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Sicily #9

Thursday, 24 July 2014

As we'd had such a full-on day the day before, hiking up Mount Etna and swimming in gorges, we decided to have a nice relaxing beach day to give our bodies a rest and do a little bit more tanning.

As usual, we caught the bus to Syracuse at half past eight, and once we got to the beach we just lazed around on our sunbeds, soaking up some vitamin D and enjoying the sound of the sea. Since tomorrow would be our last full day in Sicily, we decided to make the most of what would probably be our last beach day, so we treated ourselves to a glass of local wine with lunch. We ordered our usual lunch apart from that, but the people who made it were lovely enough to give us some free toasted bread topped with oil and chilli flakes for me, and the same but with cream of tuna for the boy.

We caught the bus back to Catania at six, and since we were quite tired by the time we got back (lounging around on a beach all day is hard work, right?), we decided to give the restaurant at the hostel a go to save us going out anywhere.  The restaurant, 'Rocket from the Kitchen', is set up in the common room in the hostel, and is open to hostel guests as well as non-guests. The restaurant's aim is to provide traditional and authentic Sicilian cuisine whilst being sustainable and ethical – as soon as I read that, I was sold.

Once we'd showered and dried off, we went and sat in the common room, where we were soon greeted and given menus. The menu was written in Italian, but the waiter spoke very fluent English and was kind enough to explain each dish to us (which we didn't even ask him to do!) and point out which dishes were vegetarian. We decided to order both starters and mains, so the boy ordered a fish platter starter (which was beautifully presented) and veal steak for his main dish, while I ordered an aubergine and cous cous starter (which well and truly satisfied the roasted aubergine craving I'd been having for the last few days) and a fresh salad for my main. And of course, we ordered some wine to go with it.

We were given the wine while waited, and it was my favourite wine of the trip. We started off with just a quarter litre, which worked out to a healthy glassful each, but it was so cold and crisp and light that we ended up ordering another quarter of a litre, later. The food arrived pretty quickly, and it was seriously good food, too. The boy's starter came with three different types of fish which he says complimented each other really well, and my aubergine dish was beautiful – smoky sweet aubergine rolled with cous cous, roasted tomatoes and onions, with fresh rocket on the side.

The main dishes were lovely, too – the boy (whose name is Nick by the way, I think I can finally tell you guys that) said his steak was perfectly cooked and really delicious, and my salad was just the light, veggie boost that I needed after over a week of eating pizza and bread every day. The restaurant didn't have a dessert menu, so we paid the bill (a wonderfully surprising €25) and went out to the main square to try out Yogorino, a frozen yogurt/gelato/crepe shop right outside the hostel that we'd spotted that afternoon. Nick ordered half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate, while I opted for just dark chocolate. We then went out into the main square and stood among the crowd watching the football for a little while, enjoying our deliciously rich and intensely chocolate-y gelato and soaking up the atmosphere. Once our gelato bowls were empty, we went back to the hostel and called it a night.

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