Siracusa and Palazzolo Acreide – unforgettable days in the Sicilian countryside
The next morning after Etna, I was heading towards Siracusa, one of the sweetest towns on the East Sicilian coast. Luckily I already knew, where to go to buy my ticket (AST bus), and there I was, already on my way. If you travel with a train, you usually enjoy the views, but with the bus wasn’t that bad at all. Enjoying the infinity of the island, different architecture, vegetation.. Over time, we arrive in a weird city, which is full of pumps and tanks, causing a strange feeling. Who lives here, when it’s obvious, that it is very polluted?! And then a little later, we actually drove trough the settlement. Poor people, who live here… In less than a half hour, we arrived to Siracusa, bathing in the sun and flowers. I and my backpack, firmly headed towards the Ortigia Island, historic centre of Siracusa.
“Flower” streets in Siracusa
Ortigia Island is Siracusa’s pearl – one can enjoy beautiful seaside views, charming little streets, a splendid Piazza Dumo with Duomo di Siracusa (its structure is originally a Greek Doric temple), Palazzo Arezzo Della Targia, Palazzo Arcivescovile and many more beautiful buildings/sights and of course, granita! After few hours I ran out of energy and my departure to Palazzolo Acreide, where my host Lamberto was about to pick me up, was within 1,30h, I luckily found an open place K7, where I had an amazing lunch! They say, that the archeological part of Siracusa is worth the visit, but that will have to wait for my next visit.
Charming little streets on Ortigia Island
With a little help of my host Lamberto I found the right bus to the next city, to Sicilian countryside. I was very excited to see the land from the perspective of locals and to actually live as one. But I never imagined, that I would enjoy this much …
Lamberto hosted me in his sweet and cosy house, surrounded with garden-orchard, where one can enjoy peace, quietness and smells of spices from the kitchen or outside, sitting on the terrace. Even the signal was bad, so I had a chance to really enjoy without interruptions from the “outside”world. Both musicians, haven’t had a problem to find a theme for conversation – we even found out, that we have some common friends.
His friend, violinist Theresa, joined us on the first day, when we went Agriturismo Stallaini for a joga class. But before that, they took me to another wonderful place called Antica Pasticceria Corsino. “Mamma mia, kako dobro!” would I say in Italian-Slovenian, enjoying the delicious mulberry-lemon-peach granita. The day was pleasantly rounded with a great joga time, new people, lots of Italian speaking and a fantastic dinner, made by the 3 of us.
Antica Pasticceria Corsino
Day 2, was reserved for a trip to a canyon, called Cavagrande in Avola. Firstly, we got lost in the middle of nowhere, but I really enjoyed it, since I had an opportunity to enjoy a fresh air enriched with thyme smell – instead of grass, there was thyme growing everywhere, which is also my favourite. Later on, we found the right road, and a few moments later, we were already walking down the valley, towards the lakes. After 30 min, a beautiful view opened in front of us – numerous lakes, clear water, a few people, so we immediately reserved our spot. A whole afternoon we had a privilege to enjoy fresh water, surrounded by trees and positive vibes. Not to forget, our lunch were delicious Arancini – they are breadcrumb-coated rice balls that are filled with an assortment of different ingredients, but most usually meat and tomato sauce or ham and mozzarella. It is the perfect mixture of texture and flavour. We bought them, again, in Antica Pasticceria Corsino <3
Cavagrande and its lakes
This is a better version of the “sea”
After a well spent afternoon, Lamberto had a terrific idea, to visit an etno event, where I could hear Sicilian music as well as see the puppets show. Lucky me, before the official opening, I had an opportunity to watch a short movie about the puppet history with English subtitles! 🙂 After the official meeting and presentation, a show started. It was in Italian, but because the puppeteers were so good, including their expressiveness, various voice colours and energy, I could follow the show and enjoy it a lot!
Day 3 was more of a chillout, because the heat was really strong, which lowered the energy level to a minimum. We still visited Akrai Greek Theatre, where I could see the theatre, tombs, Aphrodite’s temple and many more. A lovely place to visit!
Tombs under the theatre
Funny English 🙂
This day, before leaving to Taormina next morning, finished with a party, surrounded by many of Lamberto’s friends and acquaintances. It wasn’t a party, like one would normally think of, it was different – in the forest, by the river, with blankets on the ground, freshly prepared snacks and each of us having an instrument, which were used later in spontaneous free improvisations. Just, perfect.
Some more thoughts . . .
Staying with a local, gave me the opportunity to get a better insight into their culinary. We cooked with their ingredients – from local providers or from own garden or combined 😉 So imagine, that you cook with extra virgin local olive oil, the dishes are combined with big sweet local onions, a thyme and basil from own garden, then you just randomly walk outside, where a rosemary bush is growing, a seaside is a few kilometers away so you have local salt, in the fridge you find 4 variants of local cheese and of course on a shelf there must be a bottle or two of Sicilian wines. And since my host also studied and worked abroad, he also combines his dishes with some African and Arabic ingredients. Imagine the smell trough the whole house, the taste when everything combines and it’s made with special care..
Yes, this land has stolen my heart! A land, that gives me peace, sunshine, joy, good food and people, that’s my home. 🙂
“YOU REALLY DON’T NEED MUCH, TO BE HAPPY.”
With love, Pija