|you can have any colour of fruit as long as it's...|
|polenta with Clara & her parents|
|heavy discounting on thermal underwear|
We meet Mor, from Senegal, who with his uncle, brother and other Senegalese friends have a drumming group. On a Saturday night in a sweaty little club we are hypnotised by their performance - a powerful and dramatic affair, full of joy and passion. Mor, a rather dour and quiet man, glows with adrenaline and happiness as he drives the beat along. Solo dancers, young Senegalese men mostly, step forward to match their moves with the drummers' rhythms in what seems like a challenge, but is often a spontaneous choreography - it's jazz, man. This was an unforgettable evening.
On another day we head down to Syracuse, originally a Greek settlement, and one of the places we didn't manage to get to on our bicycles.
The old town has been renovated and restored - it's pretty and pleasantly pedestrianised. The duomo was built on the site of a Greek temple using the huge doric columns which are still visible. Inside a smaller church there's a Caravaggio hanging over the altar. Down at the shoreline is a spring - the original freshwater source for the city. In complete contrast to Syracuse, Clara takes us to a wonderful tiny mountaintop village called Forza d'Agro north of Catania. Perched on a rocky ridge overlooking the sea, the village's old houses surrounding the fort at the pinnacle have been abandoned. An effort to renovate and restore them has stalled - it's a far cry from the monies that UNESCO heritage sites attract.
|Padre Pio, the omnipresent patron saint of jewellery street vendors|
Our time here has been eventful and fascinating and Clara is in severe danger of having permanent house-guests. She thinks we're joking. We're not. We know we're on a journey, and we have an idea of our route ahead. But nothing prepares us for the wonderful people we meet along the way.
|stencils not bombs|