On our third day in Sicily, we made the trip to Taormina on the east coast of Sicily, to see the ancient ruins.
Our first stop after breakfast was another trip to our gelato shop!
In line with traditional Sicilian breakfasts, Kin went for granita and brioche!
We then made our way towards the central bus station to get a coach to Taormina.
It was scorching on this morning, and the skies were a beautiful clear blue.
Despite the heat, I really enjoyed the stroll and revelled in the beauty of the tall palm trees and the general buzz of Sicily.
We finally arrived at the central station!
Although we had finally made it to the central bus station, it turned out that in order to buy our tickets, we had to walk a few more minutes to a different office.
The dilemma really began once we'd bought our tickets. As the people in the office did not speak English, the most direction we were given was a vague, off-handed point to what seemed like a medium-sized coach parking lot.
After taking a look at all the buses lined up and not managing to locate ours, we eventually returned to the office to try again for directions. Eventually, we realised that we had been looking in the wrong place for about 15 minutes... I was starting to melt by the time we found where our coach would be!
|I guess the jacket didn't help with the melting...|
As far as I can remember, it was just the four of us on the whole coach...
Private tour bus? Woohoo!
|Yush, we sleepy. zZz.|
An hour later, we had made it to Taormina!
And it was gorgeous!
As the coach had stopped at a bus station on the middle of the mountains, we decided to take our time and casually stroll up towards the ruins. It's amazing what you can discover when you're not pressed to reach your destination by a certain time! We certainly took plenty of photos, and may have even accidentally strolled into someone's front 'porch', which was huuuuuuuuge.
We found a small shop and topped up on fluids, before navigating our way towards the ampitheatre; wandering through the small town and peeking in at the windows to see what they had to offer.
I had a thing for the flat-topped trees... :p
Most of the stores spilled out onto the streets, mainly offering tourist goods like magnets and Sicily-'branded' merchandise.
We eventually made it to the ampitheatre (Ancient Theatre of Taormina)!!
I loved that no matter how far we were from Catania, you could still see Etna standing tall and proud in all her magnificent beauty!
It was at this point when I decided to try my hand at filming myself spinning on the spot... I swear YouTube makes it look so easy...
Obviously, I failed. But it was fun and I can't help but laugh every time I watch this!! :D
By this point, my feet were covered in sand and grit from the stones, so when we decided to climb higher up on the walls and my floppy sandals resembled walking on cardboard flaps, I gave up and went au naturel (on my bare feet!) with a mind for exploration at a greater height.
It was after this photo above that I threw my shoes over to Kin and attempted to scale across towards the patterned rock. We were high up, and everyone could see, but I had no issues about flashing my undergarments to the whole theatre.
Emergency shorts to the rescue!!
I'm prepared like that.
Unfortunately, a tour group came in and an Italian man started to shout at us... so the cause was lost and I had to climb back down and return my sandy feet to the pretty cardboard flaps of walking doom.
^That's where we had to get down from!
I like having a personal photographer :D
|Just look at Etna!|
Here's a short clip of the blinding sunlight... I only stopped because someone wanted to get past :P
We roamed around the the ampitheatre and found a place that looked straight out onto the sea.
It was so peaceful and calming that if we weren't so hot and hungry, I'm sure we would have stayed a little longer. Instead, we decided to make our way down the mountains to look for food and Isola Bella, and to be closer to the lower bus stops when we left. Our route down to the coast came in the form of...
Once we'd reach the other end and had a good search for somewhere to eat, we discovered that we'd chosen to find lunch during the riposo, the Italian for siesta. We even strolled through a hotel with a private beach!
We were about to give up when we noticed a restaurant that looked closed, but had people sat on the terrace, just chatting and smoking. Luckily for my stomach, they said they would serve us!
Service was extremely slow, and it was expensive, but they did have some funky art. I was content and fed, and we set off to find the bus stop back to Catania!
After locating random bus stops and failing to find Catania listed on any of the timetables, we found a newsagent-type store, where a friendly old man tried his best to explain to us where we should head. It turned out that the bus stop would be quite a long walk away, but even after deducting the time it would take us to walk over, we discovered that there was still enough time for a quick stop at Isola Bella!
Isola Bella is a small island that lies a few metres off of Taormina. It can be easily accessed via a small strip of sand that joins it to the mainland and it's pebble beach.
We lingered for a while and enjoyed the calmness of the sea, before we made our way back towards the road. My cardboard flaps were not doing so well at this point; they were definitely losing the battle against the hot pebbles.
I actually gave up and went bare foot, but the pebbles were too hot and painful, so Wilson had to piggy-back me across the beach towards Isola Bella... For the walk back up towards the road, I stole Kin's trainers :D
We then made our way to the bus stop which was about 30 minutes walk, maybe more... it didn't even feel that long because we stopped several times to take photos and just enjoyed the beauty of Taormina.
|These reminded me of a plant I have at home - a photo was needed!!|
Once we'd arrived at the bus stop, we weren't too sure if it was the right one... we had a feeling it was for buses going towards Taormina rather than the other way round... We stepped into the hotel (the brick 'castle' pictured) and checked with the 'receptionist', who was really just a guy in what resembled a living room, surfing the internet on his MacBook.
Turned out this wasn't the stop we had been aiming for, as the bus had already left. We waited for roughly an hour before the bus came and we made
or slept our way back to Catania.
|It's cereal, yo!|
For our final dinner in Sicily, we went back and tried our luck with the restaurant 'U Fucularu' that had been packed out on the previous evening. As it was so late (~10pm), a table was free and I was able to taste the best pasta that I have ever had in my life.
No word of a lie.
|Creamy mushroom and pistachio pasta - this was amazing.|
|Steak of horse!|
|Steak of pork|
As our Sicily trip fell after the European-wide horse meat scandal, I felt it only fitting that I tried horse meat in a country where it was a delicacy and not a way to cheat the rest of the supply chain. If my memory serves me right, I don't think it was too different to beef. There was no specific taste that signified any difference, but I suppose the texture may have been a little more tender?
It was an extremely long day (as you can probably tell if you got this far), but the weather had been amazing and Taormina was so charming! I was sad that this was our last full day in Sicily, but it had made me fall in love with the place even more. I'm getting wanderlust again just writing this up!
I hope you enjoyed catching up on day 3! :) Our last day in Sicily will be up around the same time next week!
Thank you for reading