My dream holiday has always been about getting a chance to do more of what you love. Visiting places that are not on the usual tourist map, experiencing new cultures, tasting the food, enjoying the weather, and throwing weights around!
Syracuse is the prime example of the perfect escape. With a relaxed, locally focused lifestyle with mountains of history and beautiful weather. Waking up with an Italian coffee and endless Sicilian pastries (and of course make sure you get your protein in!), watching out over the clear blue Mediterranean Sea –what a way to start the day.
Take a stroll through the ancient, cobbled streets with renaissance architecture with the influence of the byzantine empire, the Arabs, the Normans, and the remains of the ancient Greek and roman temples. Hop onto the tour bus to get a full tour of the island, driving past the catacombs before arriving at the Greek Amphitheatre, just as stone’s throw away from the Roman coliseum almost engulfed back into nature.
My favourite experience in Sicily involves a small café just north of the temple of Athena, situated in the main piazza of Ortygia Island. Whilst enjoying a caffe freddo and a delicious crepe filled with pistachio crema outside, I noticed many people going in but not many coming out. Poking my head into the café I noticed a blind corner which I assumed was perhaps the toilets. Perhaps this was merely an optical illusion or maybe too much coffee and cannoli, I presumed I must have been imagining the constant stream of people going in and no-one coming out. Later that evening I plucked up the courage to venture into these toilets which must lead to another dimension. Walking past the barista in the visible part of the cafe and giving him a nod of confidence, I passed the corner into what felt like another world. Suddenly the buzz of an art deco themed jazz bar hit me – was this real? A friendly waitress was quick to greet and inform us that the Sicilian buffet was about to begin, for only eight euros we enjoyed live music, a martini and mouth-watering Sicilian food (much pasta and arancini were consumed that evening).
The Sicilians are proud islanders and are quick to provide you with the warmest hospitality and experience. Restaurants and cafés are not a gamble like you often get in the commercialised hubs of the tourist areas in the big cities – they pride themselves in the highest quality local ingredients with prices that make you want to leave generous tips!
Spending six nights in a place like Syracuse can reset your mind and body. Why not take a short stroll or relax on the beach after training before getting ready for some aperitivo in the piazza. Join us this summer for a 6-night Sicilian Weightlifting Holiday with flights from London Heathrow and a 4* Hotel.