High Above the Sea

Trip Start Nov 14, 2011
Trip End Feb 28, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Sicily,
Monday, August 13, 2012

Jeff's Contributions:
I suppose I can't blame the ancient inhabitants of Taormina for locating their town on a steep mountain slope that drops sharply into the Ionian Sea. The location must have afforded some protection from the many invaders over the centuries.  To a visitor today it just seems like a crazy location glued to the side of a steep mountain.  Yet it is just this fact that makes it such an appealing place to visit.  To get to the town from the highway we ascended a spiral roadway that projects out from the mountain slope with the roadway supported on concrete columns.  I think Mary had her eyes closed most of the way up.  Once in town we navigated the ridiculously narrow and steep streets while avoiding tourists to find one of the scarce parking spaces available. The car safely parked at last, we set out on foot to do some exploring.  The main street of Taormina is a pedestrian street and it is surprisingly level running along the mountain slope.  Here we found many shops selling clothes, pottery and local foods.  We had hoped to find a ceramic piece to bring home – maybe a plate or a bowl – but we couldn’t agree on anything that we both liked.  We also had discount flights to Rome and Prague ahead of us and I hoped to keep our luggage as light as possible.  We had after all just lightened our load in Malta by shipping home a big box of "stuff".

After a stop to admire the Duomo Cathedral and a little more wandering the streets, we were starting to get hungry.  It was a hot day under the Sicilian sun but we were determined to find a restaurant with a view, a cool breeze and authentic Sicilian food.  After a little searching on back streets we found just such a place and had a most enjoyable lunch - with some local wine of course.  Off the main street and after a little wine, I could feel the leisurely pace of life in Taormina.  This relaxed feeling has been with us throughout our travels in the Mediterranean and we will treasure it when we return to the faster pace of our life in Canada.

After lunch, the combined effects of the wine, food and heat began to take their toll.  We wandered in the direction of the Greek Theatre but we couldn’t commit to the climb to the top.  We convinced ourselves that it was too hot, too expensive and too crowded with tourists.  As I write this, no longer hot or tired, I do regret slightly that we didn’t experience the spectacular view from the top.

Taormina has a cable car that connects it to the beach far below and this made us curious what the beach looked like so as we left Taormina, we took the route along the coast.  The route did not disappoint us. The beaches hug the rugged coastline and stretch to small islands just off the coast.  The beaches are not large but they do have a stunning location.

More than any place we visited in Sicily, Taormina will stay with us and entice us to return!
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