The past five days have flown by! We left last Tuesday by night train for Sicily. I learned that night trains are pretty bearable. I may have also accidentally used a toilet seat cover to wipe my mouth after brushing my teeth but that’s a story for another day. Our trip started in Reggio Calabria with a visit to the Riace Bronzes, 2 of 5 known bronze statues in the world that were found in the sea by a scuba diver. We had to go through a cleansing room before entering the room and everything. They have a museum all to themselves and stand on earthquake-proof bases. It is amazing how well-preserved they are to have spent so much time in the sea! From Reggio Calabria, we boarded a ferry to cross the Messina Strait where we hopped on a bus to Taormina. The rest of our afternoon was free, and our group spent it adventuring the rocky beaches and trying to soak up some sun. We ate dinner overlooking an island in the Mediterranean Sea! The next day, we took a gondola up into the city where we found an ancient Greco-Roman theater and strolled through some beautiful gardens.’Twas quite a lovely time spent in the town of Taormina.
Next stop was Agrigento. We pit stopped at Piazza Armerina’s Villa Casale and admired the mosaics and masterpieces of the huge villa. Then we continued on to our hotel in Agrigento and ate dinner as a group. We started the next day with a tour of the Valley of Temples–once home to 21 temples, 10 of which are known about. This is also where I had the yummiest lemon granita I have ever had in my life. The archaeological museum was next and told the rich history of art and pottery and vases and molds for sacrifices and a model of the Temple of Zeus and the Sleeping Giant and lots of cool history knick knacks and facts. The next part of our visit was to the Turkish Steps. We ate lunch on the beach and then walked to the steps, almost blew right off of them (it was really windy) and then set up shop on the beach for a perfect afternoon. I was a diva and rented a lounge chair and enjoyed a nice afternoon snooze and also found out that Sawyer Gray Crow had entered the world and spent the rest of the afternoon bragging about how perfect he is. That day was by far my favorite!! I fell into bed that night and slept like a rock.
Our last full day was spent at the Monreale Cathedral and Palermo. The cathedral was made up of bible stories depicted by amazing mosaics. We had to leave pretty quick because the church was being used for a wedding, and we got to see the bride and her father pull up to the church and walk inside! It was pretty neat. Then we went into the cloister connected to the church and studied the different capitals of the twin columns, all of which were different and told various stories and myths. After that, I ate the most scrumptious cannoli of my life and proceeded to stuff myself so full that I did not eat for the next day and a half. We visited a couple of different sites in Palermo, including the Teatro Massimo (the steps where someone shoots someone in the Godfather? I’m sorry I haven’t seen it yet, don’t hate me). We then wandered the streets for a while before boarding a night cruise to Naples. We danced the night away and admired some lighthouses and stars and fellow boaters on deck before going to sleep. We ported this morning and hopped an 8:00 train back to Florence! It was an absolutely marvelous several days in Sicily! We head off for Cinque Terre tomorrow and then leave for first free travel next Sunday. Mamma mia, the time is flying!!