Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sicily ~ Arrival in Messina for the exciting visit to Taormina. . . . . .

May 5, 2017 ~ 7:00 AM and docked in the port of Messina, Sicily for Taormina.

World leaders will be arriving here this week for the G7 Summit. Thankfully we were there first! Although the hillside town, located on a terrace of Mt. Mauro, was in utter chaos whilst in the throes of upgrading streets and public areas, and increasing security to accommodate politicians, the overall feel of this beautiful place perched in the shadow of Mt. Etna, Europe's highest volcano, was that one was still strolling through one of the most spectacular spots in the Mediterranean. 

Looking across the Bay of Naxos from Taormina westward to Mt. Etna which erupted
 in March and caused injuries to a BBC film crew and some tourists who were a
 little too close to the summit.
Needless to say, we enjoyed the rumbling mountain from a distance!

Colorful streets - cafes for gelato, cappuccino, lemon granite, cannoli, beer,
prosecco, limoncello (the local lemons are gigantic), and so much more. 
Fruit markets, jewelry, Italian fashion, weekday weddings, volcano peeping.

12th century Duomo has one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world in its bell tower.
The 16th century Fountain of Orion is located in the Piazza Duomo.

George and his mom, Michelle ~ Brisbane, Australia.

I first met lovely Michelle, and her charming husband Mark - sadly missed on this
 trip - when a guest at their awesome country home in Queensland's rain forest
 in 2012 - then again with them and their son George in California a few summers ago.

As I share the highlights of this trip I will of course be adding photos of our
wonderful group of friends. All eleven of us have met before and have
 traveled together to some amazing places.

A typical jumbled Taormina alley with bougainvillea cascading, statuary delights,
and signs expressing mysteries within. . . . . .my kind of place.

Never out of sight - and sometimes looking simple and peaceful beyond the crowds.
Yes, that is snow and people do ski there in winter.
Personally I loved Mt. Etna and I hope the gentle people living on the slopes are
 always safe.

Next stop will be Palermo - founded by Phoenician traders in the 8th century BC.

Thanks so much for all your kind 'get well' messages. 
We are doing just that and beginning to feel
almost human again.


  1. I am glad to hear that you and Bob are on the road to recovery. What a wonderful voyage this one was! It brought back delicious memories for me of two weeks spent in Taormina many years ago. As we headed for the ferry late on a Saturday afternoon our car broke down. A local garage - very upscale - was just closing. When an employee saw our special plates he called the owner. What ensued was one of those "parallel universe" experiences. The owner had trained with the RCAF on the early WW11 days before the US entered the war. He had a very soft spot for Canadians. He ushered us into his luxurious office where the walls were lined with photos of our host with Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Ronald Regan etc. He explained to us that he owned all of the VW dealerships in southern Italy. Due to "circumstances" he could not go back to the US. It was pretty clear that the circumstances were the result of association with a crime group particular to southern Italy. His staff worked overtime, into the Saturday evening. When our car was ready our host recommended a hotel, telling us that we would be safer there as "we can make sure that the Big Boys leave you alone but we can't do anything about the little ones". It was clear to us that we'd been hosted by a character straight out of The Godfather. There was no bill for the repair of our car!

    1. That's quite a story dear H - I'm glad he was so helpful and didn't want to 'adopt' you into his probably very large Sicilian family, haha!
      What a beautiful island it is. Will be interesting to see how the security people deal with the G7 Summit later this week - that narrow winding mountain road up to Taormina was crazy - took our coach almost an hour in the horrendous traffic, we almost wished we'd had a helicopter! I would not want to visit at the height of the tourist season either, must be a nightmare on those hairpin bends!
      Hope life is good for you dear friend.
      Mary -

  2. I loved Taormina too. My favourite spot was the Greek theatre with its awesome views across the bay and Mt Etna in the distance. Those ancient Greeks sure knew how to pick the perfect place for a theatre.

  3. Breathtaking! Glad to hear you are both feeling better.

  4. Oh such a gorgeous city! What beautiful photos. Wow! Wish I could have stowed away in one of your suitcases!!! :-)

  5. I don't know whether you know this from my blog, but I was once married to a Sicilian and spent 10 summers of my life on the island. This was long before the days of the internet and blogging, and so the few posts I have written about Sicily were from memory, with photos nicked here and there from other websites.
    A friend of mine still lives in Acireale (near Catania), her house has an all-round balcony so that you can either wander with or against the sun, depending on how much heat you are willing to bear. At night, she can see the glow of Etna's summit. I am not sure I'd want to live that close to this powerful mountain, but it certainly is a fascinating place.
    If you are interested, I have written a 10-part-series "Souvenirs from Sicily" a few years back. The series starts with this post.

    1. How fabulous you spent so much time there Meike - I'm really interested in reading more and will definitely go back and read your stories soon. Still fighting the 'bug' we picked up but doing much better - but also trying to clean up the garden and get household chores caught up - chimney sweep coming this morning - never a dull moment!
      Happy week dear.
      Mary -

  6. Dear Mary - lovely to see your beautiful montage of Mt. Edna looking very dramatic in her snowy gown. I am pleased that you enjoyed your trip to Sicily - a place that I loved visiting too. What fun to have so many friends accompanying you on your visit, I can imagine that you had lots of fun and laughs together.
    Hope that you are soon feeling better, travel does take its toll especially when you spend so many hours sitting on planes with the air being trip.

  7. Mary, as alway your pictures are beautiful. Blue is my very favorite color, so I am automatically drawn to all those beautiful blues. There is so much beauty in our world. Thanks for sharing.

  8. All so beautiful and these are jsut photos. I can only imagine how it must have been with the ocean breeze, the smells, etc. So so nice.

    So, how did you meet Michelle initially? On an earlier cruise perhaps? It's quite impressive how you all manage to connect for such trips form afar. Kudos and made even more memorable when catching up with new and old friends alike.

    I so love that you got that photo of the weeding too. Somehow it's what I think of when reflecting on Italy and streets like this.


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