August 02, 2016

Travel Diaries | Three Days in Taormina, Italy

I've been doing an excellent job at neglecting all aspects of the online world. Zero blogging remorse had led to taking even longer to get back to it. I made the 'mistake' of going on two holidays in March (can't complain). After that, I just got side tracked by life. It's taken the depressing reality of Brexit to inspire me to get back into blogging by sharing my European adventures. The trip to Italy involved a day in Naples both before and after our stay in Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily.


DAY 1 - Landing & First Impressions

As there aren't any direct flights from the UK to Taormina, we flew to Catania via Naples. The flight had an epic view of Mount Vesuvius on take off. Once we landed, we booked an hour car ride to transport us to our hotel in Taormina. Since I had done 0 research for the trip, I was taken by the breathtaking views from the hotel.

The first thing we checked out were the Botanical Gardens since it was next door and was free of charge. Instead of walking along the small tight roads, the gardens provided a more scenic route towards Corso Umberto, the main street of Taormina. The Giardini della Villa Comunale has stunning views of the sea, Mount Etna and the rest of Taormina and also seemed to be perfectly well kept. It's also had a quirkiness to it, with a statue of two angels in love and several animal residents.

On the main street we spent hours shopping and exploring the main Piazza. The stores mainly had handcrafted items, from jewellery, clothes, to dinnerware and toys like Sicilian puppets. There were also a few designer stores mainly specialising in Italian leather handbags. I was surprised to find a Kiko store on Corso Umberto but then learned that the brand was actually Italian. We finished the day off with olive oil, pasta and seafood for dinner.

Day 2 - Ancient Theatre & Exploring

We started day 2 by checking out the Greek Ampitheater. Considering it's well over 2000 years old, it's very well preserved. Walking the grounds, I couldn't help but transport myself back in time. Imagining I was watching a play in such a theatre, I doubt I would have been able to pay much attention to the play with such a stunning backdrop.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the town and shopping, mainly for Sicilian pasta, olive oil and chocolate. By the end of the day we managed to exhaust ourselves and had an early night after dinner.

Day 3 - Trekking Etna & Goodbyes

On our last day we woke up bright and early to make sure we packed everything up before heading down for breakfast. Once we had freshened up, we made our way to the lobby to meet our guide for the Etna excursion. As Mount Etna is Europe's tallest active volcano. I was hoping to witness some activity but sadly the most exciting thing to come from it was steam. We had tried to arrange the volcano trip for previous days but it had been storming up there on the previous nights. Resulting in us hiking in the deepest snow I've been in. If it weren't for our guide we could have easily fallen into some craters.

After our hike by exploring some volcanic caves, forcing me to go way outside of my comfort zone. Climbing down into an icy cave with stairs covered in so much ice and snow you're forced to grab on to a string of rope to help you down was terrifying for someone who's not used to do anything outdoorsy.

After enduring way more physical activity than I'm accustomed to, we got back into our guide's jeep and went to one of the volcano's town to enjoy locally sourced food, honey and olive oil. We then had to rush back to or hotel catch our flight back to Naples.

Best hotel staff member during check out time!

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