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Onto Sicily we go

Our ferry ride to Sicily. The day started badly right from the beginning with a 4.30am start then to drag our bags again for about 1 km to get a taxi. Anna and I, did actually say we are getting too old for this. But after reading some of the previous blogs on "Giving it a go" how could we be complaining. The boat was very nice and it was about a one and half hour smooth and comfortable ride to Pazzalo. But then it was a 1 1/2 hour bus ride to Cartania, and then 1 1/4 hour train ride to Taormina, and a Taxi ride up the mountain. Of course, the train was half an our late, so we eventually arrive at 2pm. Amazing when doing things over the internet it seems simple, but reality is a different scenario. Staying in the centre, where no cars are allowed, means more dragging of bags. See the villages up in the mountains, that is where we are heading. Bad photo as it was from the train whilst moving, not a great way to get good photos.

Well, you know when things go wrong, nothing wants to go right. Anna had been trying, to communicate by emails, for the last few days about our Air Bnb booking, which was done about 12 months previously and paid for. We had no phone connection as I had switched off roaming because of Malta. So here we are sitting in a restaurant using their WiFi to speak to Air Bnb in England or somewhere only to find that our booking had been cancelled just 2 days earlier. Supposedly, emails were sent but we did not receive. There was an Aussie couple on the next table who told us that a similar thing happened to them. We could have still stayed at the same place but not that night but would have to pay an extra $500 and for one night less. Bazza really lost it, and told Air Bnb what they could do with the booking. So here we are at 5pm and no accommodation. Lesson, don't use Air Bnb, better to use which we used for Malta and confirmed by the other Aussie couple as they only use that site now.

Bazza with 3 wines under his belt leaves Anna with the bags and goes off in search of a place to stay. But we found a hotel, Hotel Villa Schuler very close to the main action with one villa left, which we could book for the whole 6 days. It was a one bedroom appartment that we wanted, with its own private courtyard and with two bathrooms. So things do work out and so we went to the roof level and looked at the spectacular views and had a bourban and coke to celebrate we had somewhere to sleep that night.

And the next day had a wonderful lunch in our private court yard.

Now more on our stay in Taormina, a very interesting place and I thought Malta had restaurants. Taormina would out do Malta with some wonderful different shops both food and clothing. Some beautiful and colourful clothes which are not seen in most mainstream shops in Australia and the views are spectacular.

In some of the places, just don't look down, it is really scarey. How they built on these mountains is amazing and it is not a single house but a whole town with so many buildings. The scene below is the town view with the volatile Mt Etna in the background. In the news here, it stated that it started blowing smoke rings which only happens every now and then. But we were too far away to see.

Some of the beautiful shops and plenty of patisseries so you would not be counting calories but every day we are walking 10 to 12 kms with most up and down steps. I thought the month off from tennis would allow my hips and knees to recover. That was wishful thinking.

One day we took a taxi up to another little village further up the mountain. This is the village of Castelmola which has an old fort (Turkish Fort) which they think dates back to the Roman times but definitely to 1500 when it was a fort and prison.

You can read about it here.

Just check out the steepness of the mountain with Taormina below. We weren't courageous enough to walk up the mountain.

Down in Taormina, we visited the oldest ancient theatre built 300 BC and still in a reasonable state.

Inside the structure was very impressive.

The view looking over the town of Taormina.

Of course, we had to visit the hotel made famous with the TV show White Lotus. Glad we weren't staying there as it costs $5000 a night. We were allowed only into the front coutyard. You can go into the hotel if you spend a minimum of $180 which we may do on our last night. Go to the 7th photo on this blog and the cream coloured large building is this San Dominico Four Seasons Hotel from the sea.

Once again, we are drawn to the sea and Taormina has a lower section of the town where the train comes in but also where there are many hotels (some very expensive again) which is a beach resort area. Definitely, no sand like we know.

In the above photo, see the town on the ridge, that is where the Godfather 2 movie was shot and where the wedding was held. But we didn't get there, sorry Marlon.

But back to our ride in a little boat on the water checking out the wonderful views as we were serenaded by out Italian boat skipper. Check out the photos.

Here again some expensive hotels which have the beach area as their own area and some rooms with their own pool. Again the cost could be $2,500 to $3,000 per night.

Another bay but better shot from the land.

Ventured into some caves in the mountain side and the water was a brillant colour.

Anna and I visited this hotel today after a very tedious walk along a twirling road for over an hour to have a coffee there. It is a new 4 star hotel, not sure of cost, but the next photo shows their beach area and to get there one travels by a lift inside the rocky mountain. This beach was used in the White Lotus TV show as well as their salt water pool. See next two pictures.

We continued around the different bays where there was so much to see but even more special seeing it from the ocean side.

Here below is the Taormina from the sea. The railway line runs right along the beach area and the main part of town is up in the mountain. The hotel we stayed in is the pink building on the far right that you can only see part of.

Today we visited a beautiful garden just down from our hotel with some old unique buildings, hopeful one day to be rejuvenated. But having these picturesque spots up in the mountain is amazing.

You can read about the gardens here below. You may need to click on photo to expand it to read.

Well, we are coming to the end of our stay here in Taormina and have enjoyed it immensely, except for our first traumatic day and the need to constantly walk up and down stairs. But we have some wonderful memories of our stay.

So Anna says good bye to her Taormina friends in the pond of the hotel garden.

Thursday morning we fly to Rome for a few days then to Singapore for a stop over before flying home on next Tuesday. I look forward to seeing you all again soon. No matter how good these places are around the world:




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Good to hang out with you guys on your travels. White Lotus Season 2 was our favorite TV of 2023 - Taormina was one of the main reasons for that - amazing that you got to see it IRL.....

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