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Arrivederce, Sicily

October 5, 2017

It’s a real bummer when the last day of vacation is a wash-out, and today was. I spent the morning catching up on these blog pages, then went out to see if I could buy some gifts and a tee shirt for myself. Nada! My cheap umbrella is about to give out — it blew inside-out half a dozen times — but it lasted through the day. I guess I got my €5 worth.

I did manage to visit the Museo di Papyri, however. It’s a very small exhibit tracing the history of papyrus, but most of the captions are in more complex Italian than I can understand. Despite a “no photo” prohibition, I surreptitiously snapped a few shots of the more interesting displays.



Turns out papyrus has been grown and harvested in Sicily for hundreds of years, with a continuously producing crop along the river Ciane just outside town. There’s also a large bush(?) in the Arethusa Fountain. I never saw papyrus in the wild before.


Tonight as I went to dinner, passing the small fountain I hadn’t paid much attention to before, I noticed that there’s a papyrus plant growing in the middle.

For my final dinner I visited Trattoria Spaghetteria do Scogghiu, a rather grand name for a small restaurant near the house.

The décor was interesting…

I started with octopus salad, a simple preparation with olive oil and lemon juice. IMG_0765







My main was a twisty pasta with tomatoes, clams, langoustines, and of course, pistachios. Really good. I decided to forgo dessert and have one last chocolate gelato.


Just before I left, this accordion player gave me one last song.

Final random thoughts

Sicilians are warm, welcoming, and seem to like Americans. This house wins the prize for location, though I wish I had outdoor space. There are so many good trattorias and osterias it has been hard to decide where to go. I could have cooked, but because I did so much traveling around it was easier to eat out. The market was great for picking up fruit for breakfast.

I’ve been fascinated by the A/C venting system: a big plastic jug that collects condensation and has to be emptied daily.  These bottles are in the sills of all the apartments along the street.IMG_0746

They have brilliantly invented a combo washer/dryer. Unfortunately, you can’t select any special cycle (delicates, colors, etc.), it will only accommodate half a load, and the clothes are still damp when the dryer has finished. Oh, and it takes three hours!

The local Sicilian wines are remarkably good, and so cheap! A half-liter carafe is €5, a glass usually €3.


The first day I entered Ortigia I noticed the tidily pruned oleander trees lined up like pink and green lollipops along the streets. I guess I just got complacent about being able to get a good photo of them, and then the weather of the past days blew my chance. But I got one decent shot on a little side street today, and it will have to serve as my memory of this gorgeous island until I return someday.


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