Friday, 24 June 2011
Greek theatre and the smell of fish
My next stop was Catania in Sicily, so I headed south from Cosenza in the direction of Reggio di Calabria - a town at the veritable toe of the peninsula . Here I caught the ferry across the straits to Sicily. Whilst waiting for the ferry to arrive I sat on a bench provided by the ferry company - thoughtfully with some shade too. It took about an hour before the boat arrived but curiously no one ventured out of their cars. Instead of enjoying the lovely open air like me, they preferred to stop inside with the air conditioning turned on - and with the sun visors down. We live in curious times, do we not?
The short boat trip over to Messina (30 minutes) was delightful. The sea was calm, the sun was high and I lounged on deck soaking up the rays. The last 15 minutes of the journey skirted the Sicilian coast before putting into the port. This made for excellent spectator sport as one could watch people and cars on the shore. I arrrived in a great mood, found the autostrada for Catania and set off promptly without bothering with lunch. Lots of other drivers seemed equally keen to be on their way judging by their speeds. I was coasting at 70mph but many were overtaking me at over 100mph.
The hostel at Catania was again in the old town and the buildings were dark and dirty. They reminded me a little of Glasgow in the 1950s - 'stoory-lookin' as they say up there. After checking in, my first priority was grubsteaks (as the Irish have it) so I checked out the delicatessen opposite and bought the necessary. I have to hand it to them, the Italians do food well.
What I liked best, however, was the fish market. This was a hive of activity - most of the purchases were bulk buyers who looked like restaurant owners and the like. Tuna - large sizes of - were much on show, but so were a large range of other fish too. I asked one stallholder to pose for me.