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I’ve been in Siracusa for almost two weeks now. I live next door to one of my work colleagues, who happened to do her CELTA course at the same place as me (St Giles, Brighton) a month after I did. Yesterday we went to the market and were sold seven fennels* for a euro because the stall was closing, then some friendly cheese shop men gave us some big free samples of buffalo mozzarella, followed by goats’ cheese and sun dried tomato sandwiches and glasses (okay, plastic cups) of wine. Though one of the men failed to endear himself to me when he bumped into me later in the street and said: “Do you believe in coincidence? Do you believe in fate? Do you want to go for a coffee sometime?” Um, we live in a tiny town – bumping into you is not a sign, more like an inevitability.

I live about 35 minutes’ walk from work, which is fine with me as I like walking and I’d much rather live here in Ortigia than the more modern area near the school (where most of the other teachers live). Ortigia is very small and it’s quite hard to get lost, though I gave it my best shot the other day when I ended up in an area full of dead ends. It was all a bit Alice in Wonderland for a minute. Which is good thing, obviously.

The weather is unseasonably cold, apparently. Warmer than England but it’s cold inside as the buildings are not built for the winter. My building is very old and gets pretty cold at night but I’ve got myself a hot water bottle and some warm clothes (including some bargain knitwear from the Zara sale and a long-sleeved Elvis T-shirt for €3 from a funny little shop that looked like it’d be expensive). Having said that, it’s sunny almost every day and the sky is blue and cloudless right now. I just went for a walk and sat on the steps of the Duomo, where a white cat always comes to sit by me and laze around in the sun.

The nearest proper beach is a 20-minute bus ride away so I’ll be going there sometime soon. The only beach in Ortigia is tiny and pebbly; picture Brighton Beach if it was small enough to fit into your back yard. There’s a lovely promenade though and some seaside parks, restaurants and bars. Still feels a bit like I’m on holiday whenever I’m not at work.

*is the word fennel countable or uncountable? A fennel? A piece/bulb/stalk of fennel?! Jesus, I’m not even sure I like fennel, just couldn’t resist a bargain…

4 Responses to “Ortigia”
  1. lauret virginie says:

    Hi i’m sure you’re dying to know that fennel is uncountable (according to Collins dictionary ). Enjoy the weather and your new adventure 😉

  2. Lydia says:

    I am hoping you are going to meet a nice Italian and have lots of bambinos – oh, my God I sound like me mother ………arghhhhhhhhhhhh

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