Showing posts with label Arlington National Cemetary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arlington National Cemetary. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Searching for Catania Sicily’s “Pescheria”

While dozens of our fellow cruise passengers opted to head out for Taormina and Mt. Etna, we set out on foot in Catania, Sicily with one ‘must-see' destination in mind.

No, not Catania’s Cathedral, pictured below, although it was quite wonderful. We were seeking its famed “Pescheria” (Fish Market) . . .

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“It is near the Cathedral,” advised both guide books and internet sites we’d studied before our trip. The Cathedral, rebuilt after a 1669 earthquake, was an easy walk of about 20 minutes from the port where we’d disembarked our ship, the Celebrity Silhouette.

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Our ‘sources’ sent us the right direction because from that plaza in front of the Cathedral, we had an overview of the sweeping market and the crush of shoppers who filled the square below us.

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We’d read that this Marcat del Pesche, Fish Market, was probably as old as the city itself.  Much of the fish sold here, we learned, comes  from Italy’s  largest fishing port, Mazara del Vallo, in southwestern Sicily.

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While smaller fishing Sicilian ports also contribute to the seafood selection, for example, anchovies from Sciacca and swordfish from Favignana.

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Big Fish ~ Small fish ~ Everywhere fish. We’ve never seen so many varieties and types of seafood for sale in a single place. 

And this poor guy. . .(sorry, I can’t resist) . . . really lost his head over the market.

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The Fish Market has grown over the decades, with its tasty tentacles spreading out from this square along streets lined with vendors selling fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat products.

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It seemed more a gallery of edible art than street market as we squeezed and turned our way through the crush of shoppers. . .

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Can you tell we love European street markets? Like early morning magnets they draw us to their sights, sounds and smells.  Much like Brigadoon, they appear for a few hours and then are gone each day. 

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We returned to the Pescheria in the early afternoon and this is how that once busy square looked.

If You Go:

Map picture

Since the 18th Century, Catania has been the second largest city in Sicily and the 10th largest in Italy. It was destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 1168 and then again in 1693. It’s also suffered from some of Mt. Etna’s eruptions.

The Pescheria is reportedly the second-largest market in Catania. The largest is found in the Piazza Carlo Alberto – which we didn’t make it to on this trip.

The Pescheria is off Piazza Duomo near the cathdral, between Via Garibaldi and Via Pacini. It extends along Via Gemelli Zappala and other surrounding streets.  It is closed afternoons and on Sundays.

That's it for this Travel Photo Thursday, so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos! And if you are looking for some luxury, come back this weekend and we'll show you one place to find it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Washington D.C. ~ Monumental ‘Wanders’

A week ago today I was flying to Washington D.C. for one of those whirlwind trips that conference attendance often generates. The kind that allows only a few hours on either side of the event to get out and explore the area.

To those of us living on the West Coast, Washington D.C., on the opposite side of the country, is the ‘other Washington’– the one that requires an almost six hour flight to reach from ‘our Washington.’

That ‘other Washington’, is our nation’s political engine. That fact alone is a turn-off to many would-be tourists, who see it as a haven of politicians; a grandstand for their rhetoric and bickering. Others, like me, also see it as a treasure chest of wonders; museums, monuments and memorials showcasing so much culture and history that it would take weeks to visit them all.

So where to wander in a matter of  hours?

DSCF1240 Three of us West Coast Washingtonians caught METRO and for $2.45 each way, whizzed  from Arlington, Virginia (where the conference was held)  to the National Mall’s  underground Smithsonian Station, from where we emerged to the sight of the Washington Memorial (pictured) to our left and the U.S. Capitol Building to the right.

From there we set out to pursue our own itineraries:

I headed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (14th Street and Independence, 202-448-0400).  It was my third visit – and I could still return ten times over, each time learning/seeing  something I’d missed on a previous trip. You don’t tour this four-story archive of 1930’s – 40’s European history, you experience it. I used most of that afternoon’s free time pondering and shuddering at the story told through its 900 artifacts and 70 video monitors about  Hitler’s rise to power and the devastation that followed.

One of the displays  tells of the Hitler-ordered book burnings across Germany in the Spring of 1933.  Books authored by Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis,. . .Helen Keller, among them.

It wasn’t until this visit that I noted on the display window, a chilling quote written decades in advance of Hitler’s reign:

“Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned.”
Heinrich Heine, 1797 –1856, German Jewish Poet.

Admission is free.  What you experience here, stays with you for a long time. Photos inside the Museum are not allowed. I took the photo to the right as I walked to the Museum Café  housed in the building on the left; the Washington Monument in the distance.  The sculpture is titled, Loss and Regeneration.


DSCF1263We managed another monumental ‘wander’ during the three hours after the conference’s end and our flight home. We again hopped Metro and for $2.20 each, emerged from the underground station at Arlington National Cemetery.

We opted – because of the short amount of time we had – to take the narrated, 45-minute shuttle tour ($8.50 per person) with the idea we’d see the whole place and if time allowed go back to those particular places we wanted to see a bit more in-depth.


We scrapped that plan when we arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier within minutes of  the Changing of the Guard – an event that I now know shouldn’t be missed. 

We were walking toward the Tomb when in the distance we heard the echo of a 21-gun salute. . .we were told that some 25 military burials take place each day. . .

As we waited for the human guards to change, we watched a Bald Eagle, our national bird and our country’s symbol, soaring  overhead, as if the ultimate guard of the more than 320,000 servicemen and women buried within Arlington’s 624 acres.

And then the Changing of the Guard:


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