Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 10: ‘Caa … (Here)

 The patron saint of Taormina is San Pancrazio.

I wake early because I forgot to bring down the metal blinds on the window on my side of the bed and as soon as there is a bit too much sunlight in the room, I am up at 6.45a. I quietly get ready and sneak downstairs for coffee and to write in the breakfast room. I find if I don’t have these quiet times alone I get really ornery. I do feel frustrated when I can’t find time to work.

I pick a table facing the sea and have a coffee and a croissant. I gather myself and concentrate and am able to think clearly with the quiet. I return at 8.30a to find J and R getting ready for breakfast and we go back down together.

We take the noon shuttle to meet my sister at her hotel in the courtyard. I buy four arancini,  a prosciutto panino and a cannolo from Bar Pirandello on Via Luigi Pirandello for about 15 euros and we feast in F’s shaded courtyard which has lush foliage and trees sheltering the outdoor seating and a walled off little room for shade.

T, F’s boyfriend, has rented a scooter and gone to Mount Etna. We, the less adventurous, take the Funivia (a cable car) that is located almost next door to F’s hotel down the mountain to the spiaggia (beach) for 3.50 euros. My family laughs at me (callously I might add) when I shudder with every bump and jerk of the cable car which passes over a small soccer stadium and the mountain side.

My sister, who has made this trip before can’t remember how to get on the beach without going through the property of the hotels but asked the nearest pedestrian who happens to be Irish. He graciously offers to lead us through a passageway through his hotel.

When we reach the beach the view is spectacular even if the beach itself is rocky and there are cigarette butts strewn along the rocky sand. Smoking and cigarette butts are ubiquitous here. There are short rock cliffs from which boys are leaping and smart looking villas facing the water high up on the mountainside. F has smartly brought her bathing suit and plunges in while we wade along the shore. That's my sister in the foreground of this picture.

We travel back up the cable car and meet up with T for more refreshments at the Bar Pirandello. Then we go in search of gifts … T-shirts for some, bracelets for others. We decide to eat in tonight – we purchase more panini, arancini, calzone and cannoli at Bar Pirandello again as well as fresh fruit – plums, cherries and a liter of milk, which I am craving, from the Etna Market around the corner on Via San Pancrazio (the patron saint of the village) and which I don’t recommend you patronize as the proprietor is unbelievably rude.

We go to the pool and just relax a bit … foolishly I still have no bathing suit because I am uncomfortable with the styles and the prices. There are two pools on two different levels – one with salt water. The pool is to the south of the hotel and the mountain that the hotel is carved into. It is surrounded by trees bearing flowers of various types and colours: white, pink, red, yellow and purple flowers. The only flower I recognize is the bougainvillea which we saw in Roma and Firenze in abundance. Above the pools, a small terrace with tables and chairs then a rock face, more bougainvillea trees and then the elegant terrace where we had dinner last night. Behind us a walkway, the road, then the sea. The pool is deserted so we don’t stay long.

Shortly my more adventurous sister arrives by scooter with T – how chic! She can stay only briefly as the sun will soon set. We will meet tomorrow for our final dinner before we leave on Monday.

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