Have you ever visited a place and felt that you nust have missed it? After an early Sunday morning start and jeep tour of Etna (I know, I’m getting to it!) travelling friend and I had a couple of hours to pass before dinner, and amazingly since we had hiked up five thousand feet, still some energy left.
On the way we went through Giarre and Davide explained the hideous traffic as all the locals heading for their nearest beach at Riposto. We thought we would check it out. Compared to the country roads, it was still busy at five thirty and Giarre was only place in Sicily where we experienced the wrath of a Sicilian driver thoroughtly irritated because we tried to take a wrong turning. He even did fist waving. Maybe one day he will find out what its like driving on the wrong side of the road, in chaotic traffic with a distinct lack of direction signs!
After going in circles for twenty minutes looking for the Old Town of Giarre because the guide book said it was nice, we found ourselves at Riposto, with a quiet road to park on and a nose for the direction of the coast. The only shops we saw were selling clothes, for skiny women to wear clubbing and gelatto shops. I’ve since learnt that Riposto has a reputation for the best gelatto anywhere, but we were stuffed from cheese and honeytasting at our late lunch and looking forward to antipasti and fish for dinner.
We could smell the sea and were anticipating a paddle and stroll along a nice beach, it must be good to account for the morning’s traffic and crossed onto the prom heading south. There was no beach, just a few metres of rocks with quite a bit of rubbish. Oh well, the fresh air and gentle stroll was nice as were the views of the mountains so we pootled for an hour befre giving it up as a bad job.
We chose to drive the coast road in the hope that there would be somewhere pretty to stop again but instead got in a traffic queue. It seems that the place for a market in Riposto is the road beside the sea, we we were going slow enough to have reached out the windows and bought from the stalls each side. Now, I’m a real fan of a good market, especially in foreign countries, but I’m not a fan of cheap imports and I can’t imagine who would buy such junk and there was masses of it. Sad to see when there is so much creativity and wonderful local produce, such as the cheese we had tasted earlier.
There was nowhere obvious to stop and see if the beach got any better, Riposto just trickled on until we reached Fiumefreddo. The beach there is still shingle but very clean. I’m sorry Riposto that I can’t write that I found your beauty and that it was a pleasure to visit. If I’ve missed something wonderful perhaps you’ll invite me back and show me around, I promise to tell everyone they must go if you do! Meanwhile you get a four out of ten I’m afraid.