After a week in Canicatti, we are off to meet more cousins in Siracusa, about 2½ hours away. We have rented an apartment in Ortigia, which is on a small island that is 1 kilometer long and 500 meters wide, connected to the mainland by bridge. It was first inhabited 2,500 years ago! The streets are cobblestoned and very curvy and narrow to throw off invaders.
It is me, Frank, and Enza. We were a little nervous because we came here last year and had an awful time driving. But our hosts met us off the island and had us follow them in right to an open garage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anywhere near our apartment – it turns out the garage that came with the apartment is closed on holidays (which includes every Sunday). No worries – our hosts loaded up their car and drove us to the front door. Wow!
And what an apartment! It is in a palazzo with a courtyard in the middle. It is huge, with a big terrace with a view of the sea. We all squealed with delight – once we caught our breath, since we are on the top floor with no elevator.
And even more interesting – the apartment is owned by a very famous Sicilian, Enzo Maiorca, known all over the world for his free diving records. He once dove without oxygen to 100 meters (that is 300 feet!). He is now in his 80s and swims every day.
His daughter, Patrizia, met us. This was her mother’s family’s home. It is full of fascinating memorabilia and awards from her father’s storied career. Patrizia herself was a record holder as well.
And to make the story even better – when we told Patrizia that we had come to Siracusa to visit Frank’s cousin, Evelina, it turns out that Evelina and Patrizia are good friends! Amazing, since I booked through TripAdvisor. As Patrizia said, “Monde Piccolo” (Small World).