Riding down the east coast of Sicily is interesting in many ways. It feels very different to the mainland for some indefinable reason and I’m sure its native population would regard themselves as Sicillians first and Italians second.
I am rapidly falling in love with the place. People regard me with interest/disinterest, but never once with any form of threat. I am just a man on a bike.
I was stood by the roadside today taking pictures of Etna when an Italian cyclist stopped and offered to take one of me with the view. His enthusiasm was most infectious. Picture taken, he ran across the road shouting “I love my bike”, jumped on it and disappeared over the next hilltop. The whole incident took maybe 30 seconds. The least I can do is show you his efforts.
The Greek theatre at Teormina has to have the most impressive backdrop of any thespian venue. Etna just sits there, impressive, ready to upstage any playwright’s efforts.
I stayed in a real working harbour the other night. No expensive yachts, designer clothes or tiresome conversations. What it did have was some very impressive basalt rock formations.
In Sicily fishmongers are everywhere as you can imagine. It’s a readily available food source, and I can’t help stopping and viewing the proceedings, listening to the banter,and avoiding the wasps ( there is no ice or covering of any kind ). Behind these three tasty looking locals are my old friends the Stockfish from way up north. They have travelled as far as me.
Amazing how sentimental some dried fish can make you feel.
The Straights of Messina have strong currents carrying nutrients which attract many species. They also serve as a useful passage for marine life travelling between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas, including sharks, of which there are 16 different varieties in the Mediterranean. Not many people know this, but the Great White is one of them. I read about this subject recently and found it fascinating. The DNA of Great Whites here is identical to those found off Australia, and scientists believe that thousands of years ago some sharks travelling up the West African coast took a turn through the Straights of Gibraltar and never left. Watch your feet.
Tonight I am staying in Sortino, up in the hills for a change. The place comes alive at six, and I was seduced by the Sicillian night life. I could get used to this island.