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Welcome to Sicily – part uno!!

8th September 2017

By Helen Parker

THE STREETS OF CATANIA

We begin our travels in Catania

Holidays can be spent in all sorts of ways, I am inherently lazy and so would always prefer to spend my time chilling out and doing pretty much nothing but lying in the sun. However, when I do that I am always thinking of things I would prefer to be doing. Markets, eating local food and wandering the streets are my passion (drinking wine too!!) and of all the markets and all the streets I have wandered, Sicily had some of the best. I went on holiday with my sister and her husband and met up with friends along the way for a few days, it was a mix of beaches and cities and felt like we had a real adventure. I came home with so much inspiration and some wonderful photos which I’m finding hard to pare down to a sensible amount so I have decided to write my blog in a few sections so I can show you each place along our holiday route without writing War and Peace!!

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We spent our first night and day in Catania, an ancient port on the south east coast of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna. This view was my first taste of Sicily, it was perfect, crumbling buildings, pantiled roofs, long narrow streets and dark alleyways, intense heat and noise and people living their Sicilian lives for us all to see and experience. Our first morning was spent at the La Pescheria, the weekday fish market, wow what a spectacle. I have been to many fish markets but this was on a much larger scale, street after street after street of fish, what do they do with all that fish I kept thinking and exclaiming ‘surely they can’t sell all that fish’ but I guess they do.

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It was a bit fishy and a bit wet, but it was my idea of bliss, just looking and taking photographs and seeing the incredibly diverse fish that they sell.

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The market is surrounded by small fish restaurants and street food is all over the market, my favourite image was this man charring his red peppers on hot coals right in the middle of the market.

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This man was selling mussels by the bag full and popping in a lemon and some parsley so you had everything you needed to make a wonderful supper.

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And of course no market is complete and no shopping trip is complete without a bag of olives and some things in oil!

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Watching these Sicilian men doing what they do everyday, is for me, such a wonderful thing to see.

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So after a full on day of wandering, we decided to wander some more, but this time in the dark and with some alcohol included. My sister found us a beautiful restaurant, she’s very good at that! What a beautiful place it was, old and faded and unique in its style, but totally modern in its approach to food. I do like authentic places and this felt really Sicilian, it looked like my holiday was getting off to a great start, so far everything is just as I had dreamed and hoped it would be. Noisy, hot, loud, scruffy in parts, beautiful always. http://www.mecumparituriddu.it/en/

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The rest of my trip through Sicily from Catania onto Noto, then flying to Pantelleria, back to Palermo and finally Taormina will follow over the next few days and weeks. I do hope you enjoy the images and it gives you some idea of life in Sicily, a wonderful Mediterranean country, full of passion and fish!!!

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