Day 8….. with the last bit of day 7
I’ve started doing these blogs on the day as for the next few days, I am leaving the ship early, (about 8am and getting back close to 6.)
Late yesterday, the PA announced that the entertainment, a juggler had managed to get to the ship, alas, his juggling props had missed the boat….. He lost his balls? Anyway, the nightly entertainment was hurriedly rearranged and they did the Hasbro game show instead. I’m not sure if the juggler has found his balls and is on tonight or not.
Today we arrived at Messina, Scicily. It’s a lovely city although I only went through it fleetingly, and being a Sunday, I think most of it’s 240,000 inhabitants were in church (or getting ready for church) when we drove through on our way to Mt Etna.
Mt Etna is the highest peak of the island at around 3350m high and about 1hr 40 mins drive from Messina. It is the highest active volcano in Europe. I believe Mt Etna doesn’t only have one eruption point, but a number scattered around the top of the mountain. It was quite cool and very windy up there.
The drive up there in a coach was to say the least interesting. The roads are narrow and there are so many hairpin bends. Obviously, our driver was pretty bloody good at his job. Once we got to the top of the mountain, he then had to reverse in between to other coaches. Having mentally congratulated him on that, I was astounded that later when he went to drive out of the parking spot, there was traffic just arriving to the top of the hill as well as cars, etc parked in front of us on the other side of the road. Good job, Bloke!
We got out of the bus and popped in to the nearest shop to check out the lava based souvenirs. My favourite bracelet was a in fact a rosary. So if anyone sees my wearing it, at ease, I haven’t converted.
Next to that restaurant was a crater. It was on the way to circle the crater when a very random man with a goat gave me a piece of lava with a wooden lady bird on it and he wished me good luck. After an hour or so of wandering around the craters and lava and marvelling at the views and we were off again.
This time we were on the road for about one hour. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The scenery again, was lovely. The area is very steep and because of the rainfall and the warmth, Sicily is very lush (well, except where Etna has spilt her lava). Lunch consisted of 4 courses; Antipasto, a tomato, almond and pasta dish, chicken, bacon and potatoes, and finally a cannoli- like pastry. Washed down with as much water and local red and white wine as your little heart desired.
We then got back on the bus and headed for Taormina. Now that road, really challenged even the most amazing driver. Oncoming traffic weren’t always aware that around the corner they were going around was a full sized coach.
Taormina is a pretty amazing place. From where our bus parked, we took a lift the 7 stories up to the main street of the town. The main street is about a kilometre long with the Greek Theatre towards the end and to your right. The main street also has three ‘gates’ that separate the different sections.
When we were there, there were three public places; the town square statue, in front of public buildings, etc., that had pairs of ladies red shoes arranged to create awareness of domestic violence. Each pair had a name and an age attached to it. It was very moving.
The Greek theatre was amazing. It was built in the third century BC. They call it the Greek theatre, but like a lot of things in the Mediterranean, the Romans did their bit too. Our guide explained that the Greeks used stones and the Romans used bricks, so you can see who is responsible for what. Lots of photos taken there, and then we had maybe 1 ½ hours to ourselves. There were plenty of places to spend your money. I spotted a parka in the window of a shop that I thought would be cute on my grandson. I went in and found it, sadly it was not in his size….. oh, and the price tag said 575 euros.
Anyway, great day had. I highly recommend Sicily!
We got back after five, having left at eight, it was a long day.
I went and typed this a decided to have dinner and an early night. So I went to get my dinner table allocation. Well, quite honestly, that was the most awkward dinner I have ever had. Two Scottish couples (who didn’t know each other)…. I couldn’t understand what they said.
Oh well tomorrow, off to Naples, Pompeii, Positano and Sorrento.