28 May, 2008

Sicily 2008 - Three days in Catania

Greek Theatre in Taormina Me and Becks finally managed to get away for our first ever holiday together and we chose Sicily.

We chose to fly with RyanAir from London Stanstead, and as our flight was leaving at 06:05 we had to get the train the night before. Arriving near midnight, we settled down to relax in one of the cafes. I was soon asleep! Anyway, we finally boarded and were soon arriving to a beautiful, if slightly windy day at Palermo Airport.

Once we had got the bus to the capital city, and boarded a €23 train, we soon found ourselves wandering through the city streets of Sicilys second city, Catania. We were looking for our B&B, and Angela had given us some great directions so it wasn’t long before we found Catania City Centre B&B. We were given a very comprehensive review of the city and local tourist sights, and promptly booked a trip to Mount Etan the following day.

Mount Etna can be quite stunning.. unfortunately we went on a day with a bit of drizzle! However, we still saw some underground lava created tunnels, and one of the crators at 2000m .. no running lava though. Apparently, its worth going during the night if that is what you are after. Once we got back to Catania, we wandered round and discovered the Castle and also some beautiful side streets. We went out to a lovely fish restaurant that night as well, where we were ‘treated’ to witnessing the Sicilian version of illegal parking.. simply burn the car !! (oh and Manchester United beat Chelsea in the Champions league - it was down to penaltys) The next day, with a small hangover, we decided to get the train over to Taormina.

Views in TaorminaTaormina is Sicilys tourist town. As many Sicilians wanted to tell us, “You won’t see the true Sicily in Taormina” .. maybe, buts it a wonderful place with an ancient Greek Theatre, and it has great views! Anyway, we arrived at the train station and decided to go walk along the beach to find the way up to Taormina, as its situated on a hill… it wasnt until we had walked about 4km that we realised we had gone the wrong way, and at this point we got the bus to the town!!

It seemed to be full of a lot more tourists than usual, and we put this down to a cruise liner we saw in the bay earlier. One of the main sights we wanted to see was the Greek Theatre. It was only €6 for entry, and it was worthwhile. The history and the views are stunning. We wandered round for an hour or so, and I took a lot of pictures - see my flickr page - but soon we decided we had to explore the rest of the town. We headed down the Corso, grabbed overpriced beers and pizza and espressos, and before you knew it we were absolutely knackered and headed to go and get our bus home, which was slightly more expensive than the train there.

On Friday we decided to move on, and after putting the world to rights with Angela at Breakfast, we walked on down to the Train Station only to miss our train! Instead we got the bus, which was much quicker and we soon arrived in Palermo to catch our onwards bus to Trapani..

Tips ‘n’ Tricks?

  1. Take some money before you go, only about one in five Sicilian cash machines let me draw money from abroad.

  2. Learn some basic italian.. not many Sicilians speak English. “Parle Inglese?” … no

  3. Learn to love espresso… oh my god! its great… and keeps you energised!

  4. Take a decent guidebook.. Lonely Planet and Rough Guides both have there updated 2008 versions coming out two weeks after we got back from our own holiday!


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