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Published: November 2nd 2006
Toarmina - paradise in the hills of Mount Etna
They managed to catch the 10.55am train from Syracuse to Toarmina which travelled along some majestic coastline; passing Catania as Mount Etna loomed forever closer. Two hours later they arrived at Toarmina, where no accomodation had been booked yet. First stop, the tourist office, who rather brashly suggested the Youth hostel, but did provide a list and map of the hotels. The bus took an eternity to come and when it did, the driver turned out to be a real nutcase. The 15 minute journey up the hill was terrifying enough, especially as the driver was more concerned with chatting and singing to his passengers. He did however know the size of his bus as he wound his way safely up the hill and dropped them off half way up the hill to the bus station.
They first came across hotel Svizzera, which was advertised as a 1* hotel, but they discovered that it had been upgraded to a three star and the receptionist was concentrating more on chatting to her friend on the telephone, so they left before she even bothered to come out to the
desk. Whilst walking up the hill, a Scottish guy approached Martin wondering, it seemed, if they would be happy to share a room with him. They suggested some other accommodation up the road, and within 100 metres they came across the hotel Inn Piero which the Scot had originally thought was a bar.
They offered Maya and Martin a double for 50 euros and Alan a single room for 25 euros. (H: Pension Inn Piero: A tourist class hotel with restaurant and pizzeria. Situated by the entrance of Taormina's main street and pedestrian area, only a few metres distant from the cableway to the beach.)
The room was fine, again with ensuite and it seemed Alan didn’t have any money on him so was unable to pay immediately. ( he seemed quite an odd chap from the first time he laid eyes on them), so they left him to sort his own issues out.
Maya within minutes somehow managed to break the toilet, so they left to explore Toarmina. The town first began life in the 8th Century BC when Greek invaders found Naxos as the first Greek colony in Sicily. Toarmina was founded just after. They headed
into town and had a snack in a pretty mediocre place, where an American girl informed them where to go during the day and at night. They walked to the Trevelyan gardens for a little relaxation.A beautiful tranquil garden, set in the hills overlooking the sea. The place is very well maintained, pottery and statues fill the gardens along with tree houses full of cats (there are many cats in Toarmina). The gardens provide a perfect spot to relax and to admire the spectacular views of the Sicilian coast.
They walked through the tiny winding streets, all extremely clean and well maintained, no rustic/dilapidated rubbish. On their walk, they bumped into the Scottish guy Alan, who actually turned out to be a pretty decent chap. They agreed to meet up with him later that evening, as they found an internet place and did the usual. In the evening they met up with Alan who they shared a few drinks with. He had a fairly good sense of humour in the end, with a very strong dislike to Germans. (Maya liked him). Back in Sterling he worked as a nature preservation representative and had just taken a week out to
visit the Aeolian islands.
A well travelled individual, he gave them the low down on Greece, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and the Aeolian islands. They had dinner with him as he recalled his travelling tales, the drinks flowed and the subject turned to punishment for murderers, paedophiles, etc . His opinions were far more liberal than Maya’s and rather than the rather more extreme punishment suggested by Maya , he was more inclined to go for rehabilitation. Needless to say the discussion became a little heated, at which point they pretty much agreed to disagree and went their separate ways.
Our two continued their night out, by locating a karaoke/nightclub called Tiffanys. It was about 11.15pm and the place was pretty quiet. Just a few locals sitting at the round tables waiting for the music to start, as the karaoke didn’t commence until midnight. Most of the singers were bleating their way through Italian ballads, as Martin changed the mood by singing REM’s losing my religion which seemed to go down pretty well. Maya unfortunately was feeling unwell, probably the copious amount of alcohol she had already consumed. So they headed back to the hotel vowing to return
to following day. Highlight: The Trevelyan gardens.
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