To Syracuse - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

April 15, 2019

To Syracuse

Once again I woke up feeling much better, if not quite well.  Hard to say what’s going on, if anything.  I seem to be in some ambiguous state between sick and well.  We have a really easy day in store today though, practically a rest day; so I’m sure I’ll be fine for the ride.  Being in no hurry, we pack up and leave our mansion behind at eleven, and work our way down to the sea.  I’m not sure if we’ll follow the route I’ve mapped out for us or not, and am hoping we’ll run into the Trapani-Syracuse cycle route again and can just go wherever it takes us.

We get off to a slow start though, when about four miles out of Noto the paved lane I mapped to turns out to be an awful looking, muddy rough gravel path instead.  We’re not going there, so we keep biking a bit further until a car pulls up alongside us to inform us that we’re biking toward a dead end.

Warming up! We stop to strip off a layer before proceeding down a long dead end. It’s a pretty spot though, so we don’t mind biking up to it again twenty minutes later.
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Pretty funny. We biked up to this puddle earlier and I almost plowed right through it. From some trick of the light it looked like it only covered half the road until I was almost in it. There was barely enough room to squeeze between the water and the brambles. Even funnier when we had to backtrack and do it again.
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This is turning out to be a fine tour for horse drawn carts. Three already!
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Jen GrumbyLove that green feather!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYes, that and the way he’s really leaning into it. Head down, nose to the grindstone.
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2 months ago
So my thesaurus lists about twenty different terms for horse-drawn carts. What is this - a carriage? A trap? A shay? It’s quite different than the simple one we saw outside Noto yesterday.
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A bit discouraging. We’ve been on the road forty-five minutes, and this is all the further from Noto we’ve gotten. Nice perspective on it though.
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So that made sort of a poor start to the ride.  Actually, the rest of the ride wasn’t all that great either, except for a few miles where we got off the highway and next to the coast.  We never did find the Trapani-Syracuse bike route either.  I suspect that the route must swerve inland east of Noto to avoid the built-up coastal strip here.

The last ten miles were just OK, in my book.  Fairly busy road, a noticeable amount of fast moving traffic, and a fifteen mph headwind made it all feel more like work than play.  When we arrived at Ortigia, the small island that is the heart of historical Syracuse, we stopped to validate directions to our room.  While standing there, I commented that we should start ranking our least favorite days.  She said this hadn’t felt like the worst to her, but she probably changed her mind a few minutes later when she crashed her bike on the irregular, slick tile road surface.  She was going very slowly at the time, but she still suffered a pretty significant gash on her shin that will likely find her stiff and sore in the morning.

Such a steel-grey sea this morning. So different than we biked past a few days ago.
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We got a few nice seaside miles in before being thrown back onto the highway. I think this is Marina di Avola.
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Another nice, sandy, empty beach. We’ve seen a few hopeful arrays of palapas, completely unoccupied. Too cold yet.
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So we’re staying in an awesome apartment in Syracuse.  Everything about it seems perfect to us.  We’ll be here for two days, and it looks like tomorrow will be a day off the bikes to explore this remarkable place.  First though, it’s laundry day!  Rocky, the good soldier that she is, ignores her injured leg and sets in immediately to cleaning our clothes.  This works very well for me - all of my shirts and pants need a bath, so I haven’t got anything to wear for a few hours.  I hop under the covers for another nap, still on my campaign to return to full health.

Later, decently clothed again, I step out for a walk through the neighborhood.  Syracuse is a fascinating place to get lost in - every narrow alley has something of interest.  This hour before dinner was just enough to whet my appetite for a longer exploration tomorrow.

We ate dinner at the restaurant run by the owners of our apartment.  It’s a nice, small place that doesn’t feel at all touristy, but surprisingly all the other diners were speaking English.  I don’t think we’ve heard English spoken at dinner since leaving Palermo.  It was especially startling to hear our neighbors mention something they read in the Oregonian and to then learn that they’re also from Portland. So that was interesting.  

More interesting was the meal, one of my favorites of the tour.  A rich tomato soup, followed by sea bass crusted with zucchini slices and Parmesan.  Really wonderful.  So that’s a good sign - I’m getting some appetite back.

This place is the antithesis of our tiny house in Noto. Spacious, cooking facilities, washer/drier, two bedrooms, even two bathrooms! Only 60 euros/night, in the heart of Ortigia. We could live here, and have guests. Much better than that cave we fantasized about in Catalonia last fall.
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Bruce LellmanWhat a coincidence! We were thinking of spending a few months in Syracuse so this will work out perfectly if you rent it for a few months. Of course we would cook dinner for you once in a while.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonGreat! Bring coffee. Serbian, if you can get your hands on some.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanActually, we don’t need coffee since there is an espresso machines with lots of pods of coffee. It’s delicious! Although it only has 1 bedroom not 2.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanYou might need your own bedroom so could you check to see if they have two bedroom units you could rent?

I have Croatian coffee all ready to go. I'd be generous and let you have all you wanted.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbyMaybe a 3 bedroom would be better. It's always good to have space for a couple of Grumbys!
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2 months ago
Outside our Syracuse apartment
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Here’s the restaurant we ate at tonight. Our room is right around the corner.
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Sharon PledgerSkull and cross bones. Good choice to post it in black and white!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Sharon PledgerThanks for the comment. I’ll make sure Rachael sees this. She hates it when I do this, and wants m to show her the image before I messed it up.
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2 months ago
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Jen GrumbyHow lovely the moon made an appearance for this photo!
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2 months ago
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Sea bass crusted with zucchini slices and Parmesan. Best fish dish of the tour by my reckoning.
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Today's ride: 32 miles (51 km)
Total: 610 miles (982 km)

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