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One day cruise stop Catania Sicily Trip Report

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One day cruise stop Catania Sicily Trip Report

Old Nov 26th, 2015, 12:15 PM
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One day cruise stop Catania Sicily Trip Report

Second Italian Port Catania Sicily

As I mentioned in my previous post our cruise diverted from three nights in Israel so Sicily was the first of the unscheduled ports of call.

I had done some research on Sicily a couple of years ago just to see if it might be a good place for a future trip. All I could remember was it seemed like a good possibility and it had some interesting archaeological sites as well. This seemed like a good opportunity to some serious feet on the ground research.

We really had no idea what Catania is like. When we got off the dock area a traffic cop pointed to the left and said you want to go about 300 meters that way to get to the old town. So off we went. We essentially followed the raised and vaulted railway wall until we found the entrance to the town square . What a surprise. This isn’t anything like Rome Sorrento or Naples. The buildings were large and grand. The main thoroughfare was wide where we entered at the main square. Everything looked in remarkable repair and everything is the same gray colour.

We found out later that the entire part of the old city was rebuilt in the Baroque style after an earthquake in the 1690’s using lava as the building material.

We just walked up the main thoroughfare snapping pictures and enjoying it all and walked up to see the amphitheater.

It was at this point that we all decided our touring styles were so different that we had to set some new ground rules. We love exploring a new place while the other couple love to shop. No value judgement here just stating a fact. We agreed to go our own ways and meet back at the ship.

I heard someone talking about a local market so we wandered back towards the main square and found it although it was now closing and in clean up mode. However there appeared to be sufficinet activity to make it interesting so we wandered in. We wished we could have seen it in full swing because even now the whole area showed great promise and gave us a flavour of what it must have been like when it was open. The market area covers several city blocks so we wandered around until we found a fortress in the middle of nowhere. It is Castello Ursino and it was hosting a Chagall exhibit so we took in some culture. So unlike us!

We returned to the ship and added Sicily to our list of places where we need to return to explore in depth.

This cruise with its daily stops does not give enough time to really do much but it certainly is a good way to scout out future trips.

Images of Catania
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...57661708265665
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Old Nov 26th, 2015, 03:21 PM
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Glad you enjoyed Catania, but there is SO much more to Sicily. Several TRs here, including one in progress.
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Old Nov 26th, 2015, 05:32 PM
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The Mr and I usually prefer to travel alone because we too love to explore and take in the history of a place, while our friends enjoy shopping. It's good you were able to work out a compromise. I usually just end up frustrated or feeling guilty!

Looking forward to your next post!
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Old Nov 26th, 2015, 06:11 PM
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Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing.
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Old Nov 26th, 2015, 11:21 PM
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Nice photos, Stan, Catania is a surprise.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 07:22 AM
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Thanks thursdaysd. We liked Catania so much we will return but next time will spend sufficient tine to explore all of Sicily. There is definitely more to see.

Ah Teacher I fully understand the frustrated and feeling guilty part. Our friends simply had about 20 minute tolerance for exploring local sites and then zipped off to look in stores. ( I suspect we were frustrating them as much as they were frustrating us) In Catania the 4th time that happened and we found ourselves standing outside a store waiting we had to make a decision to mutually decided to pursue our own interests and have social time on the ship. Worked great.

Thanks four you kind comments Sasafrass and Adelaidean. You are encouraging.

Just to let you know, this is the last of the Italian portion of the cruise so I will most likely be back on the Greek forum for the rest of my trip report.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 07:27 AM
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Just curious. Was this your first cruise experience? "This cruise with its daily stops does not give enough time to really do much but it certainly is a good way to scout out future trips."
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 08:27 AM
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Nice photos. I didn't realize Catania was that large a city.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 08:28 AM
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We are not experienced cruisers. We mostly do our own planning and booking and spend 5 days to a week at each destination. We prefer slow in depth trips so the cruise was a major departure for us. Thus my comment about daily stops not giving us much time.

We took this particular cruise because it gave us several stops in places we wanted to return to or new places that interested us and we were considering for a future trip.

I would say our experience in Naples, Sicily and later on Malta has given us lots of scope from more leisurely visits in the future.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 08:49 AM
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Love the pics, Stan, especially the water in the fountain and the closing market - you obviously have an eye for quirky perspectives! Catania is on our list too so i'm interested to read as much as possible about it.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 12:17 PM
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I've been checking out Catania since your post, Stan, definitely worth a visit, especially as it's likely to be the arrival/ departure city. Now I've added it to my "one of these days" Sicily itinerary.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 03:38 PM
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When you do make it back to Sicily, be sure to see the Greek temples at Agrigento. I have been to Athens, Ephesus, Rome, Pompeii, etc., etc., and the temples in Sicily are, IMHO, the most beautiful of all. Possibly one reason is the setting, all aligned along the ridge of a high hill overlooking the sea. I can only imagine how impressive they were to people arriving by sea, especially their enemies. Their jaws must have dropped open at the sight. Even today, the first sight of them brought me to a halt, thinking, "OMG, are these real?"

Stan, you have to go and take pics - and post them.

I also love Naples. IMHO, it is a very overlooked city, maybe nice to keep it that way.
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Old Nov 29th, 2015, 07:40 AM
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ann I will take quirky perspectives as a compliment. Thank you.
Adelaidean indeed Catania is an entry port. I think there is lots more to see.
sassafrass I have seen images of those Greek temples. They are definitely on a must see list coming in the future.
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