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Sunday, August 5, 2012

LAST STOP -- MESSINA AND TAORMINA, SICILY

(to see all the photos, visit my facebook page My Happy Cocoon, and while you're at it, please "like"!  Thanks!!)

Physically back in America but my heart still in Europe, I bring you my insights about our last stop, Messina and Taormina in Sicily, Italy.  This last island is in a shape of a slice of pizza perched beside its mainland where the scenes of The Godfather Part 1 and 2 were filmed.  Messina is an old town that we unfortunately were not able to fully discover due to the short time we were afforded.

On the way to Taormina, we were given a brief tour of the city center.   There is a statue that sits solo by the port surrounded by water with and around its base are the last words in Mary’s (the mother of God) letter to the city after Jesus’ death telling them that it will always be blessed.  How humbling it was to be in the same place where Mary was!  Suddenly, it all became real.

The view of Messina’s shores was breathtaking.  The blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea were alluring.  Arriving in Taormina, you feel the town’s mystery.  Not because of the Godfather, but just the feel of its history, the friendliness of the people forced to entertain the sometime unruly tourists but without a choice in the matter, feeling a tinge of just wanting to be left alone to enjoy their unspoiled land.  Who can blame them?  However, fate endures and we should feel lucky enough that they are able to share their graces with us.

This little town was the home of the cannoli.  It is the place where I tasted the best ├ęclair my whole life!  If you ever get a chance to go, I got it from Etna Pasticceria Corso Umberto, 112.  No, this is not a plug, I just want to share with you the place where you can get the best ├ęclair of your life!

The local artists are full of whimsy and elaborate in their art.  It is not surprising as the inspiration surrounding them daily is plentiful!

Mount Etna is an active volcano.  You can still see smoke billowing out of its mouth all day.  In the morning I saw puffs, but by the afternoon, it was full on smoking, as if to say Prego! (welcome) to all its visitors.  The guide informed us that because they didn’t have plains to plant their harvest, they had to plant them on the slopes of the mountains.

At a local bar and ristorante, we had bruschetta and all it was is a piece of large white bread with marinara sauce, turkey, cheese and thousand island dressing!  Who woulda thunk?  It was delisioso!

I even saw a balcony with a grapevine… yes it was alive with grapes!  It was sad to leave this beautiful city.

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