Catania to Pantalica Solarino
Walking through a big city at 03:30 in the morning gives me a somewhat uneasy feeling. Night owls are still roaming the streets but besides a hooker asking for a cigarette, it's an uneventful walk. An hour later I hit the beach. Dawn is approaching and looking back at Catania with Etna majestically rising behind is simply spectacular. I go for a quick swim before joining a long road walk along a state highway taking me inland. While the shoulders are surprisingly wide, rubbish and the stark smell of rubbish make it slightly unpleasant. The roads are getting quieter and cleaner, the views of the dry, sparse landscape much better. It's actually a very lovely walk in the heat. I can cope with it just fine. Better than the soles of my sandals for sure, which get really soft. As a result, gravel on the road easily penetrates the soft rubber. Every now and then I need to scratch the gravel out of the rubber. They are in a good shape anymore. Fingers crossed they will last another two days
Walking is a breeze and before I know I arrive in Sortino. Remote and authentic. I like the village. After a second Gelato, I am descending into a valley. Orange and lime trees left and right. It's like diving into another world. Much greener and cooler. By this time, I already have 55 kilometers in my leg and I start feeling tired. Time to look for a spot to camp. I knew it wouldn't be easy so I marked some spots on the map yesterday (thank you Google Street View). With that and a bit of improvising I find a suitable spot amids orange trees. Super tired but super happy after a unexpectedly nice day.