Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Road trip – part I (Licata, Gela and Ragusa)

Three weeks into our stay here, we had already managed to explore most of the towns and villages in the area, so we started casting our glances further a field. The weather is beautiful at the moment and we still have some time before our first guests arrive, so we decided to take a road trip to the south-eastern part of the island. After making a basic travel plan and booking at two B&Bs (Bed & Breakfast) along our route, we headed off on Monday morning towards the city of Ragusa, which according to the guidebook was worth stopping at.

After a short break for a picnic lunch in Licata, which thanks to our friends at the pasticerria contained some delicious left-overs from Sunday’s feast, we decided to head on immediately since there wasn’t much to see apart from a nice town hall. Unfortunately “mini”, who had just felt a little bit of freedom outside the car, let us know that she wasn’t prepared for another drive, so after half-an-hour of elevated decibel levels in the car we decided to take another break in Gela. This town was slightly bigger, but just as dull, especially since we couldn’t find any places for Gela-to that were open. After an hour spent playing in the local park, we got back in the car, but not before phoning our B&B host to let him know that we were in Gela and about an hour away from Ragusa. ”Ok, so you’ll be here in two hours” he said, which we put down to him misunderstanding where we were, as it couldn’t possibly take that long to travel such a short distance. We smiled and drove off.

One hour later we were still smiling as we reached the outskirts of Ragusa, thinking that we would arrive to our destination way before his prediction. Unfortunately, we hadn’t counted on Ragusa being a) divided into two smaller towns, Ragusa & Ragusa Ibla (where we were staying) and b) the sign-posts being some of the worst we had ever come across. So after winding our way into the main city, being thrown off our map for road works and ending up on tiny serpentine hill roads, we finally made our way down into a valley and then back up the other side to the Ibla, situated on a hill top.

There, with a screaming “mini” in the back seat, it took about three tours on the same road, two circles around the little town and some guidance from a local, before we dared to go up on a ridiculously tiny road (or ramp) into the core of the old city. 500 meters later and with about 5 cars waiting patient behind, we were stuck, since there was no way we could take the ninety degree left turn necessary to get into the “road” where the B&B was. So we parked the car as much out of the way as we could manage and walked to the charming little B&B, definitely arriving two hours after we left Gela.

Thanks to guidance from the very friendly host we were able to block traffic and manoeuvre the car around the ninety degree corner, with at least five centimetres to spare on each side of the car. After unloading all our belongings (it’s difficult to travel light with a ten month old baby) we headed off into the old town to look around and find somewhere for a meal.

After a good night’s sleep and a nice Italian breakfast with cappuccino, brioches and yoghurt looking over the patio and a lush lemon tree we continued our journey towards Siracusa, the city famous for its ancient history, archeological remains and being the birthplace of Archimedes.

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