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In Sicily

#1
We arrived at Catania airport May 20th and headed to our apartment in Taormina. I had some trepidation about Taormina as some people hate it for being very touristy with tour groups and boat cruises. But I thought it was worth seeing and am glad I did. We enjoyed our time. We loved our apartment with a panoramic view of the sea. We were by the Catania gate and it was very quiet. There was a great coffee shop around the corner and going early in the morning it was filled with local workers and older men chatting over their drinks. The cornetti was great.cooking their delicacies all along the main street. There was also wine producers. All the money wen
I think the key to enjoying a resort town is to spend a few days there and go out in the early morning and evening. You get a frrl for the place that is very different than if you just spend an afternoon.
We were very lucky in that our 2nd evening there was a food fair with local producers and chefs from all over Sicily. Food delicious. It was a fun experience.
Next Salina, Aeolian Island.
My WiFi keeps cutting out so better post this before I lose everything. Glad be found WiFi not the greatest in Sicily.
 
#5
Hope you enjoy the Isole Eolie. I found the island hoping fun and this helped by the noticeably different character of each island. Bizarrely Vulcano always sticks in the mind, for the rough and ready volcanic mud baths and strong but not overbearing sulphurous smells. A very striking experience.

p.s. if looking for a good local red wine that isn't expensive, I'd recommend Hauner's Hiera. It's perhaps a cross between a good Cotes du Rhone and Chateau Musar, but I reckon it also has a faint hint of the smell of Vulcano! That might sound unappetising, but I think it's a great wine for the price (~10-12 euro).

You'll probably notice prices are a little (but not excessively) elevated on the islands - most notably where stuff has to be shipped in, that shipping comes with a cost. Stuff grown there is very good value.
 
#6
I am writing this report from our cute little casa in Scicili. I have already visited Taormina, Salina and Ortiga. WiFi has been spotty plus am using my mobile, hence these report's may seem a little abrupt.

We hired a taxi to take us to Messina where we caught the ferry to Salina, the green island. We stayed at a sweet little b and b in Malfa(I'll Gelso). We chose not to island hop but to explore by foot and car. After almost renting a scooter, we opted for a beat up auto from the local mechanic. It was a hoot as the side mirror would fall out every time I shut the passenger door. I ended up holding it in place.

We loved Salina. Very quiet. We understand it gets crazy busy during the summer.

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#7
Mmm I see that some of my report on Taormina didn't quite make it as I intended.

On our 2nd evening there was a wonderful food and wine fair. The main street and many of the side streets were filled with chefs from all over Sicily preparing delicious morsels. We wandered from one stall to another eating the most heavenly tidbits. All money went to charity. A contest between 2 celebrity chefs was held in the main square. It was a riot.
I think practically the entire town turned out either as assistant chefs or to sample the goodies.
At one point the plaza was filled with people in chefs hats taking selfies. I believe these were the locals enlisted to assist the star chefs. It was all great fun.
 
#11
Today we got a parking ticket in Scicli! Grrr. We couldn't park in our usual spot so as an empty one across the street went in there. There were no signs plus there was a blue line indicating that fine to park there. Frustrating and confusing. We can't park in our spot Saturday or Sunday so we're going to have to figure this one out. Off to polizia soon to pay ticket and hopefully sort parking out.
 
#13
grazie mille. A simple answer. We've had quite an adventure trying to pay this ticket. We went to polizia which was a hike from where we are staying. Were told we had to pay it at a machine. After asking where were the machines as we hadn't seen any, there ensued several minutes of complicated explanations in Italian, broken English and google translate. In the end, he just told us what we had already understood. Pay at machine. There are many. Off we went in search of the elusive machine. Even went to post office where they seemed to think the ticket was very complicated. Finally we found the rather small and discreetly placed machine and paid the enormous fine of 8£!
Finally we understand the parking. We returned to where we had gotten the ticket and there it was another small and discrete machine and blue lines and info on the machine about when to pay etc. Travel! Lol.
 
#14
Prego!! these things also depend on the municipality. In Catania (where I was born) is full of parking distributors. If you are in a small town in Sicily, and you do not find ticket machines, you can buy them at the tobacco shops (not post office). Enjoy your holiday
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
#15
I know about the blue lines but we still got a ticket when visiting Noto (when we were staying in Scicli). We parked in the blue lines, could not find a machine, then forgot about it and walked off. Forgot about it!! We didn’t realise you had to go into the tobacco shop as Stefano mentions above! We paid our ticket at the post office and it was quite expensive if I remember right!
 
#16
We are leaving sweet Scicli after a lovely week. The town is beautiful and charming. We loved sitting out on the main square watching the world go by sipping our apertifs or as in my case licking my gelato.
There were several weddings while we were here and oh the finery. Long gowns and stiletto heels and bright red lipstick.
So many children running freely in the square adored by everyone.
Is there a baby boom. Many many babies and toddlers. For a town of 20,000 there sure were a lot of young ones.
We loved observing a group of adults out for their passengenta cone across each other. Hu hug kiss and proceed to chat in the most animated way.
Question: We were surprised at the amount of children wearing glasses. Over 3 and the had on round colourful ones. Is thus common? Seem strange.
Drivers are awful. I was prepared. Beggars belief. Speed limits don't exist. 160 in a 50 zone. Passing on a curve when we are also travelling well over the limit or what feels safe. Tailgating. All while talking on their phones.

Which brings me to the phones.What did Italians do before the ubiquitous phone?
On the beach, in the water, in their car, side by side each on their phone etc. In the water at the beach.

We hit several beaches. Glorious. Yesterday we went to Pecco Secco where Montebano allegedly lived. We saw his house. I thought it was too big for him. In the square are 2 statues, one of the author and an artists interpretation of Montebano. I have not seen the TV series only read the books ages ago and surprised at how popular he had become. My host has all the DVDs but only in Italian.
We're off today to 2 different agriturismos. Nice to see some countryside.
 
#17
Crazy!! But makes me feel better. The officer kept saying new machines rather apologetically. The other weird thing is that it is free parking in the square near our casa except for Saturday 9 pm to Sunday 1 am. Go figure.
 
#19
Thank you for the lovely reports! We will be in Sicily in October, and I appreciate the photos and notes.

The statues aren't great likenesses, IMO, but I like the "Montalbano sono" -- that so confused me when I first started watching the series and was a beginner Italian student!

Keep your report coming.

Dede
 
#20
Prego Dede. It's nice to know when trip reports are read and appreciated.
We're at a lively agriturismo near Valley of the Temples but WiFi spotty.
Have managed to download Young Montebano and watched 2nd episode where he bought his house in Punta Secca. What fun to recognize everything!
 

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