Wednesday, March 28, 2007


To give an idea of the distances involved in driving in Sicily, I have overlaid the island on the area around Sydney, so you can see that nothing is more than a 2-3 hour drive from central Sydney (whose urban area would cover several Sicilian provinces). It's fascinating to think of how the crinkled topography of this island has been fought over by so many empires in the last 3000 years.

For comparison, I've also overlaid France and Italy on NSW, which is almost as big as both countries put together.

France: 551,500 (excluding outlying territories)
Italy: 301,318 sq. km
NSW: 809,444

I've made some pictorial and textual updates and additions to the blog going back over the last two weeks, including Siena, Naples and most of our Sicilian sojourn.

Just had the pleasure of reading Barry Hughart's tale of "an Ancient China that never was", his Bridge of Birds (1984), a story of an old scholar "with a flaw in his character" and a strong young villager, on a serious of quests to save the lives of some poisoned children. It's a huge shaggy dog story (or is that "soggy dragon") that reminds me a bit of Jack Vance's Dying Earth (I guess "of a future that will never be") stories, but much funnier. There are 2 sequels that I must must read.

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