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MidtownGuy
October 2nd, 2006, 06:34 PM
These are some photos from Taormina, our last stop in Sicily.
The town is perched high above the sea, with Mount Etna rising behind in the distance. It's a beautiful little town, one of the most popular resorts in southern Italy, I gather.

http://static.flickr.com/97/258899306_6b9703ecb2_b.jpg

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MidtownGuy
October 2nd, 2006, 06:44 PM
http://static.flickr.com/101/258936110_c47edf2ce6_b.jpg

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MidtownGuy
October 3rd, 2006, 05:12 PM
Leaving Taormina, we experienced a vacation "disaster day". The plan started out simple enough. We would take a bus to Brindisi, where we would depart on an overnight ferry to Greece. Our deluxe cabin (an uncustomary splurge) was already booked and paid for, we just had to show up at the dock and collect our tickets. The hotel concierge had inquired on our behalf about bus service to Brindisi Yes, he told us, there was a bus which would leave from a Tamoil gas station on the highway outside of Taormina in the morning and it would take us straight to Brindisi, just in time for our ferry. So, we took an expensive taxi ride to the highway, where we waited on the side of the road with all of our luggage. The bus zipped right past us without stopping. Turns out you need to reserve ahead of time for it to actually stop. (Some jerk on the phone never told us that). So, we got in another rip-off taxi back to Taormina center, to inquire about a flight or train. No more leaving that day. The only chance was to rent a car and drive ourselves. Now, this would not have been a problem, but by this time it was afternoon and driving to Brindisi would have to become a race against the clock. We decided to give it a go. Avis totally ripped us off, charging way too much for a one-day rental. Anyway, we were glad to be in our car, and we started the drive north. We arrived at the crossing of the Strait of Messina. After driving the car onto the ferry, we waited on deck as we crossed. Feeling triumphant as the mainland of Italy came into view, we returned to the car to prepare to disembark... the car wouldn't restart! Madonna mia.... We could not get the car off the ferry, and a new batch of cars now began getting onto the ferry from the mainland side, blocking us in. A bunch of Italian men were getting out of their cars and milling all around us and our stuck vehicle. They were yelling at us to get out of the way. ma Non POSSO! I shouted in my nascent Italian. We had no choice but to ride backwards to Sicily, seriously setting us more behind schedule. Back on the Sicilian side, some guy was able to start the car, and we headed once again over the water to the mainland.
Finally reaching Reggio Calabria, the race was on. Hundreds of kilometers to drive before 8:00 pm. I never drove so fast in my life, hands gripping the wheel the whole time. Construction zones and slow-moving trucks kept us crazy. After all day driving like a maniac, we pulled into Brindisi a half an hour too late! Defeated and exhausted from a harrowing ride, we dropped the car at the deserted airport, and were stuck sleeping in a nearby hostel for the night, instead of our cabin which was at that moment cruising across the sea to Greece without us. The whole next day was spent in depressing Brindisi, where there was not a single store or phone booth anywhere in sight of the hostel. We ate old focaccia and waited for the next evening's ferry.

Zerlina
October 3rd, 2006, 05:19 PM
Chris!!! I can't believe it!!! Madonna mia is the right thing to say...:eek:

Bob
November 26th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Love Wired NY. Am going to Taormina in one week for honeymoon, and it was nice to see this heads up! Thanks. They got any hot springs?

MidtownGuy
November 27th, 2006, 11:51 AM
Congratulations. I think you will have a wonderful time there. Temps should be in the low 70's at this time, and it won't be overrun with tourists. I didn't see hot springs, but maybe I'm uninformed.
You'll love Sicily.

MidtownGuy
November 27th, 2006, 12:03 PM
http://www.galenfrysinger.com/taormina_sicily.htm

I was curious and looked around the net, I found some great winter pictures of Taormina at the above link, the pics appear to have been taken around Christmas time.

ablarc
November 27th, 2006, 09:22 PM
Leaving Taormina, we experienced a vacation "disaster day".
A sad and frantic tale. Sometimes no amount of circumspection can save us from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

At least now it's just a distant memory (though probably a vivid one).

ablarc
November 27th, 2006, 09:25 PM
the car wouldn't restart! Madonna mia....
Fiat?

Bob
December 11th, 2006, 06:47 PM
Just got back from this great little town, perched high up on some amazing cliffs above the sea. Had a fantastic time. We stayed at the Excelsior Palace Hotel, which was rated at 4 stars and very, very comfortable and convenient to everything. Some quick comments about our visit here and to Sicily in general:

1. Everybody there dresses to kill. Absolutely amazing. You have to see it to believe it. Is Sicily trying to outdo Paris, or something?
2. Driving in Sicily is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you must attempt! There apparently are no rules, you can drive in any lane you feel like, run any lights, drive and park on the sidewalk, cut in line, cut people off, etc. And the scooters...they make their own lanes, even when there's no room. I can't believe I never saw any accidents or fender benders during the whole time we were in Sicily. [On a side note, we can blame our American car insurance companies for foisting huge cars on us...there is no good reason we can't allow European-spec cars in the U.S. If we are serious about saving energy, then a simple change in the law would bring in millions of fuel-sipping econoboxes that look hideous but handle great and happily zip along at 130 kph.]
3. Food: wine is good. The coffee is terrific. The gelato is over-the-top delicious. Wowee.
4. Mt. Etna -- was erupting during our visit. Spectacular at night.
5. Downtown Taormina...we came upon an awesome main walking route, or "corso," featuring at least 150 upscale shops, starting from just a few hundred feet from our hotel. Fantastic shopping. Just about everybody spoke English, so no problem for us.
6. Messina...yuck! Palermo...cool place!

MidtownGuy
December 11th, 2006, 11:04 PM
I was excited to read some of your experiences. Thanks for sharing. I'm so envious that you saw Etna erupting! How was the weather? Mild?

Bob
December 12th, 2006, 05:24 PM
70-75 degrees each day. Very mild evenings, lows in the high 50s!

MidtownGuy
December 12th, 2006, 08:23 PM
perfect!

lorcar
December 19th, 2006, 03:54 AM
I love this forum
Well, i am from the region in front Sicily, Calabria

Regarding your points below:
1- i understand better now that my eyes are used to the american streetlife. But Milan remains unbeatable.
2- no surprise for me. The only place where i am constantly amazed are Naples and Athens. Americans would think to be in the far west!
3- food. You cant imagine how i miss it. Sicily is indeed very well known in all italy for the icecream and dessert in general

5- Don't know messina. Palermo just a bit. It's a very interesting place for a tourist. Strong identity. But too poor, and too abandoned. I remember i was shocked by the numbers of women shoes in the streets, more than Milano

I am really glad you enjoyed. I think Sicily is - with Tuscany - the most beautiful region we have. Unfortunately - but rightly - most visitors in their first trip cover until Rome, and they miss all the South.
ciao
l



Just got back from this great little town, perched high up on some amazing cliffs above the sea. Had a fantastic time. We stayed at the Excelsior Palace Hotel, which was rated at 4 stars and very, very comfortable and convenient to everything. Some quick comments about our visit here and to Sicily in general:

1. Everybody there dresses to kill. Absolutely amazing. You have to see it to believe it. Is Sicily trying to outdo Paris, or something?
2. Driving in Sicily is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you must attempt! There apparently are no rules, you can drive in any lane you feel like, run any lights, drive and park on the sidewalk, cut in line, cut people off, etc. And the scooters...they make their own lanes, even when there's no room. I can't believe I never saw any accidents or fender benders during the whole time we were in Sicily. [On a side note, we can blame our American car insurance companies for foisting huge cars on us...there is no good reason we can't allow European-spec cars in the U.S. If we are serious about saving energy, then a simple change in the law would bring in millions of fuel-sipping econoboxes that look hideous but handle great and happily zip along at 130 kph.]
3. Food: wine is good. The coffee is terrific. The gelato is over-the-top delicious. Wowee.
4. Mt. Etna -- was erupting during our visit. Spectacular at night.
5. Downtown Taormina...we came upon an awesome main walking route, or "corso," featuring at least 150 upscale shops, starting from just a few hundred feet from our hotel. Fantastic shopping. Just about everybody spoke English, so no problem for us.
6. Messina...yuck! Palermo...cool place!