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Lugano to Catania – Day 6

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After dinner last night, I headed out again to the centre, where a giant TV screen had been set up to show matches from the World Cup. Last night, it was Spain vs Holland, and a crowd had gathered in the piazza watching it. It was around half-time when I arrived. Many people were wearing Spain shirts though there seemed to be a lot of Holland supporters as well, judging from the reaction every time a Holland player started attacking. There was a whole group of Indians sat in front of the screen and for some reason they all seemed to be Holland fans–no idea why! It was a fantastic game–Holland unexpectedly won with the incredible score of 5-1. It was nice watching the smug Spain team get a good thrashing. 🙂

Anyway, I’m way off topic! After the match, I had a little stroll taking in the atmosphere in the centre, which was pretty quiet for a Friday night. It was almost midnight by now. I really didn’t want to go back to the apartment just yet and decided to sit down for a snack and a well-deserved glass of wine. I ended up ordering a plate of roasted calamari and a glass of locally produced, white ‘Etna’ wine. I think I overdid it a bit, especially after my dinner of pasta and fried pork chops. Of course, I had to have my first espresso of the whole trip (well, second, if I count the one that my host in Lugano made for me).

After the meal, I was tempted to catch the Catania tourist bus, which was making a late night departure from the Piazza del Duomo. In the end, I felt too tired and also decided I’d spent enough for a day, especially after the trip to Taormina. So it was back to the apartment and a good night’s rest. On the way back, I was thinking just how safe and relaxed I felt walking along the streets of Catania at night-time. It’s hard to feel like that most of the time, at least in London. It’s been the same in most other Italian cities I’ve been in. I think one of the reasons is the mix of generations that you get out in the piazzas and the streets generally. It’s not a case of just having the youngsters out and middle aged and elderly people safely at home. Even children, accompanied by their parents, are often found outside late at night. I really like this about Italy, and wish we could capture some of that culture in the UK as well.

At the end of the street, I found a nice bar with a small band playing outside. Most people were also sat out on the tables. It was all so pleasant–I could have stayed there for hours. I so love night life in Italy.

Once again, it was a good night’s rest, which is just as well as it’s non-stop all the way to London at around midnight. In the morning, I went to the centre again and bought some packs of biscuits from the market to take back for my colleagues at work. (We have a little company tradition in that anyone who goes on holiday brings back some treats to share in the office.) After dropping off the shopping at the apartment, I took a long walk north towards the park of the Villa Bellini and the Orto Botanico (Botanic gardens). I guess the botanic gardens may not be to everyone’s interest but I really enjoy taking a wander in most types of gardens and seeing what kind of plants they have. Here, there was a large area devoted to local (Sicilian) plants as well as sections containing tropical plants (amazing palm trees!) and those from different parts of the world (who knew there were so many types of cactuses/cacti?).

There was a lazy cat hanging around in the garden, which I couldn’t help photographing. Speaking of photographs, at one point, I reached into my shoulder bag to fetch the camera when I realised it wasn’t there. Since I knew it must be in the garden, I realised I must have accidentally left it on one of the benches that I’d briefly sat down on. Just as well there was literally just me in the garden at this time (around 12:30am), so I retraced my steps and luckily found my camera where I’d left it. Really, I ought to be more careful.

It’s been another hot day and I glad to be back in the air-conditioned apartment. I can only really take so much heat and sunshine in one day! I packed everything and settled down to do some writing. I think the owner is going to come round soon to pick up the keys. I’ll then head to the airport to catch my flight to Rome.

What a packed trip it’s been. Che bel viaggio.

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