We took an overnight flight from Boston. It was a comfortable night and I got some sleep. We are still in the air and are flying over France. Coincidentally, We are watching the BBC News as the new French President Macon is being inaugurated. That in itself is exciting. I am tearing with happiness for the French people as they receive their young prince of hope as he seeks to reunite the people of his country and restore confidence to all French citizens. Do I feel a glint of envy??
Arrived at the Hotel Isabella in Taormina late afternoon. A perfect location in the heart of the old town. Narrow streets and people and shops and all the food you can imagine. We got cleaned up and went out to check the place out. I can tell we will enjoy this place.
Went to our first dinner at this cool place, LaScala, situated up a flight of outside stairs. No kidding. The food was heavenly and the guitar player/singer was great. Then we all split up. I was with Nancy and Drue and started up a conversation with this Italian couple and eventually lost N&D. Not to worry, I got gelato and enjoyed he rest of my night here.
During our stay in Taormina, we explored the Ancient Greek and Roman Coliseum which evoked a curiosity for what life was like in those times, and we ate some delicious and creative “typical” Sicilian food.
Thanks to the services of a local driver we hired, we visited several other mountain villages, two of which were sites where The Godfather movie was filmed. My favorite highlight was a ride over to Mt Etna at sunset. My Etna is 12,000 feet high and very craggy with lava mounds. It would be extremely treacherous to climb without a guide. We drove half way up where you could see some old smaller craters and watched the sunset through the smoke and ash that is constantly rising out of the big crater on top. The colors kept changing by the minute. After that, our driver took us to his son’s restaurant where we had an assortment of local antipasti and small dishes that were awesome. We roped of an already perfect day by dancing to American music at a local nightclub.
There has been a steadily increasing number of military presence here in preparation for the G7 on the 26th. In the wee hours an alarm sounded off in front of our hotel and now the whole city has no wifi. The police are checking cars. Saw my first machine guns held by serious looking soldiers with fingers on triggers. Time to move on. Off to Ortigia…
We left Taormina (and the soldiers) this morning and headed south for Ortigia, which is a very small island connected by a bridge to the city of Siracusa. On the way we explored the charming towns towns of Orireale and Oribazza. Then we spent a couple of hours in Catania where Drue and I found a little “fish bar” at the fish market and had an awesome lunch of assorted local seafood and vegetables. Yum. We are thrilled to be in Ortigia. Our hotel is right on the water.