Travel Throwback is a series of blog posts based on a 10-day Mediterranean cruise that I took with Mike, my mom, and my brother aboard the Celebrity Equinox back in August of 2011. Back then I wasn’t blogging about my travel but luckily I kept a journal and took a LOT of pictures and I can’t wait to share!
August 20, 2012
We’ve arrived at our first official port of call-Sicily! With only one day and so many things to possibly see, we opted to take an excursion through the cruise ship. Our itinerary included a visit to the lovely town of Taormina, a stop along the Lava River created by Mount Etna‘s eruption in 1992, and lunch and a wine tasting at a family vineyard near Mount Etna.
Once we docked at the port in Messina we met our tour guide, Nunzio, and boarded our bus to wind up the narrow roads to the hillside town of Taormina. Taormina is a beautiful town situated on cliffs high above the sea, offering fantastic views of the blue waters below and Mount Etna in the distance.
Taormina is definitely a town for tourists-the beautifully preserved medieval streets are lined with shops and restaurants and lead to the town’s main attraction-the Teatro Antico di Taormina (Greek Theater). For €8 (in 2010) you can enter and make your way up for an even higher viewpoint. The theater still holds concerts and Boy George happened to be in town before we arrived, so unfortunately our views of the theater itself had a bit of stage equipment thrown in.
After bartering for a coral and jade bracelet and grabbing a cannoli and a bite of arancini, we boarded our bus and headed to Mount Etna’s lava river. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanos in the world and the tallest active volcano in Europe-it was actually erupting when we were there! The “lava river” we visited was formed from the eruption in 1992 when several homes, fields, orchards and vineyards around the town of Zafferana were completely buried-I can’t even imagine living near an active volcano, it’s crazy to think about how many people do!
After this quick stop at the lava river it was on to the winery. We were welcomed to the backyard of a lovely family-owned winery where we tasted wines and enjoyed a small but delicious lunch overlooking the vineyard. It was a a beautiful day and the perfect way to end our time in Sicily. We soaked in the sunlight as our wine glasses always seemed to refill themselves and the bruschetta kept finding its way onto our plates….funny how that happens!
We were definitely exhausted after this day-long tour, but it was well worth it to see a few different sides of Sicily. After the winery it was back to the ship to set sail for our next port-Athens, Greece!