All Posts Tagged ‘Sicily

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Lugano to Catania – Wrap-up

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When I was in Taormina on Friday, I overhead someone at the café saying “ci sara’ un temporale” (“there’s going to be a storm”.) With such amazing sunshine the whole day, I assumed he was joking. In the end, there was indeed no storm that day and the weather held up beautifully.

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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. 🙂

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Lugano to Catania – Day 5

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Finally, a decent night’s sleep on the sofa-bed here at the apartment. I got up at 6:45, feeling a bit lazy, and decided what to do. I’d thought about the possibility of taking a trip to Mount Etna, or at least to the immediate area, and there was a bus leaving at 8:15 in the morning from Catania central station, and returning at around 4pm. However, I’d also found out that you could take a train from one of the metro stations further north at any time of day. I decided to rest a bit more, spend the morning seeing a few places in Catania, visit the market for a bit of shopping, then head to Mount Etna in the afternoon.

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Lugano to Catania – Day 4

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Last night, I arrived at Naples around 11pm and waited for the overnight train to Catania. When I got on, I found that the compartment was designed purely for sleeping in. In other words, you couldn’t possibly sit up straight. It was unbelievably small, with three bunks (I was on the top one), and a small cupboard hiding a sink and mirror for freshening up. I was hoping to have the place to myself, but soon a young Chinese (I assume) traveller also turned up. I thought that was it, when another man, whose Italian smacked of a North African accent, enquired if there was a free bunk available. I said yes there was, or at least seemed to be, but was immediately suspicious, since I assumed that these bunks all had to be reserved. My suspicions were confirmed immediately when the stranger confessed that he didn’t have a ticket and hoped the conductor wouldn’t arrive to check. The Chinese man didn’t speak Italian so didn’t understand what was going on. I felt quite uncomfortable with having to sleep in the same compartment as this person, who was most likely an illegal of one description or another. What if he tried to steal something? Unheard of? Was I applying prejudices? Unlikely, since even if the man had been Italian, the very fact that he said he didn’t have a ticket raised questions.

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Red orange juice

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On the Alitalia flight to Trieste on my way back to Italy, I remember when the hostesses were pushing the drinks trolley down the aisle and offering a free drink and biscuits to the passengers. Many of the passengers were, of course, asking for their drink in English. It would have been all to easy to do the same but I really wanted to start the trip off on the right foot by speaking entirely in Italian. What on earth was the Italian for orange juice? Succo d’arancia? Was it really ‘succo’? Even though I wasn’t 100% sure, I decided to try anyway. Happily, of course, I was understood and I soon received a little plastic cup and pack of biscuits.

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My next trip

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In just over a month, I’ll be heading off on my next trip to Italy, which will last for six days. During that time, Back In Italy will turn into a travel blog with a daily post about the day’s events as well as small updates and photos on Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.

It will be similar to a trip I had last year in which I travelled by train to Genoa. I was inspired by the BBC TV programme Great Continental Railway Journeys, which is presented by the former British Conservative politician (and train enthusiast) Michael Portillo. Just as in the programme, I will be going by train to various locations on the route to my final destination.

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Cinema Paradiso

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On Sunday evening, I finally watched the much celebrated Italian film “Cinema Paradiso”. I’d bought the DVD towards the end last year but only now actually sat down to see it. One of the reasons I’d left it for so long was the assumption it would be a heavy, rather depressing piece, and I had never felt much in the mood for trying it out. However, having seen it at last, my reactions are a bit mixed.