Night Location: Caltagirone, Italy
A Muse of the Day: Our Citroen C4 Picasso has a built in GPS that we have named Pablo. Pablo is definitely a close relation of Claude as he also enjoys sending us down precarious, winding and narrow roads. He struggles to count exits off roundabouts and has great difficulty pronouncing the street names to our amusement.
Today David was our fearless driver through the Sicilian countryside and Gareth was our Pablo interpreter. We had decided on three towns to visit, Noto, Modica and Ragusa before our final destination of Caltagirone.
Noto is famous for the world's two best gelato cafes, at least according to Lonely Planet Sicily. After walking through the main gate, we strolled along yet another Corso Umberto (who is he?) and gazed up at an Apricot coloured Duomo. Interestingly this Duomo had been reopened in 2007 due to its dome collapsing and therefore the interior was light and modern.
The gelato and granita was outstanding. Sadly the second store was closed and so we were unable to compare the two. We feel we had the best anyway.
On our arrival in Noto, we had been ushered into a small carpark and angled between two trees. Interestingly while it looked only big enough for one car, a second vehicle was ushered in right next to us. On return to the vehicle we were horrified to see that a third vehicle had been ushered in behind us making leaving Noto impossible or 'kaput' as Amber said. Luckily the driver of the third vehicle witnessed our struggle in reversing (Gareth, Amber and Gemma were on the points of the car yelling and knocking on the vehicle to tell David to stop, STOP!) and therefore quickly moved his car out of the way.
The next hilltop town was Modica, famous for its Aztec chocolate production. Many flavours were tried; Gemma was very excited by the Pepperino, Amber, Gareth and David liked the Vanilla and the Cinnamon. No compromise was reached so all three were purchased along with freshly made chocolate cannoli.
Our final stop was meant to be Ragusa. It was here that Pablo decided to have some fun and so directed us down an impossibly narrow street with cars parked on both sides that left all passengers and the driver gasping. The motion sensors were on solid beep for the duration of the street, and upon reaching the bottom we contemplated abandoning the vehicle or reversing, because the road ahead looked like spaghetti on the screen. The mirrors were tucked in and we proceeded as David said, "What other option do we have?" Indeed we did proceed down and eventually we made our way along the cliff, doing multiple switchbacks and gripping the door handle. Upon arrival it was decided that we had seen all we wanted to see and therefore we continued on to Caltagirone.
Comparably the drive from Ragusa was leisurely and we looked out on the Sicilian countryside that is both stark and dramatic. Our accommodation is out of the town in a hilltop retreat. It has only 3 rooms, a spectacular pool and cabanas. We spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing and are having dinner provided by the estate.