227-228: Miracles – Etna Erupts, Weeping Ladies and Kerstin Arrives

227 – Thursday 3rd December 2015 – Tyre Fix, Syracuse with Kerstin

James was up and out taking more sunrise shots … don’t tell him, but I have deleted a lot of the Sunsets and Sunrises as they would fill the hard drives!

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IMG 3771 Our parking with water on two sides – may be getting used to the sound of the waves as we sleep.

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The view in the other direction.

One rear tyre had deflated a fair bit after being pumped up only yesterday, so it was imperative we got this fixed.  

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The first tyre place in Augusta attempted to jack our near 4 ton truck up using two 3 ton load bearing jacks much to our slight consternation.  Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, even with the addition of rubber wedges, the jacks would not go high enough so they had to abort.  They told us about another tyre place nearby …. that does trucks.

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Hard to see, but Chard is actually jacked up a) alongside the road and b) blocking in cars.

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Relaxed H&S: a make shift flag that kept falling down to warn motorists of the hazard!

Again it was a roadside repair using a very long compressed air cable.  The problem …. when the tyre had been repaired in Norway, they had not removed the nail.  So Italy 1 – Norway 0.  And at only EUR20 a bargain.

We collected Kerstin from Catania airport.  I did circuits around the airport in Chardonnay whilst J went into the airport to find Kerstin.  Her first question of J, was ‘are we still married?’  As if!!!

We parked up in Syracuse … right by the bridge to Ortygia.

A mystery Guest writer takes over from here!: Guess what, we had to walk around the old town before making our way to the real attractions of Syracuse – the Roman amphitheater. After going up and down the main street three times, (a female person not to be named lost confidence in her map reading and asked helpful Italians for directions!!) we finally made it up the hill! Just before closing time we were able to admire the Roman Amphitheater in the dark. It only meant that we had to come back the next day to see the rest of the archaeological sights. And I am not allowed to say anything about Mount Etna as this is only going to happen tomorrow. 

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Temple of Apollo: early 6BC is the oldest surviving Doric temple in Western Europe

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IMG 3822Duomo: Baroque architecture outside …

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… an wonderfully plain interior main nave.

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More real bones!

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Part of the attraction of the Piazza 

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We’d all like one of these!

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Another sunset … from the bridge between Ortigia and Siracuse

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Into Siracuse – an example of Fascist Architecture

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Poinsettia’s being sold on many street corners.

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Roman Amphitheatre by night

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Our overnight parking.  We got confused on how to pay for the ticket, and ended up getting away with EUR1 instead of 30… not sure how we got away with it, but we did!

228 – Friday 4th December 2015:  up the hill again and your are not to mention Mount Etna 

Now I am allowed to say something about today, Friday 4th December and the eruption of Mount Etna. James and I were fascinated to hear that Mount Etna has erupted. Unfortunately a certain person prefers to stick to her traveling plans (and I thought  campers are flexible) therefore we first picked up our tourist trail from yesterday.

Going up the hill once more we looked at the Greek theatre and the cave of Dioniso. This cave is huge in terms of its hight and I mean huge. The acoustic is great, whispers are transformed to loud echoes. Then we went to the catacombs of San Giovanni. On 10.000 m2 more than 10.000 bodies were buried. As far as I understood the guide, the bones are all gone to dust, that is why the tombs are all empty (in case somebody wonders). We checked on the weeping Madonna but there was no reaction from her seeing James.

Still my wishes for seeing Etna were ignored (this is me coming all the way from Germany and just being ignored)  and we had to walk up to another town – Noto. I was checking out the highest building in Noto but there was not one tall enough to see Etna. 

Tonight I thought I get my chance, because the hostess asked me what I would like to do tomorrow. Before I could mention the E word, she said apart from going to Etna. I think she is only worried that Chardonnay is going to be covered in ash. But would not this be a really good picture for the blog? 

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Greek amphitheatre: end of an aqueduct.

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Greek amphitheatre 5BC: it was more complex than indicated by the ruins here as Emperor Charles V nicked much of the stone to build walls around Ortygia

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The Ear of Dioniso

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The K’s bemused watching an Asian lady mince and tip toe over the bird droppings

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OK, so it took two of us to hold up the rock …

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… and a certain person did with his little pinkie!

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Santurio of Madonna delle Lacrime (Madonna that cried in 1953). The church was erected to house the Madonna. Information on this: http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping1.htm

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All these miracles … people no longer needing their back and limb supports.

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The Weeping Madonna – only a small mass produced plaster work.

Sadly no pix of the catacombs, but they were pretty amazing … 

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Noto: also flattened by the 1693 earthquake and rebuilt in Baroque style

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The Duomo: more impressive on the outside than …

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… the inside

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Palazzo Ducezio 1746: with ‘an impressive series of columns’

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Annually flower petals create images that fill the street

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Ornate balconies of the Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata. The socially aspiring family did rather well out of the earthquake as it killed off 10 of the 19 noble families in Noto, so they became more important and even purchased a number of titles.  They made their money in tuna processing … money in fish – then!

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A bit dark but Kerstin is battering (oops sorry, think I mean bartering!).

3 thoughts on “227-228: Miracles – Etna Erupts, Weeping Ladies and Kerstin Arrives

  1. Still lovin’ the blog and get withdrawal symptoms when there are a few days between them!
    K you are looking great so many lbs gone. Give our best to Kerstin and to yer man of course!

    Any thoughts as to meeting place in France when we meet next year so that I can do some planning.
    Love from us both and look forward to hearing from you.



    • Best wishes passed onto Kerstin. And thanks … running means I can imbibe and fall off the wagon! I’ll start to put some thoughts / options together … but will need some ‘limitations’ from you … how long, how far, campsites, aires … I KNOW walks and wine are compulsory!!! First half of April as we plan to ‘cross to the dark side’ on 14/15th April. xxx


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