Noto, Sicily

Dearest Reader, bear with me while I tell you about how I ended up in hospital in Noto with a doctor asking me whether I would like to have my operation in Italy or England!

Let me begin by telling you about the book that I have been reading.  Perhaps you have heard of it. It’s called ‘Living Danishly‘.

The writer recounts her stressful life in London and how she and her husband packed it all in to live the middle of nowhere in Denmark. During her time there she investigates the high happiness levels of Danes (apparently they are the happiest people in the world) and asks them to rank their happiness level from 1 to 10,  10 being the highest.

Before I left London I was a 5 or 6. In Sicily I steadily felt the number rise each day until in Noto I decided that I was 9 bordering on 10.

I was laying in bed that morning reading this book in a beautiful high ceilinged B&B bedroom. The sun was shining through the french widows, birds were chirping and I could hear people talking in italian as they walked down the cobbled street below. Sicily was turning out to be my version of heaven.

Sadly about an hour after this feeling of bliss I pulled a muscle in my back and then slipped on some tiles and ripped up my ankle and knee. I then got a fever and upset stomach during the night and to make a long story short I ended up in the aforementioned local hospital with a doctor asking me would i like my operation here or back in England. Thank you universe! 🙂

Luckily they dosed me up on some painkillers (finally hit that level 10 of happiness) and after some tests the doctor decided I didn’t need an operation after all. Phew!

But let me share some photos of the happy places before all that happened.

Guidebooks are great for giving you a general sense of where to explore, but it’s the local knowledge that helps you find the sparklers. Our first question in Sicily was where is the best beach. Let me introduce – Eloro! Isn’t she magnificent!

noto-elora-beach

It was amazing – long stretch of sandy beach with very few people. It’s a natural beach – so no loungers or beach bars – just peace and quiet.

noto-elora-beach-stuff

The water is shallow (waist high) right out for a good 200 yards.

elora-beach-5

And the water is sparkling clear.

elora-noto-sea

Bring your own umbrella and settle in with a good book.

elora-beach-empty

As the sun sets, pack up your things and head back to Noto for dinner.

elora-beach-twilight

Starting with antipasti, a glass of wine and a spot of people watching during the evening passeggiata.

edd-noto-food

Then wander around the beautiful streets and check out the churches and parades.

l1000841l1000842l1000844

Followed by the main event – Pizza!

noto-pizza-2noto-pizza

I convinced myself that my gluten intolerance was a figment of my imagination. This may have partly been the reason I ended up in hospital.

Overall, Noto was gorgeous. busy and touristy yes. But Eloro made up for the bustle with it’s peace and quiet.

We broke up the drive from Agrigento to Noto with a stop over at Piazza Armerina to see the Villa Romana del Casale. The intricate mosaic floors have been almost perfectly preserved for a thousand years thanks to a mud landslide that kept them protected. They didn’t allow photos so I have none to share but I would recommend it.

Also, We stopped between there and Noto at a place called Caltagirone. It seems to be the centre of ceramic design and manufacture and in August they put on a light display on a giant staircase in the middle of town. We had the best meal of our trip here.

Swordfish sausage, fish with sweet red onion, tapenade, sea bass carpaccio with ginger and orange. Yummmmm. I was a bit embarrassed about taking the photos. Not sure if I will do it again. Oh and definitely try Pasta alla Norma! It is AMAZING!!

Right, on that note I will leave you and prepare the next leg of the trip: Taormina!

Advertisements