Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Saw a Sign

Day 68

As my alarm when off my brain protested. I had sat up way too late and now I could really feel it. Still, I showered and got my act together to move on. I made the 11 am bus to Catania, despite grabbing water and only have 15 minutes to get there!

I have about a 45 minute time span in which I can carry my bag comfortably. The hotter its been getting the harder it has gotten to carry the dumb thing around. When I got off of the bus I was really confused about where I was and my map was really inadequate. It was just a flyer that I had picked up about the hostel I was staying at. The first person I asked for directions sent me the wrong way and then when he saw me come back he laughed. Jackass. Thankfully a kind pharmacist left his store for a minute to point me in the right direction.

Even with his help I was missing a few streets on the map and was confused. When I got to the Duomo I knew that I was close, but didn’t know how close or which way. Then I smelled the fish market, I knew from the flyer that my hostel was right next to that. When I was just about to wander out of a small square I saw a miniature sign pointing towards the hostel. It had been about 1.5 hours since the bus had dropped me off and I was thrilled to find the hostel.

I attempted to book a tour to Mt. Etna for the next day, but it was full and I ended up with a reservation for Thursday instead. I was quick about dropping my stuff off so that I would have some time left to see the sites.

After wandering aimlessly for some time I did manage to visit the Duomo. The building is not remarkable, but there were some interesting landmarks. The mummy of Cardinal Dusmet was there. His face is covered by a metal mask, but his 300 years are apparent on his uncovered hands. Vincenzo Bellini, the singer, is also buried here. He was born in Catania and also has a house and museum here.

Catania’s patron saint is St. Agatha. She is very recognizable in art because she is the woman holding a plate with her breasts on them. She refused to renounce her faith so her breasts were cut off and then she was forced to roll in hot coals until she died. Her grave is here as well, however it is behind a gate that is only opened once a year and today was not that day.

Earlier in the day I had met two traveling Canadians, John and Emily. I ran into them again when I went to happy hour at the bar and they invited me to join them. They taught me how to play crazy 8’s. I don’t know if I got it or not, but it was still fun. John and Emily had a tour in the morning and called it an early night. I followed soon after.

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