Published: May 10th 2011May 10th 2011
Monday 2nd Monday to Sunday 8th May 2011.
Monday 2nd May 2011.
Went into to Taormina on scooter. Tom was concentrating so ended passing the entry and up the hill before he realized what he had done. I thought he was looking for a parking space. So back we go and get a parking spot. Walk around and found a Ferramenta (hardware shop) to buy some bits and pieces. We were in luck as they also carried the ‘Fragile’ tape for our postage. We have been looking for a while to buy this but no-one had it – not even the Post Offices.
Went into the school to introduce myself and then to Tourist Information office and got a map. We decided to do a private tour of Mt. Etna on Tuesday – so we book it. More walking around – we see the byzantine catacombs and public gardens and chat to another couple we meet along the way.
Back onto scooter and go further along the road to Taormina Giardini Naxos to have a look. Fairly touristy also.
Tuesday 3rd May 2011
Off to Mt Etna – but problem to start with is that one of
their cars is not working, so they get the father to take us on the tour - he speaks NO English. We go to Mt Etna. Tom chases up about the Giro di Italia tour and after finding the two hotels there, he finds out that they are already fully booked up for the 14th May. So he decides he will just have to ride up very early in the morning on 15th as the road is supposed to be open until 1pm. It is very cold up here – there is still snow on the mountain top. We have a look at the craters and then head back via the seaside.
I made dinner - a cream pasta with truffle olive oil – turned out great.
Wednesday 4th May 2011.
Not much of a day today.
Tom goes into town to do postage, but left behind ½ of the parcels. (He says that postage is his nemesis), so he posts what he has and gets the forms to fill in for what has been left behind. He comes home, fills in the forms and goes back to post office. Don’t need those forms, need smaller ones as
they are small items. All done, so back to van.
After lunch we head out on motor scooter for a short ride up into the mountains to check out the next little town of Forza D’Agro. A climb of 400 metres in 4kms – zig zag up the mountain – very scary for me – I’m on the back looking over the edge of the road and a very long long drop over the edge. Walked around – it has a very medieval character – but there are a lot of renovations going on. Not very touristy, which was great as no crowds.
Back into the town for shopping and then home for dinner.
Thurday 5th May 2011
Into town after lunch.
On the way in, Tom stuffed up and misread the road, it was a U-turn and he went in too fast and then the surface potholed and rough. He says he’s not sure how close he came to losing it, but it was too close for me (can’t print what I said !!!) :-)
Have been back along that road but more slowly.
In town we walk up the steps to the ruins of the Arab
6.5.2011 - Sicily - Valley of the Temples
Concord Temple - best preserved as it was transformed into a church 596 A.D. to avoid destruction as most pagan constuctions were destroyed.
Castle. One thousand steps later to the top and the bloody gates are locked. In fact a German person told us later that it has been closed for a while, but you go up just for the view. Well, yes that is true - great view.
Back down to the little church, San Francesco del Paola, where they hold classical music performances. Tonight a piano player and a violinist.
Friday 6th May 2011.
Up early and rode to Letojanni to meet bus with a departure of 6.45am for tour to Agrigento to see ‘Valley of the Temples’. Built between 5th and 3rd BC by the Greeks, and is still there so it is one of the best sites for viewing Greek Temples. The guide was great and spoke in Italian, English and German. We were there for 2.5 hours. After that we went to a beach side restaurant for lunch – good food and plenty to eat for €15 including drinks.
Then we go to Piazza Armerina about 5km out of the town – to visit ‘Villa Romana del Casale’ - a 53 room luxury Roman villa of over 40,000 sq meters with thermal baths. Built in the 4th
to 2nd BC. Many mosaics on the floors and walls, 1cm x 1cm squares of glass and stone. This is the richest, largest most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world. The mosaics depict gladiatorial fighting, beach volley ball- girls in bikinis (not an Aussie invention after all). It was mind boggling – the size and all the detail. There was a very large fish pond in the gardens – so large, we thought it was a swimming pool. It was abandoned in the 12th century after a landslide covered it almost totally. Some archaeological excavations were not done until early 19th century – hence the preservation of the house. Excavations were put on hold as no money to continue - until about 20 years ago and they started up again. It is all now under cover, and they are gradually restoring it. We were there for 1.5 hours and then back on bus and got back home about 8.30pm. Long day and great value for €65 each for bus and entry fees.
Saturday 7th May 2011.
Finally found a good size supermarket. Later in the day Tom went into Taormina for another performance in the church.
6.5.2011 - Sicily - Piazza Armerina - Roman Villa
These rooms were large as you can see by the people in the background-top left corner of photo - this is only half of the room.
It was Soprano singers, so I didn’t go – not too fussed on this - but Tom says that they were exceptionally good and some fun songs.
Sunday 8th May 2011.
Easy day. Tom on trainer – I get ready for school tomorrow.
Early dinner as there was another performance on in the church – clarinet and piano player. The clarinet player was a professor of music in Messina. We both enjoyed it and the place was full as all the family and relatives of the piano player were there.
There are more photos below