Saturday, 30 May 2015

Honeymoon Day 1: London to Noto, Sicily

Noto's cathedral 
We didn't start our honeymoon until the Monday after our wedding. Pushing the boat out for the holiday of a lifetime, we caught the train to Gatwick, picked up some sandwiches in Eat so we could have a picnic on the plane and caught an Easyjet flight to Catania in Sicily. Don't say we don't know how to live!

Arriving in Sicily we belatedly found the Avis car hire desk outside of the terminal building. Although it was a little difficult to find, we crucially got there before the rest of the passengers on our flight and were able to pick up the car without too much of a wait.

I was quite nervous about driving in Italy having heard stories over the year of manic drivers and crowded roads. Overall driving in Italy wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, however, the road signs were completely shocking. Leaving the airport you'd think there would be some signage to the major motorway nearby. There was nothing. Following signs to Syracuse we ended up on a minor road heading south roughly parallel to the motorway. The minor road was a good introduction to learn that no one obeys the speed limits and we were able to connect with the motorway a bit further south and start speeding to our destination.
A practice for the Noto flower festival
It took us just over an hour and a half to get to Noto where we were staying for the first three nights of our honeymoon. Miraculously, considering the road signs, we managed to find our way relatively easily into the centre of town. We drove past our hotel which was tucked down a side street, but realising we had overshot we parked the car a couple of streets further on and walked back to the hotel. (I have a bit of paranoia about getting into small car parking spaces, but there was thankfully a nice big gap for us to swing into.)

We checked into our hotel which thankfully seemed very nice. It looked like one of the best hotels in town, but only has a 3* rating, so I was a bit concerned all those nice looking photos on the website could have been deceptive!

It was already early evening so we decided to head out for a quick walk round town before going for dinner. A baroque town built in the sixteenth century, Noto's (small) main street was gloriously impressive. In the street where our hotel was located there was a practice for the upcoming flower festival and the cathedral was looking lovely in the evening sun as the locals promenaded up and down the main street.
Pane, Panelle e Gamberoricotta al Limone e Songino 
After a short walk round town we decided to head for dinner at Ristorante Crocofisso which we'd selected from the guide book and was supposed to be one of the smarter restaurants in town.

This was my first real Italian restaurant experience (in Italy) and I was a little at sea to begin with. My Italian is minimal and I had no idea what all the dishes were. They also gave us two menus which after a while I worked out was a 'fish' menu and a 'meat' menu. Could you mix and match? Should you order a primi and a secondi? Through a combination of Becks' Italian and our friendly waiter I was soon a little more on track.

It was an enjoyable evening and our waiter was very friendly and helpful. The food was good, however, as we learnt during the week, the standard in Sicily was very high. I'm pleased we had a white linen table cloth experience while we were on honeymoon, but considering at €85 it was over twice the price of the trattorias we ate in most nights, it failed to stand out.

Spagetti with broad beans, carrot and lamb

Ricotta ravioli and pork belly

Pistachio canoli with almond ice cream

Pistachio cake, with pistachio ice cream and pear poached in nero d'avola


  1. If you had one evening in Noto would you go here or Manna?

  2. That's easy, Manna for the smart dining experience. If you want to eat with the locals check out my other Noto posts for another good suggestion.