NoeHill: Venice to Malta in 2002

Saturday 8 June: A Day in Taormina, Sicily

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Mediterranean 2002: Taormina

At dawn, we were south of the tip of the boot of Italy with Sicily in our sites. A gorgeous day. Bright blue skies, warm sun, and mild seas. The early morning sun shone on the hills of Sicily. Mount Etna, not smoking now, loomed above the coastline. The ship sailed easily into the port of Giardini Naxos and dropped anchor. A tender took us ashore and we were soon on a bus to Taormina.

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.


Poster for Il Teatro dei Due Mari in Taormina
Not Mama Mia!...not Les Miz...not
The Phantom...but extended by popular
demand for another millenium:
Antigone and Andromaca
After coffee in a small square, we walked to the Teatro Greco, which dates to the 3rd century BC. It was remodeled by the Romans for use as an sporting arena, and is used today for performances of classical plays. From the upper tiers of stone seats, one has a wonderful view of the sea, Mount Etna, and the Wind Surf at anchor in the port.

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 at sea.


Taormina. Taormina.
Taormina. Taormina.
Taormina. Taormina.


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