OK, OK, so we're a bit bad about closing this blog at the end of our sailing seasons. But, Siracusa was so great last October that we can't resist one last retrospective, and what better subject than "Mangiare", with the vendors in the street market tempting us with delicious fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses from the Borderi family shop and even live music at the fish stand. What a scene!
A day sail down the east coast of Sicily took us to Porto Palo and then, on October 3rd, a very fast downwind romp (with gusts too high for our ballooner) took us to Marina di Ragusa, which, you can see, is well protected from all winds. Our plan was to take care of end-of-season chores amidst a group of friends with plenty of play time between. And that is exactly what happened with (surprise, surprise) Craig jumping into the play part for afternoon radio control model racing with Aussie pal Justin from s/v Ain't MissBehavin'.
About 100 boats with sailors from many international ports were our dock and play--mates ... these photos give you an idea of the good times we had at "camp Marina di Ragusa".
Next to Craig at top left is Dave Hulston from Southern Aurora, Jennifer from Starlet and Katherine. Next is Sandra off Deep Blue with Chrissy of Finalmente. Mr. Chrissy, aka Ni, is in the lower row next to Bonnie from Aisling. Sandra again is strumming her guitar with local friend Joe providing chorus and finally are both Rick and Bonnie of Aisling.
With chores well subordinated, we joined Deep Blue to celebrate Chris' birthday and, a few days later, set off for an inland day trip. Our first stop was Caltagirone, with over a hundred workshops and factories producing ceramics from plates to vases and household decorations as well as architectural elements like tiles, facades and balconies. You can see the colorful tile risers as we take a rest on the steps of the impressive Scala di Santa Maria connecting old and new Caltigirone.
Fortified with cappuccinos and pastries we moved on to the hilltop town of Piazza Armerina in the province of Enna. The town has an interesting medieval center and fine buildings, but we would see them later as we were first focused on touring Villa Roma del Casale, a luxurious villa and farmhouse located just a few kilometers outside the town nestled in the valley of Casale. Built in the lll-lV centuries and occupied until the 12th century, the villa lay largely undiscovered under the rubble of a landslide until concerted conservation efforts brought the area attention in the 1950's. Precious mosaics "carpet" the floors of this large complex and gave us extraordinary insight into Roman life, costumes and customs over 700 years ago.
Our visit began in the thermae (bathing area), progressed through the frigiarium and into the Sala del Circo. We passed through most rooms by way of elevated ramps so the mosaics were protected. Soon we were at the Sala delle Dieci Regazza where the celebrated "bikini girls" were 'working out". Nearby were other grand Salas illustrating hunting scenes, dignitaries and mythical heroes, and a vast gallery with an astonishing array of exotic fish, birds, African beasts and other wild animals ~ all accomplished with great accuracy and artistic beauty.
By October 27th Sangaris was packed up for the winter and we were off to Munich to spend a night with Jens & Tino.
Great time, but too short a visit! The next day's flights were not too arduous flying from Munich to FLL via Wash DC ... then it was back to work for Kath two days later! And Craig dusted off the RC sail boats for another season of winter racing. Tough duty!
So now we're back to real time - it's June 3, 2014 and fresh blog will be here shortly.