| - In the second week of my circuit of Sicily I came around he south and west parts. Mazara, Marsala, Trapani, Erice, Castellomamare, Zingaro |
|Mon- Noto |
- Noto's grid of Palaces built on a grid after the 1700 earthquake is a bit of a tour bus Disneyland. I went in a museum...more exciting for the building, just got to the tourist info, but then everything shut for siesta... Walked around rest in rain.. Actually Noto is nothing compared to the towns either side of it : Syracuse and Modica.
- Hostel in Noto is closed so went onto Modica, arrived at 5pm. Tourist Office was friendly, but as often are ill informed. They B and B's nothing under €35. It was too cold to camp I . I wasted hours looking for a place to stay, but found somewhere for €20. If I'd better planned I could arrived from Syracuse in the morning ..seen everything and left to Ragusa and Agrigento the next day. But all the inconveniences of buses etc cost me a whole extra day of costs. (in fact I could have left Catania on Saturday morning to Syracuse and seen it all. Then bused to Noto and camped. Got up early hitched to Modica ..done it then to Ragusa then train to Agrigento, somehow it cost me 3 extra days.
- I walked around town, largely untouristed, but a spectacular setting like Guanajuato Mexico, of old buildings spread across hills.
- I have to say that in the small bakeries and shops the people are the friendliest in Sicily and keen to speak a bit of English.
|Tue- Another irritating day of 8 Disasters|
- I think I'll bang my head against the wall, it's better than the rest of life. People say "oh your travel blogs are so negative", too right my real life is not like a nice fantasy, things go wrong every day.
Today I set out to explore the town. Right first I should check my email, OK now I at the PC I should download the podcast audioguides first.
1. Oh I can't find them, ah OK I found them ...
2. Downloads slow and ...
OK got them..
3. Set off I start listening ..damm somehow I'd downloaded them all in Italian. Come back download in English .. Hang on something wrong ..
4. Some virus on my memory card now ... I'll fix it later...
5. Now my memory card doesn't work at all
.... Shit shit shit .. And it's already 1.30pm. Go to wait the bus to Ragusa.
The hotel owner directs me to the left side of the road, the bus should come in 5 minutes, it doesn't show up, 6. I find I should be waiting on the right side. Lose another 30 mins.
- Actually for a change the tourist office was open when I passed. Walk from new town ... The views on the way to Ibla (the old town) are spectacular I get there at 4pm.
Visit the old palace building the guide insists on his girlfriend translating into Spanish.. Absolutely ridiculous cos Italian is so close to Spanish she's just repeating phrases I already understood.
Rush through the rest of old town, get to the highway, but 7. the bus back to Modica passes me without stopping, So I had wasted my money buying a return ticket.
8. Sicilians are tight about hitch hiking, so 20 minute wait for a ride. But the bank manager who gave me a ride and detoured to show me the sights.
|Tue - Ragusa on a day trip|
| - Tried To plan.. I'd made contact with CSer Vincente and arranged to meet him later.
I setoff to do Modica in the morning and Ragusa in the afternoon, but the virus screwed up my memory card so wasted all morning.
The bus actually passes old town, but then drops you in the centre of new town, which means you get spectacular views of old town as you walk down to it. After the Earthquake of 1700, rather bizarrely the planners thought "better not build there again we'll build on the next hill further up".. That why old town is supposed to be well preserved. Surely the town is even more likely to get destroyed in the next quake. Actually the town is nothing special ..it's all about the view of it from New Town.
- I walked around old streets of stone palaces on a hill, had to rush cos of inconvienient bus time. My plan was to rush through old town and get upto the highway where the bus would pass me. I arrived early so started to hitch, a bus passed me, but didn't stop. Eventually I hitched back with kind bank manager.
|Met up with Vincente |
- Another good thing : He's a Couchsurfing hero ..hosting people every month. It turned out to be the first evening of Modica's Carnivale.
- Carnivale. Was really just for kids so they can dress up, but Vincente took me to the place where they were serving pollenta a traditional meal of maize mash.
- the queuing and organisation was chaotic "welcome to Sicily"
- I always pick local untrendy bars, but the main street place we went charged €3 for hot chocolate.. Ouch !
|Wed - Modica in 70 mins then bus to Agrigento |
- Had to mess around for 3 hours trying to fix my memory card. The only bus in the afternoon that I could get to Agrigento leaves at 2.30pm so then "Did" the walk of the old stone palaces on hills of Modica in 70 minutes .... Not the whole day LP says it takes.
- Met Ramsay who is setting up an English Conversation Club.
|Wed - Travelling to Agrigento |
Problem #9 Sicilian buses often leave early - the only bus in the afternoon that I could get to Agrigento leaves at 2.30pm. I collected my bag and got to the town centre stop at 2.20pm. No your bus already left an old man said. I ran the 1.5Km to the end of town bus terminal, where the driver was having a cigarette before leaving at 2.40pm. It repeated yesterday's journey to Ragusa, before continuing on to Gela. There I had to wait 1 hour for the bus to Agrigento. Luckily I knew to ask to get down just before and walk the 1.5Km to the Valle dei Templei campsite.
- A good deal €5.50: free showes and wifi, and supermarket.
|Thu - Agrigento |
| - Thu - went to ruined temples, but when they said it was €11 I just walked around the outside. (It's half price for under 26 and free for pensioners.) Walked around town a few old streets, views and churches which were all closed of course when I arrived due to the Italian habit of closing in the middle of the day.|
|Fri - More Disasters |
- Fri - No reason to hang around in Agrigentro, some CS guys want to meet for drinks, but I don't see the point as it would mean hanging around all day and then their meeting is so bloody late 10.30pm that's when I normally go to bed.
- So pushed onto Sciaaca, arrived at bus terminal just before the bus left (instead of just missing it). Same story I could have met CS guys for drinks, but there was nowhere cheap to stay, no one offered to host and even if it I had found somewhere to stay they wanted to meet at the I ridiculous time of 10.30pm, what the f to those people do between finishing work and going out ? I can't stand all those wasted hours.
- Walked around old town ..OK but nothing compared to other towns like Modica.
- Few buses to Menfi where the nearest campsite is. Lost my bus ticket I bought a flaming ticket, but had to buy another cos when I got on the bus I couldn't find it. As I search on the bouncy ride my flask fell from bag and smashed. After I left the bus I put my pack on and found the missing ticket in the pocket of the belt strap ! I would have free camped, but the tourist office in Sciaaca had already phoned to reserve a place for me and anyway I might meet some interesting people. It was a 5Km walk not the 3Km they said, and then when I arrived just before 7pm it was all locked up. Bugger. Walked 5Km to campsite and it was closed anyway
|Sat - |
| - In the morning just before I arrived at the bus stop the only bus of the morning left ... So I had to walk the 5Km back to town ... Bit boring, boring market, no buses cos Saturday, hitched to Castellovitrano |
.. It was 2.10pm when I arrived at the bus stop for the ancient ruins of Selinunte ...Waited for the 2:20 bus ..it never came... Walked around old town. Only way to get out was to take a train to Mazara.
|Sun- Mazara |
- First thing was this strange phenomena in Sicily where it's difficult to buy a train ticket on weekends. The ticket office is closed, the machines have been sabotaged and the ticket inspector doesn't sell tickets.
- Anyway arrive in Mazara, which turns out to be a walled city... More boring churches. Walk around and then leave to Marsala cos the campsite is closed.
- Get the train to Marsala, but there is no campsite. A kindly pharmacist drops me at a campsite 10Km south of Marsala. I should have said no cos of course the next daynwas Sunday i.e. No buses. This incredible wind also came up which is stronger than any wind in the UK so must have been 150Km/hr. It lasted for 5 days. I had to camp behind the shower block.
|Sun - |
| - Had to walk 5Km to the station - ticket machine broken of course. Walked old streets of Marsala, then archaelogical museum, then train to Trapani.
| - It's a big town, but no campsite or hostel. I found a hotel for €20, but it was full, so took train back to camp in the village.
|- Got back to town, but passed 2 closed left luggage offices before I got to an open one. Then I wanted to visit the hilltop town of Erice. But the cable car isn't working and there is only the 11.30am bus. This bys first went round the back of the hill so took hour to do a 7Km journey. Erice is better than Pollena, but not great.. A couple of closed castle ruins, lots of churches and lots of tourists.. Mainly the views. But amazing to see Huge stones in the base of the city walls from the Punic era 2400 years ago.
- Got back to Trapani walked around old town and decided to take the 5.30pm bus to Castelmamare where there is a campsite.
|Tue- Castelmamare |
- Of course that campsite was closed, but for once some luck; there's a new one nearby. Basic, but she just charged me €5 to put my hammock in the bar-room . Which was good cos of the super high winds, so I stayed 3 days there.
- Tuesday was a wah clothes day, then walk around. Typically after to walking all the way to the tourist office at the top part of town and finding it moved to the port, I had to sprint to the supermarket just before siesta closing. Walked around to castle museum etc.
- I found there was to be concerts, a parade and fireworks tomoorow to celebrate the Garibaldi day holiday on Wednesday ... Err isn't heavy rain forecast ?
|Tue - Scopello and Zingaro Coastal reserve walk.|
- One famous thing is to walk the coastal Path in the Zingaro Coastal reserve 7Km away. I was the only person on the bus ... Basically in Sicily cos the bus schedules are so bad everyone else got a car. Walked the 2Km to start of the reserve (see should have got a car), My plan was to walk the coastal route and come back on the high path, but the obvious path connecting them has been permanently closed due to landslides. Tedious walking I have been spoilt by better places in the past .. Thus walwas mostly tedious to me. Surprisingly instead of being faster than the schedule it did take me the predicted 3 hours to reach the end, so I came back via the middle path rather than top path as I didn't want to miss the bus back... Still boring. Afterwards I tried to come Back to Scopello old tuna fishing base by coastal route. Didn't see anything interesting and by the time I reached the old tonneria I had to run for the bus, which turned up 20 minutes late anyway.
- Yeh cos of the rain most of the Garibaldi stuff was cancelled.