I have finally finished my first sweep through the holiday photos, so I thought I’d write a few tidbits about our trip to Sicily while the memories are fresh and the remnants of having thoroughly chilled out for a week are just about detectable.
We picked Sicily for two reasons: we like Italy (great food, great wine, great art, lovely people) and one of the ways to get there is via a train that goes on a boat! Guess how we travelled! Sadly we only had a week off work so we couldn’t sensibly do the whole journey by train (we did that four years ago to Florence and I can highly recommend it) but we were able to fly from our local airport to Rome and then catch the sleeper train to Sicily. It’s pretty basic as sleepers go – no dining car (we felt like royalty when we dined on the sleeper train from Paris to Florence, it was seriously classy) – but I still love the experience of falling asleep to the chug of the train, peeking behind the window blind at the lights of the towns and cities as you rumble past. The service arrives at the ferry port at a slightly unsociable 6am, which may be why Tim and I were almost alone up on the decks of the ferry (you can choose to stay on the train or get out for the half-hour crossing) but I feel my overexcited inability to stay asleep paid off as watching the sun rise as we pulled in to Messina harbour was pretty special.
The rest of the train journey was pretty beautiful: the sea on one side of us and Mount Etna on the other. Sicily really is gorgeous. Thankfully that includes Siracusa, where we stayed for a week of relaxing, eating good food and ogling fancy millionaires’ yachts, enjoying the warm sunshine and sea air.
We stayed on the island of Ortigia, which is the historic district of Siracusa and it’s exactly what that suggests: old narrow streets, lots of churches and pavement cafes, largely pedestrianised, well looked after. The rest of the city doesn’t have so much to recommend it, but we did venture out to the Archaeological Park to look at the remains of the Greek ampitheatre and other ancient ruins.
I swam in the Med for the first time in my life. And we spent a couple of evenings sat in a bar on the harbourside just watching the sun set. Man, I’m jealous of two-weeks-ago-me right now.
On the way home, we had a half-day in Rome so we had a walk around the Roman Forums and Colosseum. Frankly the former were more impressive, but that might be the combination of crowds of people around the Colosseum, our camera battery dying just before we reached the Colosseum and the skies getting distinctly grey at that point.
One thing Rome does have going for it is an absolutely giant bookshop in the Termini train station. In fact Italy in general seems to have a lot of bookshops still, which was nice to see.
Okay, that’s enough reminiscing. I miss holiday. If you want to see more of my holiday snaps, I am gradually adding to them to a set on Flickr.
Now the question is, do I carry on learning Italian using the Duolinguo app (which to be honest I think increased my confidence much more than my ability!) or pick a new language to learn a smattering of? (This question is also known as the Now That Holiday Is Over Where Shall I Plan To Go Next Syndrome.)