Yesterday was my birthday and I was lucky enough to spend it in Sicily with my mom. It was raining a little when we woke p in Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily. The city was huge and overwhelming and since we only have a week left here and not wanting to spend all of our time figuring out the city and what to do amongst the grit and traffic, we decided to head south to Siracuse. It was great, about a 6 hour ride with a stop over in Catania. It rained hard all day, so the train was nice and warm, like being inside with a fire on a stormy day. Actually I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I got to sit and watch the land go by. The island is very hilly and full of fields and abandoned settlements. the history here is more like Greece than northern Italy. The ruins date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries.
When we got in to siracuse it was around dusk and still pouring. We don’t actually have a guidebook for Sicily, so our trip here has been based on a book of festivals, which was for 2007 and a beautiful (also free) hadout of coastal towns. We had spent some time in the book store translating some of lonely planet and writing down the addresses of place to stay. So, we headed out in the rain to find an internet cafe to check a map (a lot of the places in Sicily don’t have info near the train station). There were pools of water in the street, so we got the cliched spray from the car and got completely soaked. After finding it on the map, we headed out in the direction that the people at the cafe had told us. We were bundled up in our scarves, soaking wet and just hoping they had rooms. We chatted about it having a tv and our own bathroom (such a luxury), but didn’t actually believe that it would, but it did!!! The room is nice, it is right across the bridge to the island of old Siracuse, so it is great location and everything we need.
We got dry and set out for my birthday dinner. We were both excited for a good dinner of pasta and wine at a place called La Spiega (also our favorite place in Seattle), but it appeared many of the restaurants were closed, so we were forced to go to the equivelant of Red Robin. There was a big soccer match on, so the place was actually pretty full. Mom had a bacon cheeseburger and I had a veggie burger, which turned out to be really good. It was a falafel patty with fixings for a burger. All in all a good night.
Siracuse is really beautiful. It is a bright blue day today and we will walk to the ruins and probably end up spending 3 nights here. It is manageable and on the sea and close to some of the side trips we want to take. We’ll try again for our big italian meal tonight, but even sitting there in front of the huge poster of Newport Beach, CA (which was taken about 6 blocks from my uncle and aunt’s house) I had a very happy birthday. I feel so lucky to be here and lucky to be able to spend this time with my mom no matter where we end up.