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Report 1911: Travels in Sicily and Southern Italy

By Linda Hagstrom from Pennsylvania USA, Spring 2011

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Page 7 of 14: Saturday April 2 - to La Bussola

photo by Linda

Crossing the Straits of Messina

After breakfast I went to the market again - gigantic - then walked to Villa Bellini. This was a beautiful park on a high area of Catania, with wonderful views of Etna. It made me even fonder of Catania.

I took a bus to the train station. I was traveling to the mainland, to an area just at the toe of the boot, called Capo Vaticano or more precisely Ricadi. It is in Calabria, Italy.

The first leg was Catania to Villa San Giovanni, which passes through Messina and across the Straits of Messina. For this part of the journey, the train is divided into sections and put in the hold of a ferryboat. I had done the same crossing many years ago.

Once the train is in the boat, the passengers can leave the train and go up to the deck to enjoy the view. I had done this the last time, but when I went back to the train, I had no idea which section had my car and I knew the train would be put together and driven off the boat very soon, so I just got on and later found my car. This is chancy because the train is again divided at Villa San Giovanni, part going north and part going south.

So this time I was careful to remember my coach number and where it was. I went up, and it was as wonderful as the first time ... a beautiful day, views of Messina on one side and the mainland on the other (they are not very far apart here). Then back down.

My next leg was VSG to Rosarno, and the last a one-car train from Rosarno to Ricadi. At Ricadi, I phoned La Bussola, my hotel, and a young man came for me.

La Bussola was delightful and I enjoyed it very much, but it would have been better later in the season. It had just reopened after the winter, and there were just a few guests, the pool was empty, and trips to the Aeolian Islands or to the beach not on at that time. I could see the Aeolian Islands - Stromboli and another one - from my terrace.

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