

So I got back to Ortigia and really was getting hungry by then and started looking for somewhere to have a sandwich and chips.  They don't have the many, many cafe type places that the mainland cities I've been to have - they seem to be more the restaurant type.  I found one that was crammed with people and found a side entrance so went in and asked about a sandwich and she said not today cause they were having a special event.  I asked if she could tell me where I might find one and she directed me to a grocery store where I could order a sandwich.  She said there would be a place to sit too and she was right - here it is.  I had a porchetta sandwich but, alas, no chips.  And the sandwich was quite tasty but could have been toasted a little less.  No wine so I had my first ever Coke NetZero and it was nice and cold so that was good.  
After that I walked down to the waterfront to head back to the hotel and, of course took pictures.  People were swimming again today and things were very calm.
Walking on I came across this scene and thought "duh, duh DUH!"  Was it a mafia hit?  Did someone do it on purpose?  Was it an accident?  Who knows but if was an accident and one car caught the other one on fire and burned the side of the white van and a large portion of the building front, one can only hope the owner has decent insurance!   I'm typing this Thursday and today when I walked, the cars were gone so it must have happened during the night.
 And I know I posted a picture of this early on in my Ortigia posts but it was so nice taking pictures Wednesday without having the sun wash everything out that I took another one.  Cats seem to be everywhere and the person who owns this place sure loves them.
 Even two little white sculptures of cats on the balcony.
Once I got down to my hotel area, I didn't feel like going in so I decided to walk along the waterfront in the other direction and see what the big round thing is that always is blinding white in the morning pictures I take of the sea.  It is just a big round thing that you can walk up some stairs to and then walk along a big open area looking at the water I guess.  Sort of like the one that's over the area where the people were swimming but here there is nowhere to swim.

This walk took me to a pretty seedy-seeming part of town so this is where I took pictures of a couple of real fixer-uppers.  Always makes me think way back to when my first husband and I and another couple were looking for a house to buy in the country that we could share.  In one we looked at, we were upstairs and when the other husband walked across the room (he was a big man), everything kind of moved.  We said something about that and the realtor said "oh, all it's going to need is a few nails and a little paint".  That became a favorite saying of ours as we fixed up the fixer-upper we did buy.
 So, kids (and big sis) don't you think this is what we should do?  Get something like this and fix it up?  Of course, they don't have for sale signs on them, so I suppose someone lives in them and has no desire to sell.
And I didn't have dinner Wednesday night.  That sandwich stayed right with me although by the time I went to sleep, I was feeling a little peckish.  I'm just going to post two more pictures here - I found this print in our hotel - it's the hotel as it was when it was given to the Ursuline Sisters who now own it along with another building across the street.  And the second one is a picture I took this morning of the front of the building now although I was too far away for the nice automatic glass door to show up.

 Still very plain, but clean and nice.  And after all, they are nuns.

I think I may go in search of something to eat and then pretty much finish packing (this being Thursday even though I'm reporting on Wednesday)


Christopher said...

That is quite a ship... I wonder if it is a rental for party groups / long cruises, or a private yacht... And yes, the buildings do clean up nicely! That one with all the art about cats is quite cute! Let's hope that the car fire was a natural accident...!

January said...

I think Maggie and I probably should move into that cat building :) What a nice thing to give the desk clerk at the hotel a little thank you - it obviously meant a lot to her, too, so that's even better.

Chinch said...

Your hotel may be plain but certainly quite lovely and shows was a little paint and a few nails can do!! And that yacht, ship, whatever it gets called at that size is really huge! I wonder how many it sleeps. It's been raining here for two days and is quite chilly -- tomorrow, when Barry leaves, it's supposed to turn sunny and nice. But we've been having a good time despite the weather. I think you said it's on to Palermo for you -- hope the weather and the accommodations turn out to be good! xoxo

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