Thursday, September 18, 2014


The Eyes Have It.
Jellyfish next to our boat this morning.
Man! Are there a lot of jellyfish around Italy.

Yesterday we walked around Crotone searching for an ATM.  The exchange rate for USD/Euro is down a bit and we wanted to take advantage of this more favorable rate and obtain enough Euros to pay for our winter berthing.  Before the rate escalates once again.  

The sailing guidebook stated that here in Crotone were supermarkets and ATMs and all the things a cruiser might want.  The book just did not tell us where any of those things are located.  We exited the small boat harbor area and turned right on the first main road.  About half-mile later there was a very large castle.  We continued onward, having found not one thing on our list.  Past the commercial harbor.  Past a lot of residential block housing and the road curved back to the left.  

One very sharp corner of a very large old castle

Finally saw a sign stating 'Centro' with an arrow sending us on the the same direction.  Buildings began to appear more commercial; many buildings were vacant.  This town does not appear to be very prosperous in today's economy.  Even the commercial harbor had no shipping activity.  After a total of about 2 miles we happened upon a busier commercial district, the real downtown area.  Sorry, no photos of the nicer Centro district because did not bring a camera on this first day.

A small part of one of the castle walls

The first thing I noticed was an African man across the street stopping pedestrians and apparently asking for money.  Sometimes he would walk along a bit continuing to talk but no one was stopping to give him a handout.  On our side of the street there were 2 more African men standing in the shadows of some buildings, watching the guy across the street.  Sure looked like a set-up for someone to get mugged to me.  We avoided all 3 men and continued on our way.

Another alleyway leading up to
another section of castle wall.

A door I liked.
Eventually found the Banco di Napoli and found and ATM inside; obtained our money; and continued walking away from the 3 African men.  We had been warned by an Italian man and a fellow French cruiser to be very careful as Italy has experienced an increase in crime since taking in so many African refugees.  Hard times for everyone.  

Typical residential street
Another typical neighborhood street
Supermarket on corner
A few blocks later we glanced to the left and saw a street produce market down an alleyway.  It covered a few blocks.  I was really disappointed to see that we have left the land of those delicious almost white bell peppers that were in Montenegro and Croatia.  Gosh, those were good!  I had hoped these would also be available in Italy; but, no, apparently not.  We bought a few things and continued walking.

This street was steep.  Do not know
why the incline does not show in photo.

Next up was a very tiny bread shop where we found small rolls just the right size for sandwiches.  Cost a whopping 10 Euro cents per roll!  We will go back there for more before leaving Crotone.  These were good.  I am sure they would not last more than a day or 2 since there are no preservatives used in the locally baked goods.

Nice restaurant up on the left corner.  Street level was
not pretty but the restaurant was.

A fountain near harbor pedestrian entrance

Ahead we could see the sea, so we continued in that direction.  When we reached the seaside street, we turned left to get back to the small boat harbor area.  A nice 3-mile walk and we learned a little bit about the area.

Tiny neighborhood church in an alleyway

This morning we again walked around town.  This time we turned left outside the harbor and then right up a narrow alleyway where there was a small neighborhood church hidden away. We did not go inside.  

We wandered around the residential streets and eventually found a few tiny stores.  Rather than a large supermarket that sells everything, here they have tiny stores that specialize in certain things.  One store sold hair care products, toilet tissue, paper towels, and basic household cleaning items, as well as very basic school supplies.  Another store sold plastic wrap, aluminum foil, insect repellents, batteries (like for flashlights and cameras), and a few hardware type items.  There are fish markets all over the place.  Found several meat markets and one cheese store.  We did find one small corner supermarket that carried a variety of items and we bought a few things there.  

I liked the metal doors and metal window shutters on
this pizzeria.  It was closed at 11:00 so I do not know
if it is even still in business.

We returned to the cleanest and nicest meat market and purchased some of their prepared items.  I honestly do not know for sure what I bought, but that is what I am cooking for dinner tonight.  I *think* that we will be dining upon stuffed eggplant, zucchini in some type tomato sauce, and veal cutlets.  I have no idea what the little eggplants are stuffed with; the zucchini looks like a small dish of lasagna; and the veal cutlets are coated in fresh bread crumbs.

Graffiti everywhere.  Just everywhere.

The amount of graffiti here is depressing.  It rivals Athens in that regard.  But...then...I guess that is to be expected since it was the Italians who originated graffiti.

According to our sailing guide book, Crotone was once esteemed for its beautiful women, its art and its wonderful architecture.  Today has virtually nothing to show for its ancient glory.  There was once an ancient temple here; today just one column remains; much of the rest was used in the building of the harbor breakwaters.  In the museum are fragments of its ancient past from the age when it controlled much of the Magna Graecia.  Pythagoras made this city his home in the 5th century B.C. and developed his ascetic-mystic-vegetarian-reincarnation philosophy here for some 30 years before he was ousted along with the oligarchy he supported.

More typical graffiti.  With trash blown about.
In the Middle Ages Crotone declined substantially.  Even as recent as 15 years ago, this was a forgotten place.  Today it is slowly and gradually reviving with the jobs that the gas platforms bring, though it is still very much an out-of-the-way place. There are 4 gas platforms in the sea just outside the harbor.  The downtown area is getting a nice facelift (MUCH NEEDED!)  Grime is being removed from some of the old buildings to reveal beautiful architecture of years past.  Sidewalk cafes are sprouting up slowly.  Streets are being cleaned up, although there is still much rubbish blown about.

Graffiti continued.

Our old friend, Bob Urso, had asked us to take lots of photos of his father land.  This blog shows a few.  This is a part of Italy not touched by tourists.  People live quiet lives here.  Almost no English is spoken.  In fact, the only person we have encountered who spoke any English at all was the deli-counter guy in the small supermarket.  The other customers were looking at him as if he had 3 heads when he spoke to me in English.

Unknown bride and groom beside BeBe.

As I type this, there is a local bride and groom and photo crew right at the stern of our boat taking wedding photos.  I cannot believe the bride laid down on the dirty concrete dock for a photo in her wedding gown.

BeBe is the sailboat with 2 masts on the left.

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