Taormina – A Warm Sicilian Welcome (and a bit of indulgence)
After a fair amount of travelling and catching up with family we left on a little plane for the beautiful Italian Island of Sicily. Arriving at the airport and picking up our hire car (about the only automatic car that they seemed to have!) we took ourselves out on to the Italian Roads…….and……. yes….. it was not long before we turned back to the hire car centre to pick up GPS – for a number of reasons
Firstly….. my Italian beyond Prosciutto and Bella is a little scarce and the sign posts are… quite rightly as one would expect… in… well Italian.
Secondly…. for the sake of our marriage…. getting lost at night… when you are driving in Italy… on what to us is the wrong side of the road…. is second only to a trip around IKEA to cause that marital tension (and yes I have that female affliction of directing with my hands instead of simply verbally articulating “left” and “right”!).
And an unexpected third bonus of the GPS was that it was very funny listening to the Cockney computer generated voice trying to pronounce Italian street names…. (yes It does not take much to make me smile!)
The only downside to the GPS is that it does not factor in the boom gates that you need to enter to get to our hotel…..fortunately Mr Italian Concierge (our knight in shining armor) came to rescue us right back!
All tension and speed limit infringements were immediately forgotten when we arrived at our hotel… and here are some photo’s of the view from Hotel Timeo….. where we got to experience three days of how the other half live….! Good old fashioned service!
With the smouldering active Mount Etna in the distance contrasted with the lush and fertile land and the beautiful crystal clear sea it was very easy to drift away….. Above is a view of the coast line, and in the near ground the lush gardens of our hotel….as you can imagine our backsides did not move too far from the hotel. Although…. they did have a complimentary bus that takes you to their private beach and a complimentary boat which leaves at 10am each morning to show you around the coastline…..yes yes yes I could have got very used to this…. but not so sure my credit card could cope!
How gorgeous are the cheerful Bougainvillea lined streets outside the hotel (below)……
Ok so now my daydreaming back to distant memories is fixed above…. if you ever get to go to Taormina here are a few musts…..
Food and Things……
1. If you are looking for somewhere special to stay then I would really recommend Hotel Timeo, although the area is so beautiful I don’t think you would honestly find yourself hard pressed to enjoy your stay in any of the accommodation in the area.
2. Always ask the locals where, given the choice of some beautiful traditional food they would eat, and they will generally send you in the direction of the best places that you would never have found on your own…. And in this instance we were certainly not disappointed. The stand out restaurant for us was a place called Trattoria Da Nino. It looks very simple from the outside… but trust me if you are a Seafood lover….. then this is the place for you… you need to try the Carpaccio of Prawns served in fresh orange and Lemon juice with a sprinkle of olive oil….the best!
We also got lucky and had a live Sicilian street band serenade the restaurant with songs which, together with a glass of Pinot Grigio made for a fantastic little Sicilian experience.
3. A trip up to Mount Etna…. I have to admit we ran out of time on this one,… maybe next time. (Mount Etna smouldering in the background of the picture below). It is also a little chilly up there so make sure you take something warm!
4. The Greek Theatre… this is the best place for an early evening stroll to get the best views of Taormina and to soak up a little bit of history. The picture above is taken from the Theatre (and below)
5. Now if late night shopping is more your thing then you cannot resist getting a little lost in the lanes showcasing the Sicilian ceramics and culinary delights of marzipan fruits, biscotti and Limoncello… with the odd designer clothes shop thrown in for good measure!!
6. And if those weary little legs cannot carry you any further then finish the night (or even start the night) with a cocktail overlooking Taormina from at the Hotel Metropole – The little snacks that come with the drinks are the perfect little Italian bonus! What better way to watch the world go by….
I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Taormina…. now on with the colourful journey….