Saturday, 1 December 2012

Unexpected evening stroll

Yesterday evening I returned to the belvedere platform just down the via Pirandello, where the church is located, to see if I could get better pictures of the sun setting behind Mount Etna. It was even more spectacular than the previous evening. Then, on a whim, I decided to descend the steps 160 metres down to the main coast road and have a look around. I opted to walk north along the road rather than descend another flight of steps 35 metres to the beach level. I was interested in identifying the place where Kath Anto and Rhiannon will stay when they arrive on Boxing Day. By the time a reply arrived to my texted query about the hotel name, I'd walked a good way further. Very few places are open to take guests at the moment, so the sea shore holiday resort is like a ghost town.

The cable car link up to the town is still running howeve and for €3 I could have returned the easy way to via Pirandello where it stops. Instead I went for a return via the other flight of steps shown on the walkers map. The contrast between the paths took me by surprise. The marked access way from the main road was unlit, by contrast with the other. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned since flooded by torrential rain. As I climbed, the path narrowed. Wherever there were flights of brick built steps, some had broken and fallen away. Some stretches became a steep and winding overgrown track. I imagine no surveyor of public works had inspected the damage since it happened. If they had, it would have been closed as unsafe.

As I went up, there were no street lights and it was light enough to see, but it was further than  anticipated and dusk overtook me. Retracing my steps would have been more risky, so I ascended cautiously until I came to a road across the path. The last few hundred metres were in between houses. I came out behind the public cemetery, ten minutes walk into town, and home. Roads were busy with traffic. There were no pavements to speak of. Just as dangerous as walking a broken path in the dark really. I'm not keen on living dangerously, but sometimes things just happen at a moment when the 'sensible' radar is idling. Not too often hopefully.

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