On friday, we got the chance to be shown around Catania. Public transportation is a challenge in Sicily with trains and buses being very challenging to use. We got shown a nice beach to chill out at during our off time first thing in the morning before the place opened.
We then went right into the middle of Catania and to the coastline. It is covered with cacti, dry grasses, and black volcanic rock cliffs. All of these things are situated around a beautiful blue/emerald sea filled with tons of sea urchins at certain points. It may not be ideal for swimming, but people have set up places to enjoy the Sicilian sun and snorkel in the sea.
There is a fairly steep drop down to the rocks and sea as you walk along. There are several paths that you can take to get closer to the sea at your own risk. Everything that is metal is covered in rust from years of exposure to salty Mediterranean spray.
If you can walk somewhere in this area or jump to it feel free to do so. It seems normal for people to be leaping across 30 foot drops to another ledge. Safety can become an afterthought easily in an area as uniquely positioned as these resort cliffs are for Catania's residents.
There is a neat little harbor that exists in downtown Catania where yachts, fishing boats and their fishermen, tourists, and everyone else alike enjoy every spot however they like. Walk on the jetty if you care to. Hop on the big concrete blocks if its your idea.
You really can go just about anywhere here and feel welcome even if you get weird looks. Fishermen will pose for photos without even asking them to! Catania shows its little bits of magic in its people. The market is a very real place with all kinds of meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. By nuts I mean the place is nuts! Shopkeepers are yelling out to each other and to potential customers. There are so many people crammed into a tiny alleyway and everything is at a shuffle pace. The smells will get to you with the seafood, pork, and all the blood of animals pooling in various areas. The prices of food simply cannot be beaten with everything as fresh as the shop owners can get it there. The market is a true Sicilian experience you must experience at least once! Remember that it closes around 1-2pm in the afternoon and everyone packs up leaving it a normal street again for Reposo (Italy's afternoon break).
We then went inland to the parks of Catania with their fountains, greenery, and street peddlers that will happily sing "Selfie, Selfie, Everybody Loves Selfies" until you buy a stick from them.
The baked goods in Catania are on display in many little shops around the streets where you can get a snack and coffee to get your energy back for more exploring if you need it. They are all fair priced for what you get and going out on a limb for your food is an adventure to enjoy in itself!
There is a large church on what we call elephant square because there is a giant elephant statue on top of the fountain in the center of the square. It is a Catholic church and they were having mass while we were there which was neat to see.
This is a building that is part of a University in Catania... This is their gymnasium and yes it is just as amazing as you might think it is in person!
You see this photo tells a lot. Lets start with the giant Converse advertisement on the building in the background. Cool you saw that! Crazy stuff, but lets not get distracted too much from the neat statue in the left part of the frame. Its not a statue. That guy stands there absolutely still until someone puts money in front of him and he will make a simple gesture. It sounds weird, but it is one of the coolest things to see happen.
This is a happy accident. I saw that there was a wedding going on in the beautiful church and thought 'why not snap a photo of this?'. Well it is a beautiful building on its own, but capturing it when decorated for a wedding and the bird in the sky to the right are subject of being in the right place at the right time!
Anyways, that pretty much sums up my Friday trip to Catania. I got a lunch that was not very good unfortunately, but that was my fault because I got the wrong thing. I will add that I feel like this older guy sometimes when traveling standing in the middle of a square holding up my camera hoping to capture something interesting through my lens before moving on to the next thing.