Stuck in Syracuse
Things haven't gone exactly according to plan today: due to my bike's snapped axle, I had to end the day's riding far earlier than planned; so my hopes of reaching the Monti Iblei now have to be postponed until tomorrow. When I realised that I'd just missed the morning opening hours of the bike repair shop, and that I'd have to wait all afternoon to get my bike fixed up, I decided to find somewhere to dump my shwag for the rest of the day, and to put my feet up for the night. I checked in to the nearby Caravaggio B&B, a nice little place several blocks away from Ortygia (hence somewhat more affordable). I then had the whole afternoon to explore, enjoy, and relax in Syracuse.
An afternoon in Syracuse may sound like paradise; but actually, as it turned out, my experience was hardly so. Firstly, I didn't know exactly when the bike repair shop was going to re-open, as the opening hours weren't advertised on the door or on the windows. In fact, for all I knew, it wasn't going to re-open at all today (but at the time, I preferred not to dwell on that possibility). This meant that I wandered past the shop about 5 times during the afternoon, checking to see if it was open yet; and that each time, I became ever more vexed and frustrated. Secondly, the afternoon siesta problem was not confined to bike repair shops: until about 4pm, there was absolutely nothing open in central Syracuse; and apart from wandering around aimlessly, there was precisely f$#? all to do. In particular, there weren't even any Internet cafes open at this time — since Internet places in larger cities are usually open all day, this was something that made me particularly annoyed.
In conclusion: as far as wandering around goes, Syracuse is a very nice place to do it. I'm not disputing the fact that it's a gorgeous city, with great architecture, rich history, and idyllic surrounds. However, even in a place like Syracuse, there's only so much wandering that one can do, before one begins to wonder just how long one must continue to wander. And when you have a broken bicycle to worry about, and you're frustrated by absolutely everything in town being closed all afternoon, it does make it kinda hard to really dig the serenity, and to appreciate all that beauty around you. Anyway, at least I managed to find an open coffee bar in the afternoon, and to snack on a delicious coneful of gelato.