Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sicily

I think I've loaded too many photos...photos from previous blogs have been deleted, what a mess.  Enough of that...onto Sicily.
When I travel, I don't want to miss a thing, I try to leave nothing to chance.  On cruises, I figure out which way the boat is going, and make sure to get a cabin on the land or ocean side.  When I saw that we would travel through the Straights of Messina, between the toe of the boot and Sicily, I wanted to be awake.  I awoke at about 4 a.m., Robert was already awake, and the sight was beautiful.  Outside was as black as could be, with lights on either side of the ship.  We dressed, and went to the stern, so we could take it all in.  And had our first espresso of the day.




We arrived in Naxos, and boarded a bus to take us to Taormina, with our local guide, Nuncio.  Nuncio told us about the 1st century Greek theater we would see, and where to find some other sights, including a synagogue.  He said everybody lived peacefully on Sicily.



Naxos, with Mr. Etna in background.  Notice the smoke coming out of the caldera...still active.

First stop, the Corvaja Palace, built by the Arabs in the 10th century.
  


Adam and Eve?


A little walk up a hill...the ruins of a Greek theater...but not the big one.  This one was found by accident.
  



As we walked to the main theater...beauty everywhere.




These steps reminded me of Lombard St. in San Francisco.


Plants everywhere.
  
Bougainvillea, palms, geraniums, begonias, ferns.  And big, old sago palms.


 A mountaintop fort.

At the top of our climb, the ancient Greek theater, from the 1st - 2nd century.


All views look toward Mt. Etna.


 It is used for events today.

   
  
A promenade area at the top of the theater...old walls, olive and pine trees.

Our ship in the Naxos harbor.


Next up, walking the streets of Taormina.  Have I mentioned that despite eating 3 really good meals a day, wine at lunch and dinner, and the occasional gelato/granita, we didn't gain any weight?  Maybe because we were on a permanent hill climb...it was great!

It was a sleepy, Sunday morning when we arrived, so we sort of had the place to ourselves for a while...the shops were just opening, it was really lovely.  There was a main street, with streets/stairs that went up on the right, and down on the left.  Mountain on the right, Mediterranean on the left.  The street went through two sets of old city walls, with gates.














Just a mosaic along the street.



I had never seen a centaur topiary before.


 Your basic chunk of marble.




The one time synagogue.



 Back on the bus, we drove through some small villages on our way to Mt. Etna.  We stopped at a country house, and had a three course meal, salad, pasta, veggies...and they accommodated my gluten free diet...again, fresh pasta and bread.  I felt like a princess.  ( I just had lunch on Friday here in Bakersfield, where they promised me that some chicken would be made sans gluten...I was sick the whole afternoon...never got sick on the ship or in restaurants in Europe.  They actually care.)  The hydrangeas were beautiful.




  
As we started climbing up the mountain, there was broom plant and lava.

And then we were there, Mt. Etna...you can't imagine how big this mountain/volcano is...it has either 7 or 9 active caldera.  We climbed up one of them...at least it was cool.  The views were spectacular...we were lucky the broom plant was blooming.  

Looking down into the caldera.
                             


A caldera on the left.

Looking out toward the Mediterranean.  

Chris and Bob. This was July 1st.  Happy Birthday Chris!

Robert and Patty.

Going down the mountain,

and leaving Sicily.

Tomorrow, a day at sea...thank heavens.  Facial, massage, pool....ahhh.









2 comments:

  1. Thank you Barb! There was a lot of beauty around me!

    ReplyDelete