Monday, October 16, 2017


The cab to the airport picked Graham, John and I up at 3:45am. Even at that time, I was warm enough in just a shirt. Graham’s flight to Frankfurt and our flight to Catania, Sicily left at the same time.

It was hard saying goodbye to him.

The flight to Sicily was very short; under a half hour. Upon arrival, we had to wait an hour because the car rental place didn’t open until 8am. We were their first customers.

We got scammed within a few hours of getting into Italy. We had to stop at a toll station to get onto the highway that would take us to Taormina. A woman in plain clothes was standing by where you get the toll tickets. She handed us a ticket and said it was 5 euro. There was no dollar amount written on the ticket. We handed over the money and she gave us the ticket. When we exited the highway to go to Taormina, we stopped at the unmanned toll booth, put in our ticket and had to pay 1.50 euros. Later in the day, I told our waiter about it and he confirmed that we were scammed. Oh well, live and learn.

Taormina is a gorgeous town on top of a rocky promontory. The roads to get there are narrow, steep and winding with next to no shoulder. We parked our car in one of the very rare parking places and found our hotel by foot. We then went to explore the city.

We passed an ancient necropolis on our way into town.

The views from this ancient city perched on a cliff above the sparkling Mediterranean are breathtaking.

The main long street is a pedestrian walk intermingled with shops, restaurants, cafes, churches, squares and stunning vantage points. John and I took a break for refreshments and watched the people enjoying the sunny day.

The weather was hot (25 degrees), but a warm breeze kept it perfectly comfortable. Small green lizards sun themselves on the rocks and quickly dart away when people come near.

After exploring the streets, buying some souvenirs (I love the ceramics here) and taking lots of pictures, we climbed (and I mean climbed) our way to the top of the Ancient Greek theatre. 

It was spectacular. The scenery and views took our breath away. The pictures do not do it justice.

We stopped for gelato on our way back to the hotel. Pomegranate gelato. Mmmmmmm.

It’s a little stressful walking on the streets here because the roads have next to no shoulders and the cars zip by.

Our hotel, Bel Soggiorno is gorgeous, perched on the cliff side with many terraces. It has a gorgeous garden filled with pomegranate, orange, lemon, olive and plumeria trees mixed with cacti, plumbago, lots of flowers, lavender and rosemary that release their scent to the air when you brush them.

 The porter had to walk up and down stairs, across terraces and through the dining room to get to our room, all the while lugging my suitcase. Our room is small and basic but who cares when you have these views.

We napped for a bit in the late afternoon before heading out to watch the sunset and have supper. 

We walked through the common public park to get to the town centre. It was the most beautiful park I have ever been to. I followed the sound of squawking to a large cage filled with blue fronted Amazons, macaws and African grey parrots. The cage was huge and you could tell they were well cared for.

We watched the sun set behind Mount Etna and waited in a square for Emily and Vince. Local families including grandparents and tourists all enjoyed the warm night.

We went to a terrace restaurant with Em and Vince for supper, walked around a bit and headed back to our hotel. I swear I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

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