Sicily 2011 #5: Exploring Taormina written 6 years ago

Sicily

Here are my travel notes from Sicily, you might like to read them if you are easily amused. They’re not terribly interesting unless you are me.

Day 6

The limited excitement over what will be for breakfast is soon quelled as we discover it is to be exactly the same as at the previous hotel - to be expected really.

Our dues of bread, meat and cheese done, we head up on to the terraces and embrace the scrumptious sight of Mt Etna sitting as the backdrop for the terraces. We sit and take in the view (and marvel at the truly 80s armchairs) and go to ask the cheery man about the possibility of a trip up to the fiery volcano side.

Etna from the Hotel Terrace
Rob and Etna.. sitting in a tree.. K..I..S..S..I..

He seems glum that he can’t sell us a trip - they run only Tuesdays and Saturdays - and as today is Thursday and we left on Saturday it left only Friday for any serious excursion to occur. He rang a taxi co, who quoted at 130, which not entirely excessive was still more than we wanted to pay, and would also encumber us with an unwilling passenger on our travels.

We mulled for a while, but not wanting to dampen our spirits so much as their tissue-like structure might break we headed out, and with minimal effort wound up at the Greco Teatro, once again winging an 18-25 discount (though I did have to endure some ridicule for my 17 year old choice of hairstyle).

The Teatro Greco
Teatro Greco

Frist thing to notice about the amphitheatre is the abundance of red brick, which largely due to reconstructions is all that keeps the shape of the original building in place.

Restored 1958
Teatro Greco - Restored 1958

The visit to the theatre evokes stories from various blockbuster films, with us musing over how terrible/exciting it might be to watch men fight to the death. It turns out it might not be that kind of roman amphitheatre afterall, as we discover a diagram indicating that an orchestra would be sitting mostly where the lions would be eating the centurions.

The Teatro Greco and Etna
Teatro Greco

The Gelato shops still hadn’t opened by the time we exited the theatre, which was quite disappointing, so we grabbed a panini and loitered on down to the Municipal Park thingy. You know, the one donated to the city by the English woman, that might have had a thing with the King? Yea, that one.

The gardens are beautifully manicured areas of greenery, set in an almost fantasyland of little structures designed to grab a few minutes shade from the sun, or linger and read a book.

IMG_1485
Trevelyan Gardens

Let’s not forget the crazy cat lady either.

Crazy Cat Lady
Crazy Cat Lady

We watched some ducks have sex, then pottered out to find that this street had a car rental place on it. Could we drive to Mt Enta? The girl face seemed not to pale too badly at this connotation of fighting wiggly winding roads, but as the shop was closed (siesta..) we noted down the contact no.

More wandering commenced, and we happened upon some steps that seemingly lead down to the beach front. Several million steps later, and a slightly maligned ankle we arrived on the mostly deserted beach.

Isla Bella Beach, Taormina
Isla Bella beach

Huts promising cocktails and other such beach paraphernalia were all boarded up, so we trudged across the pebble beach and dangled our feet in the cold water (the sun hadn’t seen fit to grace the sea with any temperature).

Toes in the water
Toes dipped in the water

The shoreline provides acres to Isla bella, a nature reserve connected to Sicily by a thin drift of sand. The temporary scaffolding bridge, and subsequent banging emanating from the paradise for animals indicated that, much like the rest of Taoromina, it was closed for repairs. We splashed in the sea, and stole a nice pebble.

Isla Bella
Isla Bella

Passing by the numerous empty and closed hotels, we looked forward to the trip back to civilisation; using the cable cars to sail back to the top of the hill, but alas, it too was hibernating. A 20 minute wait for a bus later we wound back at the end of (main street in Taormino)

Returning home via the car rental place we found the owner had just returned from siesta, and with little reservation (or need for documents beyond a driving license) promised a Fiat Grande Punto, for the same price as a Fiat Panda, a true bargain, which was good for the swanky car, but less good for the squeezing down tiny alleyways.

Lil' Car
This wasn’t our rental car - much a pity!

We scooted round the shops and found suitable meat and cheese shop for some sandwiches the next day. Assuming we would need to find a bakery for some fresh bread we practised our faux Italian for bread when the shop assistant opened a secret cupboard in which he kept his bake supplies. Not the best advertising for his wares, but we were glad for one less shop to hunt for.

A map was purchased, and later at the hotel an itinerary was drawn up including the best bits off the excursions leaflets we had got. We giggled like schoolchildren allowed to go into the sweetshop unsupervised for the first time.

Food this night would be from .. a restaurant. I had a Sicilian sampler platter to start (cheeses, meats, breadcrumbed aubergine things, etc) and a main of escalope in marsala. When in Sicily n all that. Food was good, an still the novelty of 5 for a half litre of vino prevented us from venturing into the expensive wine Market (Not like we’d know it anyway..)

Read Sicily Entry #6.

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