This is what I have always called a "time between times," with my body in Historic Ellicott City and my heart and spirit in Italy, particularly Sicily's TAORMINA. A kind of waiting, I guess...
So, in the interim, while some new local feature is brewing, I will share a few pictures from the 12 day "adventure" trip with an old friend and UCR college room mate, an expert traveler and guide who speaks Italian; she now lives in Seattle, Washington.
First, however, a stop in TROPEA, a coastal resort town, full of history and color, in particular, the familiar yellow pottery, right. I bought two limoncello cups. Oh, and the wonderful, simultaneously sprightly and biting Italian limoncello to go in them.
TAORMINA. Insight Guide describes the area (my words) as "Safe for Shopping," which means it is upscale and touristy, cleansed of anything that would interfere in a surface experience--such as indigenous locals. The town is high up on a mountain, accessible by bus or car, the height being a thrill in and of itself. Historically, this meant it was less susceptible to invasion. So, imagine my embarrassment, not usually liking glitzy places inhabited by tourists with a lot of money. BUT...I loved Taormina, its streetscapes, shops, the churches, birds, view of the sea.
One afternoon, the mountain top was hit by a ferocious thunder storm and everyone had to duck for cover and buy umbrellas...my friend and I ended up in a little cafe to drink some limoncello. The lights had gone out, so the proprietor put a candle in the bathroom...people were generally not happy, but I thought it was wonderful the way Nature takes care of us when we want to be in control. Perfect!
We were in Taormina for three days, but one place in particular sticks out in my mind. It was a municipal garden that had been donated by a woman who visited the town and stayed, then died here. She left an endowment to maintain the spacious garden with its levels, paths, incredible views, and sculpture to the public in perpetuity. The musical offering for that evening was rained out with the chairs toppled from the earlier storm.
Be back in a week or so...
with more local color! People! Fun!
Kay Weeks, content and photos, September 28, 2009