We have decided to take a road trip though Sicily. We did not book a hotel, plan a route, or get a road map before setting out. We decided to be spontaneous and find our way. We would get in the car, board the ferry, land in Sicily, and see where the road takes us. So we set off in the early hours of the morning.
We took the Virtu Ferry from Valletta, Malta, to Polazzo, in the south of Sicily. We had to be at the ferry at 5.15am, so we were up at 4am, packing the car with a suitcase, a backpack, some beach towels and two sleeping children. The ferry ride was uneventful – probably because we all slept through the 1.5 hour journey. On arriving in Polazzo we decided to make our way to Siracuse and spend our first night there. We also decided then to buy a guide book at a local garage, so that we could determine which sights we wanted to see, and which towns we wanted to drive though, or past, or around. Armed with said guide book in hand (I don’t like GPS’s on road trips – takes the fun out of exploring and getting lost) we traversed the roads of Siracusa, not knowing where we were, or where we were going. Whatever street we were on, we could not find on the map (yes, we were looking at the right one!). We also could not find the “touristy” spots – we drove the industrial area flat, going round and round in circles due to all the one ways. We eventually ended up in a place called Augusta (which is in the Siracusa province, but far from the Siracuse centre…).
In our guide book, we found what looked to be a great hotel. We called to find out if they had a room available, and ask for directions. The lady who answered the phone could not speak English (and I don’t speak Italian – yet) so she could not answer either question. (We have subsequently discovered that English is not very widely spoken in Sicily and have pledged to learn to speak Italian if we are going to do this road trip thing on a more
regular basis!). Some more driving around and we found ourselves at Europacar. A very sweet couple there assisted us. Again, they spoke no English, but through lots of hand signals and pointing at the map, they figured out where we wanted to go. They kindly called the hotel, confirmed rooms where available, and then insisted we follow them so they could show us where the hotel was. A good 10 minute drive away, and we finally had a place to stay. The hotel was not in Augusta, but rather situated in Brucoli.
How wonderful that we met such kind people who were willing to go out of their way to assist complete strangers, and make our impression of Sicily such a great one!
The hotel was the Venus Sea Garden. What a fantastic hotel, with exceptional views! Situated right on the rocks overlooking the Ionio Sea, it is tranquil and beautiful and a place to refill your soul. Dinner was at the Villa Dei Cesari which provided deliciously
intoxicating food and wine! With everything on the menu being in Italian, we struggled to understand what we were ordering (other than the standard Parma Ham and Spaghetti of course…) and again, a kind gentleman at the table next to us assisted in translating our menu, and then our order to the waiter.
What a great 1st day we enjoyed in Sicily!