This might have been considered a wasted day, when you consider that we wanted to catch a train leaving Ragusa for Scicli at 14:20 and bought tickets, only to find that we would not be able to return the same day, so we had to settle for only half the distance, to Modica, and a train that did not leave until 15:50.
So we sat in a caffe for an hour or so, then sat in the car and wrote postcards. The train took us to Modica, which we had already visited on Sunday. We sat in the same caffe discussing what to do in the three hours till the return train. We decided we could go back sooner if we bought bus tickets. I took a twenty minute stroll up the thoroughfare and found that tickets could be had from the Tabacci by the caffe where the kind shop keeper assured me that the bus left at 18:00 from the adjacent stop. The timetable attached to the stop seemed to confirm this. There was time for me to have another succo arancia (squeezed orange juice) while Mike took a stroll.
The time came for the bus to arrive so we stood by the stop watching out for it. We waited twenty minutes, I returned to the Tabacci to ask if the bus was often this late, I am not sure he understood my inquiry. After waiting a further ten minutes we decided to go back to plan A and take the train which was due to leave at 19.27.
We found another caffe nearer the station and had a panini each and coffee. We were able to make this drag out until the time to get to the station. The train was ready to board, but no loo open in the station, so Mike found a deserted corner outside. We climbed aboard, and were at last on our return journey.
This might have been a wasted day if it had not been for the fact that the main point of the train journeys was to experience the incredible descent of 224 metres by a spiral route and many convoluted contours and 13 tunnels through shoulders of hills into new valleys. We had descended from Ragusa to Modica in about 30 minutes, a distance by road of 21Km. The return journey took only a little longer.
It might have been a wasted day if it had not been for the kindness of the Tabacci shopkeeper who was prepared to sell me the tickets for €5.35 when they cost €5.40 (I was able to return with the extra money before we left), if it had not been for the kindness of the second caffe owner who had visited Scotland on holiday and chatted in a friendly way, if it had not been for the magical sight and sound of the swifts circling like boy-racers in the sky above us on the way up hill to the station. And it might have been wasted if it had not been that we caught a glimpse of the old town of Ragusa from the train just as the sun was setting, which made a picture!
As we dropped off to sleep that evening we remembered our time waiting for the bus that never came. As we had waited a car drove up and parked, tail out in the traffic, and nosing in across the pedestrian crossing into the bus stop area. We watched as his passenger got out, a middle aged woman, and went to the shops. We shared our indignation at the encroachment on the pedestrian access, and our sense of superiority over the Italian careless driving. After about ten minutes three police of various descriptions arrived, each even more covered in braid than the previous one. Now he’s for it! We agreed in glee, as the police advanced on the driver opening his door. The man stood up. We half expected handcuffs for him and a tow-truck for the car. To our amazement the senior policeman embraced the driver on both cheeks, then the three just moved away. His passenger returned and he drove off. We giggled again as we fell asleep, amazed at our inability to read not only bus time-tables, but also local situations.