A few days on a fantastic, sun drenched island. All this thanks to my son and family, who were traveling the south of Italy in a camper van, and who had asked me to join them somewhere on this trip. I decided on Sicily, one of their stopping places.
I flew from Amsterdam to Catania on May 22 and from Catania airport I took a bus to Taormina, where I had booked a hotel for that first night, not knowing when exactly I would meet up with my family. The hotel, Villa Nettuno, was a charming family hotel with a gorgeous view from the terrace off my room. It was walking distance from the bus station and very close to the bustling downtown area. Checking my emails I found out that the family had just arrived on a campground just north of Taormina. We agreed to meet the next day after breakfast. After soaking up the beautiful view I set off to explore some of the town. I meandered through the narrow streets, visited the Teatro Greco, checked the delicious goods in the small shops and finally decided on an outside patio for my seafood dinner. Good choice. View of another patio where people were enjoying, what I found out later, granita with brioche. After a good night’s sleep and breakfast on a sunny terrace, surrounded by flowering shrubs and plants and with again that amazing view, I packed and went outside to wait for the kids to arrive, while checking out the sights in the area. They did arrive with some delay after taking some time consuming wrong turns. Once they had parked the van, and the little ones were enjoying the promised gelato, we took the funivia (cable car) down to the beach. We had a wonderful time there, enjoying sun and water. Afterwards we went back up with the funivia, and started our drive to Miscarello, where we were invited by friends of my kids. A tiny village, peaceful. The villa overlooked Giarre and the Ionian Sea.
Dinner outside, view of the sea on one side, Mount Etna on the other.
Next day after breakfast we loaded up 2 cars and drove via Milo to Zafferana Etnea, where, after eating some delicious pastries, we checked out Oro d’Etna (website under construction), a honey place. There we all sampled olive oils and many different kinds of honey. Loaded with several purchases we drove on to the Silvestri craters in the Parco dell’Etna. It was quite a drive up. We noticed a spot with a great view of Etna and decided to have a photo stop there on the way back. After parking near the Silvestri craters, we hiked down there. Was it ever windy! We could really lean into the wind and not fall down! The scenery is of an incomparable beauty. The men challenged each other to go up for a fast hike while we wandered around and enjoyed the surroundings. Later that day, back at the villa, we enjoyed a delicious barbecued meal, followed by talks and limoncello. And very late, out on the courtyard, we experienced the “escapades of Mount Etna”. She rumbled and spewed. The sides on the top had a red glow. It was an eerie and awesome sight! Etna thundered all through the night. We watched her through an upstairs window very early in the morning and listened to her rumbling and thundering.
Breakfast outside again and then off to Catania. We experienced the very busy city streets and lack of available parking spots. But we did get to where we planned to go: the Pasticceria Savia with its delicious pastries and desserts. Bellies full we drove to Aci Trezza where we had hours of fun on the rocky beach. That evening we had dinner at a small restaurant by the water and enjoyed the most delicious seafood meal I have ever had in my life! Then it was time for me to check into the airport hotel as my flight back to Amsterdam was fairly early next morning. Good byes all around. Sad to leave but full of happy memories of a beautiful island. I have seen only a tiny part of it, but it will stay with me forever.