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Published: November 10th 2017
Geo: 40.5919, 17.1153
We got up on Saturday morning and left Taormina, heading back to Messina and a ferry to the mainland. Bonney took us right up to the boat ramp!
We drove along the coast for most of the day and didn't take very many pictures. So far, we are over 1300 pictures.
We drove to Borgia to find our hotel. We had to stop and call them because Bonney couldn't find the street the hotel was on. We finally got the info we needed and headed up to our hotel. Wow, it was a beautiful place. They do alot of weddings there. It was in the middle of a large olive grove. A very quaint old building with modern interiors. We took a small nap, walked around the olive trees and then had dinner there. It was very nice.
The next morning, we left and headed to the Parco Nazionale del Calabria. We drove around expecting to see a beautiful park, but were disappointed that it was not very scenic. It looked like the California foothills, mostly dry and brown. We then proceeded down this little road I called the highway of death and vomit, because it was
so narrow and curvy. Stacy was not a happy camper!
We finally made it to the bottom and headed for Caritai, our next destination. We found a hotel in the old part of town with very narrow streets. The GPS again picked a deadend road instead of the correct road 20 feet above us. I found someone to ask about where the hotel was and he walked me over to it. It was on a narrow, skinny cobblestone road barely wide enough for a car. We turned around and found the street but we were afraid to make the turn onto it because I thought we would scrape the bumper. Luckily there was a spot there and we parked and schlept our luggage a block to our hotel. There were some local guys sitting curbside, watching us try to turn the corner and then try to park the car. They were quite amused.
The room was very nice! It was in a 17th century building with a modern interior. It was Sunday, around 2:00PM and everything was closed. No lunch for us. We had some nuts and a cereal bar in our room. We took a small nap and then
headed out to look around and find somewhere to eat. The person at the hotel gave us a business card to a nice resturant, but it was closed for the week. We found the only other resturant in old town and had dinner there. Pizza and wine.
We got up the next morning and headed toward Matera to see the Sassi. They are cave dwellings that were carved into the soft limestone cliffs during prehistoric times and were lived in until the government forced them to move out in 1956! There were 15,000 residents living in the Sassi at that time. They had one still furnished like it was in 1956. No running water, no indoor plumbing, no electricity and no ventilation. In fact there were just 2 rooms and one of them had the livstock in it. Horses, cows, pigs and chickens and chicks under the bed. The smell must have have been awful! We left Matera and headed to our next stop. We had a hotel in Massafra for 2 nights. It has been quite hot and sunny and we picked this place for 2 nights because it had a huge pool and we wanted a day of
rest. The GPS could not find the hotel, but could find the street. We couldn't find the hotel. We had to stop and ask several people where it was. Finalyy we figured out which road we needed to be on and there it was. A big gate was locked and we pressed the buzzer, but got no answer. We sat around trying to figure out how to contact them. The phone number we had was a fax number. Finally someone responded to the buzzer and we were in. Another beautiful hotel in an olive grove. We walked to the pool only to discover that it was green with alge. Crap!!! The owner said he was going to drain it and refill it tomorrow. He did, but its still full of alge. We went to town to find a resturant for dinner. It was dark, there were tons of people walking around, no parking anywhere and we couldn't find the resturant that was recommended to us. The GPS couldn't find it and we had no map of the city. We ended up at another hotel near ours and ate there.
The next morning we went into town and found a TI
and got a map. We visited the Santuario Madona della Scala, which was built in 1731 on top of a Byzantine cave church. We were the only visitors and the very nice caretaker took us on a tour. He spoke no English, we told him we spoke very little Italian, and he proceeded to take us around talking in Italian the whole time. With Gestures and guesses, we kind of figured what he was saying some of the time. It started raining, we couldn't find a parking place again in old town, so we went to a small grocery store, bought some wine, cheese, bread, salalmi and chips and went back to our hotel for some lunch and r&r. Finding dinner tonight will be an adventure.
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