We arrived at our apartment in Siracusa (Syracuse) to a stunning pinky purple sunset over the small harbour that we could see from our balcony. At first I thought that I had really stuffed up our accommodation as, from the outside, the place looked like a dump. However the inside was exactly what we expected - a funky penthouse pad! This is a really modern apartment with a fantastic host who made sure that we had everything that we could possibly need. This is also the first place that has had a cot for Ethan and he has enjoyed the change from his portable tent (cot).
Siracusa was not what I had expected. I had thought that it would be a large ancient town, but it mostly consisted of the "new" portion. The old part of town was only one street away from where we were staying, across a bridge on the island of Ortygia.
Unfortunately the weather was a bit ordinary, with a lot of rain, so everything seemed a bit grey and dull. We got some good weather on the weekend though and all of a sudden, all the people came out! The town goes from nothing going on to a bit like a fun park - there is such a huge change in atmosphere. Ortygia was quite small, so it didn't take us long to explore most of the island by foot.
We did an amazing day trip down the coast to the south-eastern tip of Sicily. The coastline was very pretty, however our highlight was a nature area called Vendicari Oasis.
We parked the car and walked through trees, shrubs and reeds. We passed by a lake and then all of a sudden it opened up and we were on the beach. We met a lovely German family with a little girl that reminded us of Eva, Ethan's friend at home. They suggested we walk a bit further to another lake where they had seen about five flamingos the day before.
What a surprise we got when we got there and saw about thirty or more flamingos - it was amazing!!
Our last day, on our way to Taormina, was jam packed. We started in the morning by going to see the Roman ruins in Siracusa. There was a large colosseum-type structure and then a bit further on, a very impressive amphitheatre that is still used for performances. The area above had some old burial chambers and an amazing natural spring fountain.
We then continued on to the Necropolis of Pantalica. The weather was black and stormy however we had a respite of about an hour, so managed to get out of the car. It was well worth it. It was a beautiful hilly area, covered in trees with a pristine river curling down below. As you walked, you caught site of large burial chambers and then came across the beehive-like necropolis.
It is very difficult for us to imagine how they formed such large chambers in the side of mountains so many years ago. The more we see from the past, the more we realise that perhaps we have not evolved as much as we think.
Lots of love,
Caren, Jonathan and Ethan :)