Tuesday 28 Aug
Syracusa and Ortigia
Ante's sister's friend Marie moved to Syracusa years ago, so we caught up with her for the evening and she gave us a great tour around the small old town called Ortigia, actually a small island connected to the mainland by 3 small bridges. Great to get a local perspective.
She showed us the great dramatic coastline with old apartments and buildings that hugged the shore, and a new adaption to the beach to accommodate for increased sunbathers and no beaches - portable sunbathing platforms. Called soluriums, these structures get erected each summer and people can lie on them or dive off them. Look a bit funny at first but a great way for people to avoid having to go to a private beach and pay to hire sunlounges and umbrellas as most locals do.
Ortigia has loads of narrow, tall streets with beautiful old buildings, and we went underground to a series of caves used as trenches for protecting the local population in WWII. Fascinating to see how people lived underground in what were very good spaces to accommodate hundreds of people.
At night we went to Marie's favourite roadside BBQ stall, munched on rolls filled with steaming hot BBQed meats, then walked around some more. With such a small local community, its the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else's business as Marie explained. The locals all have certain places they congregate to on certain evenings of the week, so you're guaranteed a good night with lots of locals if you follow the social agenda and visit the right venues. We had drinks in a small square in town where, you guessed it, everyone was hanging out for the night having drinks.
What I'm grateful for:
- seeing the underground tunnels
- meeting Marie
- seeing Syracusa through the eyes of a local
- narrow streets
- great BBQ dinner (this could become a habit)