March 3, 2017: Avola

Today is our day to go check out the beach at Avola.  We wanted to do more, but there just is not the time to do a trip to Palermo before Ryan needs to get on the road.  So Avola was about the only thing that we could get to easily without being so far away from the house that it would cause problems for Ryan getting to his overnight train which leaves Siracusa tonight a little before ten in the evening.  Avola is the next city to Noto, just about ten kilometres away down by the sea to the east of us.

We thought about getting an early start, but that did not happen.  I managed to get a lot done, though, before everyone was up and moving so that was not a problem for me.  We got one of the earlier buses heading down the mountain and that worked out well.  The trip is only about fifteen minutes.

On the way to the bus, though, both girls ran in their flip flops and Luciana fell on the pavement and hurt her knees pretty badly.  She had blood running down her legs while we road the bus.  It did not make for a happy start to the day, which was awful as the girls had been so excited when we left the house just minutes before.

We were not sure where to get off of the bus so we just got off downtown and walked towards the beach.  That was probably not the best decision as it was rather a long walk and Luciana did not feel that she could walk at all because her knees hurt which left me carrying her, again.  My back is really feeling it today.

We stumbled on a truck selling strawberries and nothing but strawberries.  We tried to buy just two packages but they were selling them by the palette so that is what we bought.  But the price was great.  Eight Euros for eight packages of strawberries.  We easily pay two fifty each up in Noto on a regular basis.  It is almost worth riding the bus down to Avola just to buy them down here!

Dominica in Avola with Strawberries

Next to the strawberry truck we found an awesome little cafe that did all kinds of baked goods and sweets.  We got coffee for the adults and tried to desserts for the girls.  Our girls really do not eat dessert much so that is a struggle, but one we are happy with.  Luciana found a little ricotta topped cookie thing that she loved and said that it “tasted like birthday” and Liesl eventually settled on some puffo gelato that she absolutely loved.  This puffo had some mint in it unlike the one we get in Noto.

Luciana at the Cafe

After we were done eating our pastries and drinking our coffee we made our way down the long walk to the beach.  We were surprised to find a wide street lined with beautiful, mostly modern and very large homes.  It felt a lot like the nice new homes that we saw on Crete a year ago.  Luciana and Liesl (and I as well) entertained ourselves identifying our favourite houses and talking about which ones we would most want to live in.

My pick was one with huge glass windows looking out on the street about halfway down.  Luciana picked one more towards the center of town that had a huge garden in front and a large terrace above the front door.  She liked it because it would have room for all of her future cats.  Liesl liked a long and narrow ultra-modern condo structure very near the beach.  There were a lot of great choices on this stretch, this would be a great place to have a home.

The beach was great.  The sand went very gently very far out and the water was very calm.  It was perfect for the girls because they could go out a really long way and even they were barely up to their knees in the calm water.  And the water was incredibly clean and clear.  Just beautiful.

We stayed on the beach for a few hours.  It was such a nice day.  I took some pictures and some video.  Dominica and I did not go swimming, but Ryan did and the girls were in the water the entire time.

Some locals came by with some kids younger than ours and we thought that it was very funny that our kids were in swimsuits and having a great time swimming for hours while the local kids were in heavy boots and winter coats and avoiding the water itself as it was “so cold.”  It was certainly not a hot summer day, but definitely warm enough for the kids to be in the water!

Avola even provides free public wifi out on the beach, so I was able to stay busy and in contact the entire afternoon.

Overall we had a really nice time.  We were not able to catch the first bus back up to Noto, there just was not enough time for that.  We waited for the second return bus and it was already starting to get a little bit darker by that point.  We really managed to get a lot out of the day.

The walk all of the way back to downtown was long, but at least Luciana was able to walk now and no longer complaining about her knees.

We had maybe forty minutes after we got back to kill before our bus was supposed to come.  So we took some scouting trips and after quite a lot of walking managed to find one pizza shop that was open.  Ryan and I grabbed some pizza and pastries and brought them back to Dominica and the girls who were waiting at the bus stop.  Everything got eaten pretty quickly.

The bus was on time and an easy ride back up to Noto.  The bus is nice and clean, but Dominica really struggles with motion sickness as they all seem to drive like maniacs.

Once we were back, Ryan really needed to get up to the house to shower and get ready to catch the bus to Siracusa.  So I went to the panino truck and got dinner for everyone while the rest of the family went back to the house to relax for the evening.  The food took forever and I was lucky to be able to get it back up to him before he had to leave.

I got back, gave Ryan the food that I had brought and he was out the door to catch his bus, which he made without a problem.  His bus took him to Siracusa where he got directly onto the overnight sleeper train that took him on the cool ferry trip over the Strait of Messina and up to Napoli.  He’ll be visiting Pompeii tomorrow.  Dominica is very sad that we’ve not been able to do that yet, but the girls are just not old enough to appreciate the gravity and importance of that site.  When they are older we will definitely be going there.

Luciana had made me promise that we would go to the playground when we to back.  I tried to make a deal to take her tomorrow instead when it would be warmer and the blow up slides might be there but she insisted that we go tonight.  Liesl did not want to go tonight and asked to go tomorrow.  Oh the problems with two kids instead of one, so I was stuck taking Luciana tonight since I had told her that if she was good that I would.  The struggle is that Luciana has no sense of delayed gratification and Liesl has a strong one so when something like this comes up and there is a good tradeoff from waiting on something, Liesl will jump on the logic of waiting but Luciana just cannot bring herself to wait for the bigger payoff.

We walked down to the city park, just the two of us.  Luciana was there only for a minute in the dark and the cool of the night playing alone before she came and hugged me and said that she was sorry that she had made a bad decision and she hoped that Liesl would have fun tomorrow when she got to come to the playground.  I told her if we went straight back home that I would let her come with her sister tomorrow.

We walked back home and ended up having a nice time just getting to talk the two of us.  We went and sat on the steps of the church across from the house and just hung out talking for at least half an hour. It was a really nice evening.

We got home and put on some Star Trek: The Next Generation before calling it a night.  We are on the first season and the girls are slowly warming up to it.