Taormina - Sicily
Trip Start Sep 15, 2007
29Trip End Oct 17, 2007
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Well up to this point I was feeling that the Sicilians I had met were not very helpful however the train conductor on my train was a legend
I have to say that snap decision to change my plans was an incredibly fortuitous one. I don't want to cast any aspersions on Malta or anything I have ever done in my life but Taormina is perhaps the most beautiful town I have ever seen. It is a sleepy town nestled amongst the pines and crevices of a huge mountain. The views are breathtaking in every direction. The streets are like walking in a movie set, I cannot state it enough, if any of you are anywhere near this place in the future do yourself a favour and pay it a visit. Thanks for the tip Alex!
First thing I did was book an all day trip to Mount Etna for tomorrow. I paid extra for the final leg of the journey where I get off the bus and into a 4wd that will take me to the summit, 3000 metres above sea level! Man that is going to the best. I also booked accommodation in a quaint hotel on the main street, it cost more but I wanted to enjoy my time here to the max
I gave the town the iPod treatment and walked around for most of the afternoon taking in all the sites outlined in my travel book. I thought Syracuse was amazing and it was but this place surpassed it. I have taken a lot of photos, hopefully they will capture it enough for you to get an idea of what I mean with this place. The main historical feature is a huge Greek amphitheatre that sits on the highest point of the town.
Whilst walking around the town I couldn't help but notice another village at the summit of the mountain (mount Taoro) where Taormina was situated (half way up). I soon discovered there was a steep 3 km staircase that meandered up the mountain to its summit. I loved that walk, the views all the way up were breathtaking only to be beaten by the 360 degree views at the top. It was exhilarating. On my way down I decided there was only one thing to do, I wanted to run up the mountain! I got back to my hotel, put on my running gear and was pumped. The guy in the hotel foyer asked what I was doing and I told him. He said I was mental. I had done similar training runs during my football days, I was confident I could do this.
Well I have to say it was extremely taxing on my body and tiring but that feeling when I reached the top was amazing. I was so high up and so relieved that I did not have a heart attack! :) I managed to scale it without stopping but man my legs were heavy the last 50 metres or so. What a feeling! The run back down was great and upon returning to the hotel received a high five from the dude at the counter
I showered and then stepped out to get a few things for tomorrow. The bus was leaving at 7am which meant I would miss breakfast in the hotel so I bought a few bananas and oranges. The travel agency where I bought my Etna ticket also said that it could get very cold at the top so I should take a jumper or jacket. I did not pack one from Malta so I bought a sports type jacket with "Sicilia" on the front and an Italian flag on the side. What a wog!
For dinner I was determined to have something other than Pizza or Pasta so I ordered a steak with mushroom and cream sauce. A glass of Sicilian wine and I was set. After dinner I wandered to the main square, took a seat and just observed. There were couples walking around, families with children running and playing in the square, old Sicilian men sitting on benches chatting. It was a serene setting and I had a wonderful time sitting there. I could not help but smile and be content. What a great day.