Noto Antica, Syracusa and Catania

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2018May31, Thursday morning up for the easiest packing ever. The motorcycle was right outside my front door 🙂

First stop, Nota Antica
The young lad at Noto’s theatre had told me about it. And he was walking by the wine bar where I was sat last evening. Convinced me to go. Deserted medieval town? How could I resist. Planned a route last night. 

Lessons not learned: TomTom routes are murder.
My TomTom gps sent me along a route that looked the same as Google’s. Should have checked in more detail. ‎ As per the frog in the pot, TomTom led me along a road that grew more challenging, by slow degrees.  
First there was a sign saying the road had an uneven surface. Not a problem for someone who has survived the backroads of Ukraiina.
Road became a single lane. Done lots of those.
A couple of small fords. Low water levels. Easy? The second one was sneaky. But so was I 😉 Crept up, and spotted the deep part. Rode around it.
The road became steep. Done that.
Added in lots of twisties. Done that. But not with bad surfaces. 
One of the 360’s included an on-coming car. Well, there were homes scattered along this route. ‎
Then it became really interesting.
The last few kilometers may have been a hard-packed surface once upon a time. However, the rains had cut a deep gutter, that meandered all over the place, and was partially filled with rocks. Of course some of the rocks were scattered all over the place.
Just a matter of time.
I lost the front wheel and we went down.
Should have taken a photo!‎ Seriously.
Luckily Jesse luggage, FirstGear jacket, Carhartt jeans, Icon knee armour and BMW bars all did their job.
Took most of the luggage off. Was still a struggle to get the bike upright. Front wheel in the gutter, rear wheel on the bank.  Moved the rear wheel into the gutter. Stood the bike up. Swearing at TomTom helped.
Next struggle was to get going again. The rear wheel was trying to eat it’s way through the hillside. Maybe I should have moved the front wheel onto the bank? Not a good option. Sloping. Rocks here and there. And the gutter zig-zagging. No clear route. Theory being to ride the gutter, and the slope on either side will be there to help me keep the bike upright. Plus I’ll avoid the scattered rocks. It worked. Once I had the bike moving, I followed the gutter.
Another klick and I was on to a regular track. And there was Noto Antica.  
Here’s me at the top, and the valley just ridden……

So much for setting the TomTom option to avoid unpaved roads.
This road is listed as Strada Provinciale 64 (SP64) from Noto to Noto Antica. Don’t take it ! ! !
There is a nice paved route Strada Statale 287 that‎ runs just east, and drops you off at the museum.  That is the route Google recommends.
Better still, from the SS287 you can see the ruined town. Take a photo and move on! hahahaha
Just to put the cherry on the cake, TomTom took me out towards the SS287. And I dropped the bike a second time, when going downhill. On the only 200metres of nasty, by the castle. This time I just picked the bike up, luggage and all. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? hahahahahahaha

Rode on to the first petrol station. 
Bike needed some petrol.
I drank a litre and a half of water.

Next stop Syracusa came quickly enough.
TomTom seems unaware of some town centres, and this was such an instance. Took me to some random spot. Sort of a roundabout. So I stopped. Checked for the island, which is where the historic centre is located. Then threw myself into the frantic traffic again and rode onto the island. Looked nice. Rode around. The plan was‎ to stop for lunch, but nothing looked likely till I was heading out. Scored a plate of rice salad and a bottle of water for 5euros. Taxes and tip included 🙂
Plus a chat with a carpenter from Germany. We traded stories. He’d come off his mountain bike two days ago. Impressive scars.

Last stop was Catania. Have been here twice already for the ferry.

Tricky finding the B&B, as the building was covered in scaffolding. Once inside the courtyard, gave the bike another check. Clutch needed adjusting (was engaging really high). Repaired the RHS handle-bar muff with duck tape. Adjusted the locks on the RHS pannier. Checked the oil (lots). Checked the chain (OK). Cleaned the front shocks. Aside from the dust, new scrapes on the RHS pannier, duck tape on the RHS muff, the bike looks and feels none the worse 🙂
Rode the bike to parking.
Picked up a glass of wine on my way back.

B&B is a nice older building, updated inside.
Went out for supper.

Ooops. Should not have gone to BIF’s. 
Will post the review soon.

Walked on. Where would I find supper now?
Apparently ANYWHERE. Never seen such a collection of restaurants. 
Found a likely place. Had a simple pasta dish and a nice glass of wine. 

Had a walkabout. Saw the major sights. Cantania is nice!‎ And lively.

And so to bed.
Thursday was an adventure. ‎
Will begin to ache on Friday.