Day 6

by airplane

Today marks the end of the first chapter of our holiday. We packed most of our stuff last night and finished up this morning, checked out of the hotel and headed to the metro to go to the airport.

We had bought just enough metro tickets for our stay in Paris and the last leg to the airport uses different tickets which worked out perfectly. Apart from nearly not fitting in to the packed, peak hour train, we had a good run in and made it there with time to spare so we got through security and ordered our last french meal, a croissant and two rolls.

Our flight was about 2.5 hours and apart from a little turbulence along the way it was a pretty easy flight. Once we arrived and picked up our bags we were greeted by Salvatore and Alessia who were patiently waiting for us - this is the first time we’ve officially met in person, so far we’ve only texted each other! Both of them were very welcoming and really friendly.

We loaded up the car and started our journey to Ragusa, which is about an hour and a half drive. After talking about how we had seen Cafe Sicilia on Chefs Table on Netflix, Salvatore took a detour via Noto and gave us a quick tour of the area, complete with historic information about the buildings and earthquakes and treated us to the traditional almond granita with brioche from Cafe Sicilia.

We parked just outside the town centre and there were little market stalls selling fresh produce and gifts. We stopped at a cheese stall and found that they were branded with “Occhipinti”, we barely ever hear this name in Australia but it’s quite common in Sicily!

The south part of Sicily was hit with big earthquakes in 1693 which destroyed a lot of the townships in the area and Noto was rebuilt in a new area, where we visited. Most of the buildings here are from the 18th century.

We went in to quite a few churches but one of them in particular was quite interesting, it had collapsed in 1996 and was rebuilt over a period of about 10 years. Some of the original material was used while the rest was created to match the original style. Most of the buildings that look like this a quite old but it’s great that modern building techniques could still recreate the same look. In the photos of walls above, one of them is original and the other is a recreation.

After a quick tour around, we stopped for some granita and brioche at Cafe Sicilia. There didn’t have any lemons at this time so we had the traditional almond one and a mandarin one. The flavours are very prominent and really refreshing! Sitting there on the nice weather was a great introduction to Sicily!

From Noto we continued to Ragusa, Salvatore let us use there beach house which has a view of the ocean from the front door! They have provided so much for us, we are very grateful! The house is fully stocked with food including some nice meats and cheese (he even bought some of the Occhipinti cheese for us) along with home cooked biscuits and a big basket of fresh fruit!

We dropped off our bags and headed over to Salvatore’s mum’s house for dinner which was just a quick drive away. We meet a few more relatives and had a huge dinner! We started with bread, cheese and salami, then some lasagna, then schnitzels with salad and potatos, then for dessert we had these delicious almond treats, fruit and a milky dessert which i haven’t had before that was thickened milk with biscuits through it to form a kind of slice. We were so full!

After putting my Italian skills to the test even more, we headed home had a shower and feel sleep straight away, it’s been a huge day!