Day Eighteen – 20 April 2016
Weather: 22, sunny
The weather for the whole three weeks has been awesome. Watching the BBC everyday, I could watch the weathers systems and for pretty well the whole month there was a system circulating off the coasts of Spain, France and the U.K. and it was drawing water into all three countries but blocking any weather from crossing Italy. For that reason, we were relatively dry the whole time.
But anyone traveling in the other three countries would have had miserable weather.
I can sleep in a bit today and have time for cream croissants and eggs before catching the HOHO bus at the stop up the street just before nine. It goes along the coast to Taormina and then climbs to Castelmola which is five hundred metres above sea level.
I take the two hours to wander the small town and say hello to some residents.
I take it down to Taormina. The town was founded by Greek refugees from Naxos in 358 BCE and was called Tauromenion. The Greeks built it following their own traditions such as building an acropolis on Mount Tauro.
After the fall of the Romans, the town saw good times under the Byzantines, destruction under the Arabs, restoration under the Normans and stagnant growth under the Spanish. When the Spanish were expelled in the 18th century, the town was under control of several small powers until Italian unification. The town attracted a lot of artists in the early 20th century and its beaches are a big tourist draw. It has a population just over eleven thousand.
The bus dropped me off at one of two possible stops in the town and this is where the timing confusion comes in. Since one bus stop in Taormina is on the way to Castelmola and the other for the bus on the way down from Castelmola, you have to check to see if you want the time that takes you up to Castelmola or the one that takes you down to the shore and back to Giardini Naxos. I made the mistake of asking the girl at the stop and she gave me the Castelmola time. As a result, I essentially missed the bus I wanted and had to add two hours to my stay.
Not that it was a big deal. There’s a lot to do in the town.
My first stop was the ancient Greek/Roman theatre. The theatre was built in the 3rd century BCE and is the second largest in Sicily.
I picked up one last gelato and wandered until the bus showed up. To save me time, I took it as it was going up to Castelmola (since it’s the same bus that shows up a half hour later at the other stop). I wasn’t complaining. One can’t get sick of that view.
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