Siracusa: First night

Thank the goddesses that there was a taxi at the bus stop when a traumatized dog and her slightly traumatized human arrived in Siracusa on Saturday night. I was worried that Pearl would not get in another vehicle, but she was quite willing to jump into the taxi for our unexpected tour of the city at night. The street where I’m living is 2 small blocks long and the gps in the cab plus google and apple maps failed to find it! Eventually the taxi driver called my new landlord. That in itself was an adventure Io parlo un piccolo ( a little) italiano and the driver spoke even less English, so my poor, tired, traumatized brain had great difficulty in figuring out what he wanted – for me to phone her. Once that was figured out and I got Angela on the line she was able to give him specific instructions and we were at least close to my new home away from home in about five minutes. The journey from the bus station had taken about 25 or 30 minutes in total. This would turn out to be a standard for the next week at least. Take the time it should take and multiply it 5-10 times. The driver was very nice and had turned off the metre about 15 minutes into the drive. As I was to discover getting to my street in a car is actually quite difficult you need to go blocks out of the way because of a series of very complicated one-way streets. Lots of cities have one-way streets but generally speaking if one street goes north the next street goes south. Not so in Sara cruiser! You could have 23 or even four streets all going in the same direction before you encounter a street going in the opposite direction. I’m sure once you know the city really well it’s fine, unless of course you need to know one of those tiny little sidestreets, but when you’re getting to learn it Mamma Mia I can’t imagine trying to drive in this city! I saw a woman waving down the block and headed in that direction with suitcases and dog. Yes it was Angela and Pearl and I were home. Angela greeted me with an air kiss to each cheek, plus a string of instructions, of which I possibly understood 20% My biggest concern at the moment was to get us fed. Angela looked a little alarmed when I asked her where I could find someplace to eat close by. She said all the restaurants were quite far away. “Pizza is just fine” I said “Is there a pizza place close by?” Thank heavens she answered “Yes” and gave me directions for a pizza place just a few blocks away.

So I fed and watered Pearl and we were off to find our first local eating place. Walking the streets of a strange city in the dark when you’re starving and dead tired is very different and walking through them in the daytime once you’ve gotten to know them. I was so happy when we arrived at Don Chixote pizza in Panini Ristorante until I saw the huge lineup. Oh well nothing ventured, nothing gained. When the waiter asked if I wanted a table for one I said no for la Porta la via. This was what they said in room and in Palermo but apparently not in Syracuse though because he looked at me blankly so I pointed at the door, made my fingers do a walking motion and he understood! Then the Nonna came rushing over and kicked me out along with three other people and changed the sign to closed. We were apparently to wait outside. I thought briefly about taking a little walk and stretching my legs that were stuffed from a five hour bus ride that was supposed to be three hours long, but I was afraid I’d get lost and not be able to find my way back to the pizza place or to my little casita. I watch the neighbourhood while I tried to keep pearl out of the grips of large dogs with security that’s on them and leap out of the way of the motorcycles taking shortcuts on the sidewalk. I wasn’t sure how I liked this place and kind of wanted to turn around and go back to Palermo. After about half an hour I got my pizza and asked for my beer which Thursday another big stink with Nona who is just trying to get me out of there but I persisted and you kept waving my receipt at her. One of the sons came to the rescue, told her sì, sì and brought me my beer. I was more than ready to go home!

The pizza was delicious and I discovered that the further away I got from Rome the cheaper the pizza was. In Rome this pizza would’ve been €11, in Palermo €9 and in Siracusa it was €6! After eating most of the pizza and drinking half of the beer I tossed pearl out into the garden while I brushed my teeth and then we both fell into bed for a well-deserved sleep.

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