On occasion, James and I think, “Wouldn’t it be nice?” and the next thing you know instead of sticking with our plan, we abandon it. In this case, we turned left 90 degrees south and headed for Taormina. There are moorings run by George Risso ‘en vicino’ to the Taormina railway stop. This meant we could leave Mercier on a mooring and be ferried to land by the very friendly Branko and take a bus up the hill to Taormina. Perfetto!
As we are on a mooring, there is no electricity, hence no coffee. As soon as we walk through the Porto Messina arch, we head for the sumptuous Hotel Timeo and their perfect coffee. We gaze over the Botanical gardens of Taormina with the stunning Mount Etna as the back drop.
We walk through Taormina after the coffee and call into churches and shops. Then we jump in a cab and ride up the tortuous road to Castelmola for a visit to the castle village and lunch. Etna was completely ensconced by cloud and wispy clouds seem to be floating up to us too.
The bus down the hill deposits us at the Arch again and we wait for Frosty to arrive. After Frosty arrives we arrange a quick tour of Taormina, which includes a short visit to the Greek Theatre, which is hosting a film festival but not tonight.
Then we head down to Mercier, move to a quiet anchorage and row ashore for dinner. Frosty’s celebratory birthday dinner was the main event. Today we have motored over to Reggio di Calabria and we found a berth in the Legale Navale.
This meant we were able to visit the Riace bronzes (circa 450 BC) at the Reggio Calabria National Museum. The Riace Bronzes were found by a scuba diver, vacationing in Riace, lying on the seabed and they had been there for thousands of years. There was no evidence of a ship wreck, although they may have been thrown overboard in a stormy sea. Their restoration is wonderful. It is close to miraculous.
In this part of Italy, you can not be non-plussed by the beauty, the grittiness or the surprising. You can only enjoy it.