Day 11

This morning we went to nonna’s house again, she was busy preparing a feast as usual so Salvatore, Carmella and Alessia took us for a walk down to the beach. As we were walking down we discovered it was Alessia’s birthday today! We wished her happy birthday and we took off our shoes to dip our feet in the water, which was a little cold but quite nice after adapting.

After a nice walk we headed back to the house and started eating, we had homemade ravioli and pasta, eggplant parmigiana, schnitzels, chicken, citron (sweet lemon) salad, lettuce salad, followed by some fresh apricots, cherries, flat white peaches and another fruit that is fairly rare in Australia but I can’t remember the name! When I cut into that fruit there was an earwig inside which put Bec off the idea trying it but she did end up having a little taste.

After all this food the birthday cake came out and we sang happy birthday for Alessia. We were, once again, very full! After this they dropped us back at the house for a rest before picking us up again later to go to Ibla, the old Ragusa.

After a quick nap at home we ventured out to Ibla which is the more traditional side of Ragusa. The new Ragusa’s patron saint is San Giovanni and the old Ragusa Ibla’s patron saint is San Georgio and today happens to be the festival of San Georgio so there is a lot happening here!

We casually strolled around the old city and visited a few churches along the way - Ibla has a lot of churches! One of which was where Salvatore and Carmella got married. The church was nice inside and the exterior had been restored well. This church was supposed to have two bell towers but the second one was never finished so it just has the one.

Salvatore also made a quick stop at one of the older parts of the town with a bunch of abandoned old houses. He couldn’t remember exactly which one but one of these belonged to my nonno before they moved to Australia!

After the parade had passed us we continued through the city. Salvatore and Carmella knew a lot of people here so there was a lot of socialising at this festival which is nice. We went to a pasticceria that belonged to one of Salvatore’s friends which had recently been featured on TV because the chef’s son had stared in a bake off show and came second. We meet them and tasted some delicious desserts and then got some arancini from the shop across the road that had interesting flavours, I had an apple, cheese and prociutto one and Bec had a mixed seafood one, both of them were really nice!

As it started getting darker there were more and more celebrations. First there were fireworks which seemed a bit early but they were probably just testing them for the grand finale and then there was a parade that went all around the city that included lots of people, some marching bands and a few floats, one of which was Saint George riding a horse. This float was carried by hand for most of the time and would gallop to the music by having the dozen men holding it bounce up and down. This was accompanied by people throwing fliers and flower petals from the surrounding balconies. It was a pretty interesting festival.

As it got closer to midnight, more and more people packed in to the main piazza for the grand finale. The parade was making its way here in front of one of the main churches and there were people everywhere. Once they had arrived there were some speeches followed by a light projection show on the church and then the big fireworks display. The fireworks were really well done! They were synchronised to music, most of which was classic music that I knew the tunes (but not the names) except the very first song was from Game of Thrones! Was not expecting that at a religious festival in front of a church!

After quite a few songs with the fireworks, we headed to the bus terminal to go back to where we parked our car, the walk here was mostly downhill and the walk back would have been pretty long and uphill! We got home fairly late and I packed my bag for the next day but didn’t get to bed until about 3am and then we had to leave by 8am in the morning so not much sleep this night!