June 4th – 11th
It’s taken a while to get them here. Maureen said ‘ my son has a yacht- I must sit on it and have a gin and tonic’!!
So they came to Syracuse- and to our surprise they made a belated decision to sleep on the boat too. As they are in their 80’s, that’s very adventurous/ we must admit to being a bit concerned about it and checked out nearby Airb&b accommodation.
Not that one Maureen!!
That’s the one!
Adventurous is the word though. They managed the gangplank ( with help), the stairway, the cabin, the LOO(!!), or head- which needs pumping, no flush button!!
Gin and Tonics were consumed!! As we’re Aperil Spritz’s.
We explored Syracuse,
having a lovely birthday meal for Maureen in the very attractive and grand cathedral square.
There’s a really good market.
which we all enjoyed perusing.
We did a tour using the hop on hop off bus ( only 5 euros), getting off at the Catholic wig wam cathedral and the archaeological site.
We hired a car to have a look at Sicily’s interior. Simon and I visited Pantalica, leaving Maureen and David in a cafe in nearby Sortino village as it was too much walking. They were on their 3rd beer when we returned!!
The tombs, cave dwellings and hermitages date from the Middle Ages when Arab invasions and constant wars led the locals to seek refuge in the inaccessible canyons of this beautiful limestone gorge. There’s also a very attractive blue pool.
Then we went to a beach, in a beautiful cove. Spiaggio del Minareto.
Maureen went in the sea! David didn’t!
We were moored on the elegant town quay ( not so good when they have loud parties at night!), then in the nearby marina after a SAIL! Just for a couple of hours. But we got the sails up and turned off the engine and sailed.
They wanted the experience of anchoring out, so we did that for a night. A calm one. We barbecued, watched the sun set- it was lovely. They enjoyed the gentle rocking of the boat, it’s very restful.
We played Bridge of course!
Then, with their encouragement, we took them on a day sail up the coast to Catania, nearer to the airport and nearer to our next destination ( the Aolian islands). It was their last day. We had to motorsail, due to lack of wind. They both took the helm.
All was fine- then the engine started struggling, just as it had with Sam in the Aegean. And then it CUT! Typical! Just when you don’t want it to! So we were sailing towards our destination- rather slowly. Simon got downstairs to the (very hot) engine and got to work. It took a while, but he fixed it! He’s so amazing!! He seems to be able to fix anything.
Previously, when moving from the Town Quay at Syracuse into the Marina, we’d had a problem with the anchor chain wrapping itself round the gypsy – the mechanism that helps it haul out. So there we were, swinging around our anchor while Simon was trying to sort it out. Lots of huffing and puffing and straining – and the anchor was on board! The part that encourages the chain to leave the gypsy had broken. Simon subsequently repaired it, by filing, grinding, re drilling the bolt holes, re cutting the threads , re screwing the bolt in with new washers. All in the boiling hot sun whilst the guests had their siesta!! He saves us so much money and inconvenience.
With the engine working better than ever, we arrived smoothly to our berth in Catania. Showers were had, a taxi was called and we went into Catania centre for a farewell meal, which was lovely.
Maureen made a conquest!!
Lots of over 80 year olds wouldn’t step outside their comfort zone. Not these two. There’s no holding them back! They wanted the experiences, trying new things. Nothing was a problem. We thoroughly enjoyed their visit. What an amazing and very enjoyable couple.