Off we go to Malta part 3

St Barbara's Web Diary
Peter & Sue Goldsmith
Sun 26 Apr 2009 17:26
At anchor in Marzamemi Sicily

37:43.98N 15:07.24E

18.00 26th April

This blog is being written in the safety of Marzamemi harbour ,which is our
jumping off point for the final leg of the trip to Valletta. We motorsailed
down the 25 miles this afternoon from Syracuse. We are here to be ready on
Tuesday morning to sail the 60 miles or so to "crew change" marina in the
historic capital of Malta. More on this in a later blog.

After arriving in Syracuse harbour at 0600 on Saturday , we moved to the
yacht marina later during the morning ( once the skipper had caught up on
some well deserved sleep!). This gave us our first opportunity to step onto
dry land for 3 days. Syracuse has an impressively fortified old town
connected to the "new" town by a series of wide bridges. We went off
exploring down its narrow streets moving ever towards to fortress building
(c1614) at the harbour entrance. The main cathedral square was impressive.
It had a huge modern sculpture ( 50m in length) in depicting a man clawing
his way out of the ground. Soon we realised that something big had been
happening in town since there were exhibitions and people everywhere. It
turned out that the G8 International Environmental Meeting had just finished
the day before. Syracuse (Siracusa) is an impressive place- sure it needs a
lot of TLC - but this contributes to its charm

In the Italian fashion whole families were promenading throughout the old
town. So when in Rome.... we went promenading about 5 pm and ended up on a
conveyor belt of Italians moving ever onwards towards the fortress ( where
the G8 meeting had taken place). Surprisingly, the whole fortress was open
so we could see where the actual meeting took place (in the castle building
at the tip of the fortress) along with the various side meeting rooms and
the media centre.

We were on the prowl for a good local restaurant and had espied down an
extremely narrow street the "Osteria Mariano" . Unfortunately we were too
early since it did not open until 8 pm - what to do ?- an Italian version of
a English pub beckoned - yes we know that there were lots of bars on the
grand promenade but they were all full of tourists!. So we wiled away an
hour or two with draught Maretti beer and then returned to Osteria Mariano
to find it heaving and full. What to do - no problem said the owner who
promptly just put up another table in the street and voila! We sat outside
next to two Belgians, four Dutch and an American - all the Italians were
inside of course, because it was so cold ( for them at least). Well, what a
meal - a simple plate of antipasti followed by three different pasta
dishes - to be eaten in strict sequence - a large jug of Sicilian red and
espresso to finish. We rolled back to the marina for our first peaceful
night's sleep in four days.

Sunday morning found PC foraging far and wide for the skipper's daily fix of
local bread. Meanwhile just across the harbour a mini-cruise liner (75 m
long!) had arrived and an open air evangelical church service was being
established outside the Customs House. The old town was almost deserted at
1000 and this was a good time to take some photos. In case you are wondering
why there is a paucity of photos recently on the blog, it is because we have
been unable to get internet access despite trying to access unsecured
networks of the local hotels - they needed a password! Skipper promises to
upload some on his lay over in Valletta.

Skipper uploaded the latest weather files via his mobile and decided that it
would be a good idea to move down the coast for out jumping off point to
Malta- hence we are at Marzamemi . Tomorrow we shall explore locally ready
for the off on Tuesday morning.