Tuesday 22 September 2015

This is the last day of the touring part of the holiday – we are staying on a further week in Taormina in the hope of getting a suntan and maybe seeing some further sites depending on how we are feeling.

Today however we are visiting the huge volcano – Etna – which we have seen in the distance on earlier days.  It is clear this morning and as we progress down the main road we can clearly see the top of the volcano.  It is active and the height of the mountain is slowly growing.

The photographs are here.  It is hard to convey the scale of the volcano and I hope they give some idea of the size of it.

We progress up to the station and then take the cable car to much greater height.  Then like on Lanzarote it is a coach to higher still where we are shown around the slopes of the volcano and some of the vent holes at higher levels are indicated.  I go for a walk which appears in the pictures and so we are (for once) almost the last back to the tour coach at the bottom.

Next is a real surprise.  A wine tasting had been promised but the Nicosia wine tasting is a real step beyond anything I have experienced elsewhere.  Not only do we get to sample some fine wines grown on the slopes of Etna with local grapes in some very well maintained surroundings but also the kitchen turns out a huge meal which had not been mentioned in the itinerary or the by the guide.  Marvellous anti-pasti and arancini.  This was superb and quite unexpected as I had been a touch worried over consuming alcohol with no significant food.  We later discover that the wines do not seem to be imported greatly into the UK – which is a pity.  And of course I should mention the chicken collection.

We return to Taormina itself and take a walk through the town and visit the amphitheatre – the photographs are here.  The site is of Greek origin but much of what can be seen is actually Roman who reconstructed it.  Still heavily used in the summer for concerts of all sorts – although nothing which appeals to us whilst we are here, so there is also more modern seating; none of it looks particularly comfortable.

In the evening our tour guide leads us out of the hotel (which I omitted to point out is really in Letojani) and along the front – luckily in the opposite direction to the one we took the previous evening to a very nice modern restaurant where we have another excellent meal.  Very nice.  This is the last time we shall be together so thank the guide and bid each other farewell as we walk back.

We return to the hotel for the final time to pack prior to our transfer to Taormina in the morning.