Sat 17th and Sunday 18th May 2014
We set off to Noto on Saturday morning with the addition of two German Backpackers, Finn and Hannah who were staying at the campground and also heading to Noto. After about 12 km’s we were at the camperstop which was about two and a half kilometres out of town. Clyde and Anna’s van was parked next to ours and we put out our awning to create a shared space. The place was not full when we arrived but during the day it filled to capacity including a motorhome the size of a bus squeezing in through the entrance taking half an hour to get into position. Our German backpackers were also allowed to stay and pitch their tent on the site which is in a field of lemon trees. The camperstop had a bus service going into and back from the town but we chose to ride our bikes as it was only a short ride and gave the flexibility of coming and going when we wanted.
Arriving in the town we locked our bikes up and started walking in the direction of the centre where the streets of flowers where to be found. We passed a second-hand market, stalls filled with all sorts of things that previous owners had no further use for. We had a quick look around and then walked past more stalls selling touristy junk and tat for children. The streets were closed to traffic so it was quite pleasant to walk up the main thoroughfare and although it was busy it wasn’t too hard to negotiate the groups of people who were also having their day in town. We didn’t have to walk far before we came across the main attraction and Noto’s claim to fame. The flower street was busy with people walking up both sides, stopping to take photos and admire the handwork. We had initially thought that there were many streets decorated but apart from the major street there were only a few other places that were decorated.
Being told that there was to be a parade that night we rode back to the camperstop to relax have tea and ride back in the evening. The parade turned out to be people dressed in period costumes promenading through the streets. After asking other people associated to the event we were assured that at 3.00pm on Sunday a parade would be happening. In the morning we hung around the camperstop and left for the town at about two to get a good position to see the parade. In town we positioned ourselves on the steps of the church along with hundreds of others packed in like sardines sitting on hard concrete. The theme for this year was Russia and before the parade came we were entertained by a group of excellent young Russian dances and we put up with a young girl singing, with the music way too loud and she missed her lines on occasions.
Eventually the parade came with drumming groups, people in costume, music groups, horse and carriages and flag wavers. After the parade we made a quick exit as the skies looked threatening and we road back just in time before the rain came down. The festival had been interesting although not what we had expected. By morning the camperstop had emptied out and after saying our farewells to the German backpackers Finn and Hannah we headed off to the town of chocolate ???