My first night in Sicily was spent trying to translate Italian with 4 new Sicilian friends at my old college roommate’s apartment. I learned the easiest way to connect is to play beer pong. Competition brings out everyone’s excitement and you don’t need to understand the words because context says it all. Thank you for the hand motions.
I woke up the next day exhausted and a little hungover. Luckily my old roommate moved to Catania and was driving us to Taormina today to snorkel and explore! We head into the city scoop up my cousin, sister and brother and get on the road. We were going to be 30 minutes late but in Sicily that would mean on time. We speed down the highway going 100 (don’t tell my mom) but still get passed by most of the other cars and cops.
When we finally make it into Taormina and park, which was a battle in and of itself, we made our way to the water. It was already too hot at 1130am as we walked up a hill to then walk down 1000 steps. I pretended we wouldn’t have to walk back up these afterwards.
We choose Nike Diving as our company to take us snorkeling. They did not mind at all that we were late. The staff helped us grab our fins and masks while a parrot popped around the check in desk. Moments later we are heading into the sea to our first drop. Our guide says his name is Jerome but speaks little English, mostly French. Wasn’t expecting that one.
We stop in 2 locations, the first doesn’t have many fish but does have the deepest drop I have ever seen. Conquering my fear of deep water? Check. Screamed into my snorkel? Check. The second location was teaming with fish. Swimming around the large rocks to follow them around literally makes my heart happy.
After about 2 hours of exploring we head back to land, ready to eat. We take the 6 euro cable car up the side of the mountain to the city itself. We pop into the first restaurant we see which our new Sicilian friend said was shit. I really doubt you could find bad food in Sicily though, we were happy.
We walked around the little shops and explore before our walking tour. For 12 euros this beautiful women who must have been a teacher took us all around. We found 2000 year old theaters where she explained the different architecture from Spanish to Roman to Greek. Everyone had a piece of this little island.
The most impressive place was definitely the Greek Theatre. It was carved into the mountain top so people could come for a 2 week conference. They would discuss politics and life. If only life was still that peaceful. Today concerts and operas come through.
After actually walking 10 miles we needed to sit down, eat and drink. We took our tired selves to best restaurant in Taormina per our Sicilian friend Nick, Trattoria da Nino. We were seated at a table right in the front where we could watch the sun set. Jon Luca was our waiter and man did he take care of us. After ordered a fresh seafood plate and a bottle of wine we nommed happily. By this time is was 10pm but we had one more stop; Bar Turrisi.
We took the cable car back down to the parking lot and drove the windy spaghetti roads up to the top of the mountain. Hard to believe weren’t at the top yet.
Besides incredible views, this area has an infamous bar where everything follows a certain theme. Cue eggplant emoji. After having a drink called the explosion we decided it was time to head home.
We sped back to Catania to pass out before our next tour tomorrow of that looming mountain always smoking in the distance, Mt Etna.