Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1087: Sicily in February
By davidx from England, Winter 2001
Page 12 of 14: Messina and Taormina
How to concentrate on the stage?
The last full day had arrived and I was set on Taormina - but it wasn't straightforward. I took a bus to Messina and made straight to the station to see when there would be a train - the Rough guide having commended the railway above the road. I discovered that there was a rail strike - just after seeing a bus leave for Taormina!
I am not hypocritical enough to rail against strikers when I spent so much effort at work trying to organise strikes after the Thatcher years. I found I had about two and a half hours to kill and set out to look at Messina.
It was no hardship. It's about the nearest point in Sicily to the Italian mainland and there is plenty of shipping to be watched. I ate my lunch near to a tower with a fine astronomical clock and the time seemed to pass quite quickly. I should have needed a bus up from the coast to the town, anyway, as the funicular I'd depended on was undergoing repairs.
Until fairly recently Taormina was just another hill town. Now it is in most if not all tourist brochures. Unfortunately for misers like me, it is chiefly the expensive hotels that have mushroomed and this was the one place where I had difficulty getting a room for an acceptable price - even after haggling, at which I was improving.
There are only three things worthy of much comment at Taormina; the vegetation, the view and the so-called Greek Theatre, which owes its present state mainly to the Romans. However with that vegetation, that view and that theatre, who could ask for more? Certainly not me.
In how many theatres can you sit with a magnificent view that includes Etna. Various amateur groups were entertaining the visitors with impromptu turns on the stage.
A fabulous prize quality lemon ice cream and later the second really outstanding and moderatly priced meal I had discovered entirely by my own search completed this delightful final evening.
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