We arrived in Marina di Ragusa, our winter berth, and within minutes had been invited round to neighbours for a coffee. We rapidly realised that this is a super friendly and sociable place to be holed up for the winter. This was going to be a great opportunity to catch up with the blog, www.madabouttheboat.com, and all the jobs we had been putting off.
Our first outing was a day trip to a farm near Palazzolo Acreide where we were to spend the day olive picking. Gorgeous people fabulous food and great fun! We had a wonderful meal and were delighted to have picked about 40 kilos of olives which in turn will make about 8 bottles of virgin olive oil the colour of pale lime juice and tasting like fresh cut grass!
What with happy hours, beach exercises, volleyball, beach combing, Italian lessons, there was only just time to fit in a rigorous regime of cleaning, sorting, fixing and fettling!!
On the 7th November we hired a car and set off north to Messina where we were due to meet Ian’s parents Harry and June at their cruise stop off in Messina.
We had a lovely day with them, chatting, walking and eating.
We waved them off and drove through the deepening gloom to our overnight stop in Randazzo. Passing deserted lift stations as the rain and night descended made us feel slightly disconcerted as we spotted dark lava floes and a distinct lack of vegetation. We pulled up into the village and found our B and B (thankfully not the derelict building first identified on Google maps) and were welcomed by Rosario.
We walked miles around the town to find that the restaurant he’d recommended was closed so we finally came across a pizzeria and tucked in to, what else? a firey pizza named Etna!!!
next day we drove up the slopes of the volcano and after a few dead ends found the main cable car. The cost a a return trip to the summit being 63 Euros each we decided against going up. The view was better from where we were.
We thoroughly enjoyed the change in temp – well for a few minutes anyway! and were so glad we’d taken a coat and hat! Down on the coast it had been a comfortable 20 degrees.
Next stop was beautiful Noto, with its incredible array of baroque buildings and over the top architecture. Literally a church on every block. Stunning.
After our lovely two day trip it was time to get down to some serious work
on the boat to prepare her for winter in the Marina.
Completing our top tips for winterising a boat:- Cleaning everything, polishing all stainless steel, washing the anchor and chain and anchor locker, washing and sterilising bilges, winterising the engines and generator, flushing fresh water down the heads, removing and washing all lines, (using mouse lines to track the route of all the lines) and generally fixing stuff that we have broken over the summer. More on this later.
Before we could blink it was time to return to the UK. We had a LOVELY week catching up with friends and family.
Perfect preparation for our season in Val d’Isere!