Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Sun 28 Sep 2008 09:07
The endless summer is coming to an end here in the southern Mediterrranean, and every afternoon, after a sunny morning, we have torrential rain, like a monsoon, for a couple of hours.  We motorsailed from Riposto to Siracusa three days ago, and after an enjoyable day's passage, in quite a rough sea, with storm clouds always abeam of us to our left, a thunderstorm broke over us just as we arrived in the lagoon and we tied up alongside a big catamaran to wait for the rain to stop and for someone to show us to a berth.  We have come to roost in an idyllic spot, in a line of yachts and motor boats, with a row of tuna and swordfishing boats between us and the town quay.  The town is the most sophisticated and interesting we have seen so far in Sicily.  Approaching from the sea, the buildings on the island of Ortygia, where the old town was built, reminded me of the ports you see on some of the out of the way Greek islands, and in fact Siracusa, was originally a Greek colony, and rivalled Athens in importance in the 5th Century BC.  I shopped for food yesterday in a crowded street market, where everybody shops as there are no supermarkets, and the stalls were laid out on two interesecting streets in front of the well preserved ruins of a Greek temple to Apollo, built in the early 6th Century BC.
 The changing weather means we must make our way to our winter destination, which will be Malta, and we have decided to leave tonight at midnight 'to sail the weather', hoping to arrive tomorrow afternoon.