A late night left me starting the day slowly. We rose late, breakfasted, then went to the covered market for fish and veg for an evening meal. Once Kath texted to say they were up and enjoying sunshine on the beach near the hotel, Clare was keen to join them. She went down to meet them, I stayed and wrote, then walked up the Corso to get wine. By the time I was nearly home, they'd all arrived, having come up on the cable car. After a light lunch we took them for an introductory walk up the Corso, somewhat quieter than yesterday thankfully, and Rhiannon came home with a new doll from the wonderful shop specialising in dolls the near piazza Sant'Agostino.
We visited the chocolate fair held in the piazza Carmine, and in the former Carmelite church, and enjoyed the amazing decorative artwork done in white chocolate coloured with vegatable dyes produced by ceramic painters from a town in central Sicily which has specialised in this kind of design pattern work for centuries.
We passed through the Porta Catania to show Rhiannon the presepio in Sant Antonio the Abbot church. The setting sun was close to the southern slopes of Mount Etna, and for the first time in a month I observed that emissions from two vents close to the summit weren't the usual white clouds of steam but coloured dark brown, blown by the wind into long brown clouds in a southerly direction, not changing colour at all with the setting sun behind them. It's the first time I've observed Mount Etna producing noticeable quantities of volcanic ash. Thankfully for the moment these are not blowing towards us in the north.
On the way back we sampled roast chestnuts from a street vendor outside St Anthony the Abbot church, then an ice cream from a shop of the Corso, concluding with a drink in the tea room on piazza Sant Agostino. I cooked us swordfish with ratatouille and pasta for supper, accompanies by a couple of bottles of Sicilian wine. Rhiannon, still tired adfter yesterday's journey, fell asleep after she'd eaten and needed to be awakened gently for the journey back down the steps to the hotel.
It was a delightful introductory day for them to the delights of Sicily.