Saturday 8 June: A Day in Taormina, Sicily
Nine months ago, when the Star Clipper brought us to this same port, we chose to climb Mount Etna instead of visiting Taormina. Near frostbite resulted. This time there was but one choice for us, and it was an ideal one. Taormina is a charming city. In spite of the tourist traffic, it has a peaceful atmosphere. Bougainvillea runs rampant along pastel plastered walls. Hills are alive with olive trees, cactus gardens, citrus trees, and garden terraces. Not to mention ancient ruins and spectacular views.
Tourists are free to roam beneath and onto the stage, which is strewn with props for tonight's performance of Antigone. I helped an elderly couple navigate an unsteady ramp and then talked to them for a while. They were from Surrey, England, but weren't acquainted with any of the "Surrey Four" we had met on the Star Clipper.
When they learned I was from America, they said "Thanks for Afghanistan." They seemed sincerely pleased with the U.S. actions to rid that country of the Taliban and the terrorist camps.
We strolled along Corso Umberto, the main street. There were many small shops and cafes,
several piazzas, and the gothic cathedral. The sounds of a World Cup match between Italy and
Croatia drifted into the streets from innumerable radios. Lunch at Ristorante Granduca provided
a wonderful view, average food, and less than stellar service. Afterwards, we meandered along
many of the quiet back streets, admiring homes and shops with beautiful flowers, intricate
windows, and fascinating signs. Finally, it was time to return to the ship for our final night