Published: March 31st 2010March 27th 2010
So I was the big pusher of going to Taormina during spring break. i had gone there five years ago and absolutely loved it. i went in high school and absolutely fell in love with the town. it was the first place we stopped on our tour and after a hellish day of traveling that included a flight that got overbooked and everyone's luggage being lost, we woke up to a ridiculously gorgeous view and spent the day roaming around this wonderful town. Clearly, it was a necessary place for me to revisit.
Our first day was a complete wash--it poured the entire day--and after a small breakdown after reading the weather report (rain ALLL week)--i woke up to sun and gleefully ran through our cold hostel room (clearly this hostel was not prepared for cold weather ... at all) to get dressed as quickly as possible (i could wear one of the sun dresses i brought, finally!...ok with leggings, but still).
My glee was slightly dampered when, upon waiting for the bus, i sat on a bench that was half-wet with paint (apparently, they used cheap paint that when it rains becomes wet again....awesome, i didnt know paint
did that). However, Tamar (the art major) assured me that she knew how to get paint out, and my dress had a flower print pattern so it wasn't that noticeable (okay, thats a lie, but i was sticking with it).
I put the dress mess behind me and got on the bus for Taormina. The bus stopped off at the station in Taormina, which was a slight hike to the actual city, especially with complicated signs that pointed towards "Centro" that seemed no where in sight and send you down paths that will get you there, but the most complicated way it could. However, we got there and bought some coffee (sadly, since Taormina is a tourist place, buying a cappuccino and sitting down costs 3 euros).
But Taormina is absolutely ABSOLUTELY beautiful. If you have the chance GO GO GO! It's up on a plateau (sort of) of one of the mountains in Sicily overlooking the sea. I feel like I can't actually describe how beautiful it is. Yay photos.
Il Corso Umberto is the main street in Taormina and runs through the town. We walked up that one first, stopping at the random pasticerrias and
shops along it. All over Taormina they have pasticerrias which have made crazy marzapan that look legitmately like real fruit or (more strangely) pieces of meat. It's crazy. I don't like marzapan or I would have bought it, but my friends bought a lot of it. it was so cool looking (obviously...photo).
We, of course, took hundreds of photos as we went along. Taormina is probably one of the most perfect cities to just walk around in. There are so many beautiful and funny things to take pictures of (le scale d'amore anyone?).
Once we reached the end of Corso Umberto Lia suggested that we go to Madonna della Rocca, which was WAY WAY WAY above us. wooo hiking?? Of course i'm in a sundress and boots that have absolutely no arch support but i did it anyway. We asked some old Sicilians how to get there but htey pretty much just pointed up. Along the road. Awesome. We met a nice German lady who took a photo of all of us who told us that it was safer to walk in the stairs (that would have been a key point for the sicilians to have told us)
so we started going up a series of not actually connected staircases, which was sort of confusing so we asked another old Sicilian man who lived in these mountains. He told us he'd show us, which pretty much had him leading us to the stairs, basically running up them, waiting for us, then doing the same thing. We got outraced by a 70 year old italian man who looked like he could barely walk (he could, by the way, walk very, very very well and clearly lived here all his life because he was very used to this walk).
FINALLY we reached madonna della rocca and the view was AMAZING. from this angle you could see almost the entire town of Taormina, including hte Roman Theater and the ocean (with its varying colored water). The view was amazing, and we just stared at it for a while, watching it...until, of course, we felt some raindrops and decided it was time to head back down to the main piazza to take cover from the rain (it seemed like there was a good possibility that it was just an afternoon shower) and get some lunch. we ate in this cute trattoria
(mmm lasagna) before heading towards the roman ampitheater on the edge of the city.
So, although the whole visa = EU citizenship thing worked in Paris, it does not apparently work in Italy. Not so fun fact. so we did in fact need to pay to go into the ampitheater, but it was so worth it. the amphitheater is in perhaps the most beautiful part of Taormina with the mountains and the sea all in one view.
The amphitheater itself is amazing and realtively well kept up--so much so that during the summer there are performances there (i would die to see one there). At this point it was sunny and warm and we decided...well, we paid 6 euros to get in here, let's just chill out here. so we sat on the steps and pretty much laid down and relaxed in the sun.
However, as we sat the wind started picking up so the loveliness of sitting in the sun dissipated a little bit and we decided it was time to head back to the hostel to make dinner. So we got back on the bus for the 30 minute ride (Sicily has this great bus
system on the Mt. Etna side of the island where it takes you to and from all the towns for relatively cheap...very very convenient).
On the way back i stopped at a hardware store for some turpentine to clean my dress (as dictated by Tamar) and amazingly enough, it worked! It took a while, but my dress no longer has a giant green thing of paint on it :) yay
tomorrow: beach? (forse?)
There are more photos below