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Published: February 15th 2018
Our 78-day journey began shortly before noon yesterday, as we flew from Daytona Beach (via Atlanta) to JFK in New York, where we boarded an overnight flight to Rome. The final flight from Rome to Catania, Sicily, touched down around 2:00 PM local time today, with a pre-arranged taxi service driving us the last 40 miles or so to our final destination in Taormina.
With four separate legs to begin this odyssey, the connections in JFK and Rome were a little tricky, but all went well---even my lovely companion, aka "Airport Anxiety Annie" (see Dee's comments below), managed to stay on an even keel throughout the airport ordeals. Security screening was a breeze in Daytona, thanks to TSA Pre Check, and in Rome we were able to take advantage of a fast-track security check through Alitalia Airlines.
We were greeted at the Catania, Sicily, airport by a taxi driver recommended by our apartment owner, and he graciously allowed Dee to make a brief grocery stop on the way to Taormina. The weather upon arrival was sunny, but chilly (low-to-mid 40s), with quite gusty winds; our final landing approach into the airport was a little hair-raising. During the drive north
from Catania toward Taormina, the snow-capped summit of Mt. Etna loomed large, while the Ionian Sea framed the views to the east.
The final stretch of the drive to Taormina involves numerous hairpin turns, as the road winds its way uphill before reaching the town at 600 feet above sea level. We finally checked-in our apartment at around 4:30 PM, local time, and it is gorgeous. The views from the terrace toward Mt. Etna and the Ionian Sea below are spectacular! The owner is Sicilian by birth, but of German parentage, and everything is organized with typical German precision and efficiency, from the fixtures and furnishings to the practical amenities.
Taormina is a hilltop town on the northeast coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna, an active volcano with trails leading to the summit at around 10,000 feet above sea level. The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina
, an ancient Greco-Roman theater still used today. Near the theater, cliffs drop to the Ionian Sea below. The island of Sicily, which is an autonomous region of Italy, is separated from the mainland by the narrow Strait of Messina. It's the largest island in the Mediterranean
Sea, lies very close to the northern coast of Africa, and experiences a typical Mediterranean climate.
Dee's Comments: Long and tiring trip, but I have to say "Anxiety Airport Annie" was very calm during a very grueling travel day, airport to airport, then driving from Catania near rugged and beautiful mountains, with the fantastic views of the sea as we neared Taormina. We'll have to regroup tomorrow, starting on our own little marathon around this hilly town...but the view from the apartment terrace is breathtaking! Stay tuned....
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