Noto; Ortigia; Taormina, Italy.

25 Jul 2019 – Thursday.

Flo and I took it easy Thursday morning, before finally setting off to Noto. We’d seen videos of it’s gorgeous clear waters and found out that there was a walking trail linking about 3 beaches together.

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So crystal clear!

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The beaches weren’t as crowded as many of the others we’d visited, with most beach-goers being made up of locals grabbing the hot weather by the horns.

We started off with the intention to do the walking trail, but again, the heat just got to me, and the beginning part was very sandy, making it difficult to walk through. My heart wasn’t in it and when we were at the halfway point between beaches 1 and 2, noting that they weren’t very far apart at all, I pretty much gave up.

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Instead, Flo and I sat down for a bit, enjoying the deeper waters below us and observing a father and son playing and swimming together before heading back to the beach.

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We spent all of 30min (max) in Noto before we headed off to Ortigia, Syracuse, where our first stop was a gelateria.

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I remember reading that this place sold good gelato but to Flo’s dismay, Stracciatella came as Cookies and Cream. When Flo queried it, the server insisted it was stracciatella and that was simply how their gelateria made it. Even I, a gelato noob, after tasting every stracciatella gelato Flo had ordered throughout our trip, knew it wasn’t stracciatella.

After the blast of the air con in the gelateria, we thawed under the last of the sun’s rays in front of the harbour.

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We had a cold drink each but I wasn’t comfortable sitting on the hard seat and was itching to walk.

Ortiga has a quaint charm about it, much like so many other towns around Italy. There were some uphills and downhills, but nothing too steep, and the water around it created an air of serenity around.

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In the piazza, sat the immaculate looking Cathedral of Syracuse. Considering that it was from the 7th Century, it is very well-preserved and maintained.

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We took our time to stroll around towards the end of the island, and weaved through their streets in search of a little something we wanted to bring back for Les. I knew I wanted to get her some lemon or orange marmalade seeing that we were in Sicily, and Les enjoys a well-made hunk of bread. We found quite a few shops selling what we wanted but the one shop that really caught my eye was closed for the day. So we decided to leave marmalade hunting for after dinner.

We settled on this quirky Trattoria for dinner. All their tables and chairs were different, as were their serving dishes.

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Inside, they had lots of cake on display near the entrance, and interesting artefacts all over the place, including dolls. Yup! Not teeny tiny ones, but big ones like the one you might be able to spot in the above photo sitting on a chair by the door.

All their menu covers were different too!

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I decided on having hot minestrone

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With a Sicilian special of Caponata – Stewed eggplant with tomatoes which is a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, but altogether, slides down the throat easily.

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Flo had Ricotta Ravioli with Marinara Sauce.

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Good, but not quite as good as the one I’d ordered in Rome.

After dinner, we just about managed to catch the tailed of sunset which set the entire sky ablaze in hues of oranges, reds, pinks and purples.

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We managed to find a nice bottle of orange marmalade after tasting through near enough everything in the shop, before it was time for Flo’s gelato fix.

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26 Jul 2019 – Friday.

Our last full day in Sicily, and Italy. We weren’t sure where else to go in Sicily and were a bit tired out with all the travelling. Still, I figured why not go to Taormina even though Flo had been before and thought it to be too touristy.

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It turned out to be another very picturesque town overlooking the sea. When we arrived, it was still rather on the empty side and only when we left around mid-afternoon, did it start to fill up a lot more.

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Can’t escape historical buildings anywhere in Italy. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. I find that all the buildings have a character of their own and I really felt awed looking at them – all the small details and how well-structured they are.

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View down from Taormina.

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Pregnant but still able to fit through a narrow walkway!

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Biscotti galore! We were tempted to buy some but the sample we tried wasn’t great. The biscotti tasted stale so we vetoed the idea.

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Our last meal in Italy, we returned to Catania and back to Pidatella since it’d been tried and tested. Flo and I ordered an Antipasti Platter. Some were delicious, some were meh, some I couldn’t eat. The prawns were my highlight! And the fried fish were decent but since they weren’t freshly fried, their breadcrumb coating was on the soggy side.

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I saw on Instagram that someone had ordered something in Pidatella that I was curious to try. I showed the server the picture and he said it was the Sauteed Clams and Mussels. I wasn’t so sure. Neither was Flo. But we had little to go by and went ahead with it.

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I’m very sure it wasn’t the dish I’d showed him in the picture, but at least the clams and mussels were fresh.

Flo went for the Penne with Salmon in Cream Sauce. It didn’t turn out the way both of us had expected. It was tasty, no doubt about it, but it was extremely rich and heavy. Definitely more a dish to be shared than to be had by one.

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We had an early night that evening having to wake before 6am to drive to the airport, return our rental car and catch our plane back to Zurich, from Zurich to London, and then from London all the way back to Singapore.

We were reluctant to leave Italy, but excited to return home again, back to our bed, back to our home, and back to dim sum!! The last one was more for me. More than that, we were excited because the week we returned was the week we had our 20th week scan for our three dumplings.

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To be honest, writing this string of blog entries on Italy since losing our babies has been tough, especially since my belly grew substantially over the course of our holiday – From being nearly non-existent, to being hard to ignore. The upside is that it reminded me of all the wonderful memories we had with them in Italy. It was our first as a ‘secret’ family of five, and our last, but carrying them around, feeding them delicious food, and feeling the beginnings of them moving was an incredible blessing. I am honoured that they chose to be part of our family even if only for a while. They taught me how amazing love can be in a way I never full understood before, and for that, I will be forever thankful.

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