April 7, 2017: From Noto to Catania

Friday.  This is it, our big moving day.  We started the day in Noto, Sicily, Italy and will finish our move tomorrow night in the dark in Kiev, Ukraine with friends.  What a huge day and the start of yet another amazing Miller family adventure.  There is always so much excitement in the air as we move on to a new country and we are all really looking forward to what lies ahead in Ukraine.  This is one of our rare trips where we are moving to a place where we have lots of friends so unlike Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, and Nicaragua where we moved without knowing anyone and being completely on our own, we will be arriving and have friends meeting us at the airport and around to help us with things.  There is a lot less to go wrong on a trip like this and after how badly things went in Noto, we are really looking forward to this.

I was up early and managed to do a little posting while I attempted to manage the last minute photo uploads to Flickr.  My policy is to always attempt to have all media uploaded before a moving day because there is always so much risk of things going wrong, like phones being lost or stolen, on a day like this and we would hate to lose things like our pictures.  We have to take our chances with our videos, though.  Our Internet is Noto (and Rome, and Palermo) was always so bad that we could not even attempt uploading videos.  As it is, I am just making do with whatever pictures I can upload and have to take chances with the rest.  It is what it is.

While uploads were going and the kids were just waking up and getting ready to go, I ran down to the bank to hit the ATM for our final round of cash before we left.  Don’t want to travel without any cash available to us.

Back at the house it was a final round of cleaning, some final espresso from our true Italian “on the range top” espresso “machine” and then time to wait for our ride to the bus station.  This was the same woman that had taken me up to the hospital when I had pneumonia.  My pneumonia, by the way, is much better now.  I’m not one hundred percent, but I am not too bad.  I still have a bit of a cough, but it is lingering from before and I am certainly feeling much better.

It was a super tight squeeze right at the end as the last of our stuff did not fit into the luggage for the final packing.  Dominica had to struggle quite a bit to get us completely packed up and not to leave stuff behind.  Our guess is that the humidity in Italy is a little higher than Texas and our clothes and stuff have swollen from that.  We do not have more “stuff” here now than we did before.  If anything, we have fewer things to take on with us.

Our ride to the bus station arrived, I posted our status and shut down the laptop, threw it in my back pack and we were out the door.  Dominica and the girls rode down with her, I took what was left and walked down the hill with it on my own.  It was a lot of luggage to move, but I made it.

We waited at the bus stop and found it a bit confusing this morning as the busses came out of order and ours was late and none were labeled well.  We bought some breakfast foods from the little cart there and the girls played on the playground one last time while we were waiting.  Noto has been a city of playground time for the girls as it was one of our main activities while we were here.  It has been good for them.

We were onto the bus and underway up to Catania.  We are taking the bus the whole way so that it is cheaper and easier.  We are in no rush to get up there as we have a hotel there tonight and do not fly out until the morning.  So we have all day to get to Catania, but transfering to the train in Siracusa would mean moving all of this luggage again and we really do not want to deal with that!

We went through Avola for one last time.  We went past Siracusa.  We arrived in Catania and caught the hotel shuttle from the airport (the bus goes to the airport itself) to our hotel.  It was the same hotel that Dominica had used when she was transferring to Orlando for Tricia’s wedding back in February which was handy as she already knew where to go and what to do.

We got to the hotel and it was really nice.  We had a good room and immediately noticed that the Internet access was incredible.  We managed to do more uploading while in the hotel tonight in a single night than we did the entire time that we were in Rome, Noto and Palermo over a period of nearly three months!  I had almost forgotten what real Internet access was like.

We hooked up our Fire TV Stick to the television in the room as well, connected it to the wifi, and were able to use all of our online accounts.  Such a great system.  We’ve been doing that since we were in Panama and are so glad that we carry a Fire Stick with us, it’s one of those really great traveler’s tips.  It is so useful.

For dinner we just ate in the hotel’s restaurant.  Dominica, Liesl, and I did a vegetarian buffet option that they had. It was rather limited, but pretty good.  Luciana ordered calamari.

Back in our hotel room the girls watched Sing tonight.

After our dinner and movie it was time for bed.  We have power, water, hot showers, fast Internet… life is good again.  Tomorrow, onward to Germany and then Ukraine.  Our second new country (after Vatican City) of 2017.