Monday, October 15, 2012

"Leave the Gun; Take the Cannoli" Ciao from Taormina

Keenan and I just returned from a week long holiday in Sicily and Malta. Why Sicily? Well to start, Keenan is a huge movie buff. From time to time he would insist on some "alone with with Ingmar Bergman" watching Wild Strawberries, or he would bore me to tears with a slow-moving Akira Kurosawa film (sorry, just not a fan). However, there is one movie I would be more than glad to watch over and over again.  The Godfather I and II.   


The scenes of the Sicilian town of Corleone in The Godfather was actually filmed in Forza d'Agro and Savoca, Sicily, two rustic little towns just 20 minutes north of the resort town of Taormina where we based ourselves. Favourite films aside, the real reason for coming to Sicily was to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary (and 4th Londoniversary) and for a bit of sunshine under the hot southern Mediterranean sun. Sunshine glorious sunshine!

After circling around a dodgy neighborhood near Catania airport for nearly an hour, we finally made it to Taormina. Between the narrow roads and crazy traffic, let me remind you driving in southern Italy is no easy feat! 

The beautiful town of Taormina, situated 200 metres above sea level on Monte Tauro, boast some lovely views of ocean and post-card perfect views of Mt. Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. Active indeed, we can see smoke spewing creating a little microclimate around the top of the volcano. The whole town and coastline reminds me a lot of the Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast with its vistas, scenic drives, rocky beaches, and crystal-clear waters. 

By day, the town is heaving with cruise-ship daytrippers, all making a beeline to the famous  Greek theatre. By night, Taormina is filled with locals and couples enjoying an alfresco drink on the main square overlooking the Ionian Sea. If we weren't strolling down the main shopping street Corso Umberto, eating our weight in pizza, or devouring our nth cannoli, then the rest of time was spent on the beaches of Taormina. The water was surprisingly warm even in October. I spent some time practicing my swim as we're planning on getting our PADI open water dive certification in Borneo in December.  Note the beaches are not sandy in Taormina, think rocks like the beaches of Nice, France. For sandy beaches, you'll need to head 5 miles towards Giardini Naxos, however, the town lacks the charm and beauty of Taormina. 

Besides taking in the view and sipping local Sicilian wine, we enjoyed each others company and reflected upon the last four years. I can't believe it's been four years! Then it was off to Malta, a little island nation and former British colony, 60 miles off the Italian coast. 

And one of my favorite quotes from The Godfather: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." Ciao from Sicily.

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