We’ve spent the last five days in Sicily with the Halls. It began on Sunday with an overnight train from Rome. By 8:30 on Monday, we arrived in Taormina, a beautiful town tucked into a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. There were a couple glitches with our hotel rooms, but the staff made up for it with some fancy upgrades. And here we’ve spent our days on a little vacation in the most southern region of Italy.
Except for some awesome restaurant suggestions, we’ve ignored most of the local recommendations, choosing instead to play cards by the pool all day. So while there may be some pretty important sites and attractions we’ve missed, there are no regrets about the following highlights of our visit.
1. The Poolside. It’s been 95 degrees every day. The pool is perched above an expansive view of the sea and the nearby beach town of Naxxos. It is surrounded with lounge chairs and umbrellas. And there is a bar and restaurant which serve platters of antipasto and a full lunch from 11 to 4. We spend at least six hours here every afternoon.
2. Mt. Etna. This is the tallest active volcano in Europe. It’s right up the hill from us. It’s been smoking constantly since we arrived.
3. Marmalade. Citrus is a Sicilian specialty. Always within arm’s reach of our poolside chairs, there grow lemon trees. Oranges garnish our apertivos. And the first decision I make every morning is what to spread on my toast at breakfast. The kitchen has a display of seven big jars of marmalade including blond orange, blood orange, bitter orange, lemon, and mandarin orange. (There is also a jar of fig and prickly pear jam.)
4. The Mediterranean Sea. We ventured beyond the hotel once for a little outing. On Wednesday, we booked a two-hour excursion on a boat to see Taomina’s Blue Grotto and swim in the salty, blue Mediterranean Sea. This is the cleanest, prettiest water ever.
5. Sardine Pasta. This is one of the best plates of pasta I’ve had since we arrived in Italy three weeks ago. Sardines. Go figure.
6. The View. From our hotel room or on a walk to dinner, you see it all from Taormina.
7. The Halls. Being with friends during this past week has been the highlight. The boys are happy all the time. They have two of their best friends to hang out with all day. And at this age, they are so independent. We even get them their own table at dinner. And for me, one of the best things about being with Deac and Lynn is how much we all laugh. It is such a good feeling to have my stomach tired from all the laughing. Their visit came at such a perfect time to break up all the work we’ve been doing while trying to move and settle in to Perugia.
That’s not quite 10, but like I said, we’ve sacrificed some of the sites for an extra game of cards or another drink by the pool. No regrets.