Our next stop was Catania. As with the previous trip the train had in theory been replaced by a bus, however after waiting for around an hour and bemoaning the complete absence of any bus with some friendly Australians the heavens opened. Rather than stand in the rain we gave up on the rail-replacement bus and took a coach instead. I hope the Australians got where they were going…
In Catania we stayed in the Il Principe hotel, which was pleasant enough apart from the somewhat inadequate hot water. We were going to try for Etna but a combination of tiredness and poor weather dissuaded us.
Fremlin family pride compels me to mention Catania’s elephant:
We had a look around the cathedral:
Saint Agatha is the patron saint of the city. Most of the devotional art concerning Agatha is frankly rather gruesome, and I decline to reproduce it here; look it up if you must know.
We also visited the Greco-Roman theatre. It has been very much built around, but is evidently still in use.
There’s a little odeon to one side:
We had pizza at Al Cortile Alessi, and quickly established that none of the names of the pizzas were in our dictionary; apparently they were Sicilian games. I’m unclear whether the names were in Sicilian or just of the local games though. (FTAOD, they had perfectly adequate descriptions, it was only names that were beyond us.) We also ate at La Cucina Dei Colori, I recommend a visit if you’re in Catania.
The next leg of our journey was the train to Naples. As on the way south the train crosses the Strait of Messina on a boat, this time during the day. Looking back on Sicily:
...and forward to Italy (specifically Villa San Giovanni):
The flag is the civil ensign of Italy, used by civilian shipping:
I didn’t see an actual Fata Morgana, just a boat of that name:
Formerly there were power cables strung across the strait, they have been replaced by an undersea cable but the 1950s pylons remain as a monument.
I was hurrying to get back on the train before docking so neglected to photograph the train carriages in the hold. If you’ve ever been on a RORO ferry you’ll be able to work out what it looked like though!