Rob and Jacky Black
Wed 10 Sep 2014 12:00

37 30. 0N 15 05.8 E
Catania 8th – 10th September Circulo Nautico NIC marina
55 Euros per night 3 euros for water and electricity, which was metered. (The showers and toilet were adequate just one room for each sex.)
We had one night at anchor off the town before leaving Siracusa and motored up the coast past Fort Augusto (a major oil and gas port as well as a naval base) finally arriving in Catania at lunch time. Despite having booked a berth by phone the previous day and given our ETA plus numerous calls on the VHF and by mobile there was no-one to greet us on arrival So we had to find a suitable berth for ourselves and fortunately managed to get tied up safely – thanks to Amanda jumping off onto the pontoon to get us the mooring line! It was lunch time and of course this is Italy! Finally after walking up to the office a very friendly ormeggiatori arrived and sorted out a second mooring line for us. Our friends on Piper had warned us of loud music late at night in the marinas nearer to the town so this choice was to avoid that! However we were faced with almost constant lorry traffic which passed by en route to the large Ro-Ro berth about half a mile from our berth! We also had quite a long walk along this busy route (or on the top of the harbour wall) to get out of the port and access to the shops etc. Needless to say the boat was very grimy after two days.
We made an exploratory trip into the city to find the tourist office and received very helpful information about trips and transport. The following day we went on the metro (one stop) to the bus station and then on a coach trip to Taormina. We enjoyed the journey through the hilly country side and also our exploration of this lovely hill town with its rugged coast line tiny off lying islands and spectacular views. It was however very hot and very crowded with tourists. Having wandered through all the lanes and alleyways we settled down to a lovely lunch on a shaded terrace overlooking the sea with Etna in the distance to the south. We enjoyed some sea food with pasta and some local Sicilian wine – Amanda’s treat! We caught the 1500 bus back to Catania and then Rob returned to the boat while Amanda and Jacky headed off on the open top bus for a drive round the city. First impressions were that it was dirty and less well kept than Siracusa, however we did see some wonderful architecture and the main square piazza) with the cathedral and fountains, statues etc. was very impressive. We alighted at the Cathedral and enjoyed a delicious ice-cream sitting under the shades outside one of the cafes that line the square. We returned to the boat and Amanda sorted out her belongings ready for an early departure the next day (a taxi was booked for 0845) for her flight to Rome. She used the Spanish airline Vueling and this proved to be just fine with her schedules all going according to plan and no loss of luggage.
The following morning we left for Siracusa again.