The Great Plotnik

Thursday, October 31, 2013

So long Siracusa (Whistle)

Archidemes is the hero of Syracuse, although the brilliant old mathematician was killed when the Romans invaded in 212 BC, when he was 72. He had been asked to help defend the city and had done so for two years, including devising huge mirrors that burned holes in the Roman ships in the harbor and caught them on fire. But eventually he was killed by a Roman soldier, despite strict orders not to do so. The soldier was himself garroted for killing Archimedes, and today the name Archideme is everywhere.

We stayed at the Hotel Archideme where they have a parrot whose name is Archideme. 

When you say "Hello Archideme, you pretty bird!" he stares at you. As soon as you walk away he whistles.

Peter heard of a parrot who answers the question "Hello, pretty bird! Can you talk?" with "I can talk. Can you fly?"

We stayed three nights in Siracusa, which was one too many, but the market was the best we've seen anywhere in Sicily and the fish were fresher and more delicious too. Our hotel was old and crumbling, but clean and cheap (around $50 bucks a night which is a great deal these days), which included breakfast, but it was laughably bad so we bought a box of cereal and went down the street for coffee from the old lady in the apron.

In the Siracusa market the fishermen sit on boxes on the street cleaning sea urchins and mussels and preparing octopi and calamari for sale. The fish are still alive, their hearts beating as people line up to buy them. 

In the little shops they serve a hot ricotta with fresh oregano that you eat with a spoon and is so good you understand why everyone invades this island. In the seafood risotto all the little creatures taste sweet, like the sea. No rubber.

We said goodbye to Archimede the parrot this morning and caught the 10:30 train to
Taormina, which is a tourist town but is perched on the side of a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea. Archideme said nothing, but when I dragged my suitcase out the front door I heard him whistle.


At 3:17 AM, Blogger The Fevered Brain said...

Is that a "Smoking Allowed" logo on the train car? They allow smoking on trains in Sicily? Amazing.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

what a sad looking parrot, but love all the people photos!


Post a Comment

<< Home