In the summer of 2007, I spent a glorious summer studying in the coastal town of Siracusa, Sicily. It was not my first trip to Italy, that being Rome in 2005, but the place where I truly had the time to observe regional Italian culture, in this case Sicilian. I had plenty of pasta, made many friends, and had experiences to remember for a lifetime.
It had always been my dream to return, and eleven years later, the opportunity arose as part of my trip to Jordan and France. The ticket from Paris to Catania (the nearest airport) was absurdly cheap, so I grabbed it with both hands.
I was greeted at the airport by a friend I had made on my previous trip and his girlfriend. The first stop was Bar Cristina, where I had my favorite dish, spaghetti scoglio, essentially spaghetti with a variety of seafood. There is no other tomato better than the ones that grow in Italy, and the dish was as good as I remembered it eleven years prior.
After this, it was a walk around the harbor, reminiscing of times past.
The irony is, besides restaurants, nothing really changed at all. I suppose this is the case for a place that is more than one thousand years old.
The center, Piazza Duomo, was just as I remember it, glorious and spectacular.
Thankfully, it was not as crowded (or hot) as is the case in the summer months.
On the walk back from the harbor, there was an interesting parade going on. I’m not sure what the meaning was, but the images were rather surreal.
After this, it was time to grab dinner at the restaurant La Tavernetta. This is the restaurant next door to the apartment we were staying at (both have the same owner), and was touted as the most popular restaurant in the city. Coincidentally, the same guy, a young man named Simone, owns both the restaurant and apartments. The apartment, Casa Vacanze Simopiero, is highly recommended, very affordable and excellent location. My dish of choice was linguine with clams. Though there was no tomato sauce, the dish was still rich in flavor nonetheless.
To finish off the day, I ordered a local dessert as well, which I cannot remember the name of, but the taste was otherworldly.
That was quite the way to end day one, and it was off to bed, with thoughts of the next day’s activity: my first ever cooking class!