Monday, 15 June 2015

Honeymoon Day 3: Riserva Naturale Orientata Oasi faunistica di Vendicari

Ruins of Eloro
When planning our honeymoon I had my eye on a day trip to Regusa, another baroque town in southern Sicily that is, crucially, home to two Michelin 2* restaurants. However, when it came to deciding what to do for the day we instead chose to head to the coast and the Riserva Naturale Orientata Oasi faunistica di Vendicari.

Our first stop was the Greek ruins of Eloro at the nothern end of the nature reserve. Getting there was a bit of an adventure. We had a long drive down an unmade road and then had to negotiate our way to El Loro down farm tracks with absolutely no road signs. We arrived at a small car park next to the beach, pretty pleased with ourselves that we'd got to the right place first time, only to realise that we were the wrong side of the creek and had to loop back round.

With the exception of a small amphitheatre, it's quite hard to know what you are looking at. The ruins are in a dramatic position above the coast and it was very pleasant to walk round the mown paths in the field. It doesn't have the feel of a place which is visited very frequently.

Next up was the absolutely stunning Villa Romana del Tellaro. Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the Roman villa, but the mosaics were absolutely stunning. There were three large mosaics of a Tiger, hunting scene and Hector (a Trojan prince). Almost as incredible as the mosaics was the fact that we were the only ones there. Perhaps there are finer examples in Sicily, but I was surprised there weren't more people there.

Tonnara di Vendicari
After the Roman villas we headed into the nature reserve proper for the first time. Again in the absence of road signs, Becks perfectly guided us towards the Tonnara di Vendicari, an abandoned tuna factory inside the reserve.

This section of the reserve had been well set up for the visitor with bird hides to watch the pink flamingos on the lake and a boardwalk so that you can access the coast. Once we reached the shorelines we headed north towards the abandoned tuna factory. The roof has gone, but a number of striking pillars remain. It was a bit hot and tired as we looked round, but it had a definite beauty in the Sicilian sun. 

Tonnara di Vendicari
Back at the car, and having consumed a couple of snacks to restore my blood sugar level, we drove round to Cala Mosche a small beach in the nature reserve that can only be reached on foot. After a false turn down a dead end track, we arrived at the car park for the beach and set off on foot.

The beach is a 15 / 20 min walk from the car park. The beach was the most popular attraction of the day with around twenty other people sunbathing and swimming in the water. We headed straight into sea for a swim. It was a little on the chilly side so we had to keep moving.

Coming out of the water we sat on the beach reading for a while before I went for a second dip and then we headed back to the car and home to our hotel.

Arriving back in Noto I got a spot in the car park just next to the hotel and had a play with the parking sensors as I reversed in. Win!

4 - on the way to Cala Mosche