Night Location - Taormina, Italy
A Muse of the Day: While returning from dinner in the midst of the glamorous bustle along the famed Corso Umberto, David spotted a street shop sign of a life size caveman wearing a loin cloth. He directed Amber to watch as he cheekily removed the loin cloth to reveal the private parts of the figure. Amber was embarrassed.
Today was a day spent largely avoiding the Maltese heat and humidity. It said that it felt like 35 degrees and was 94% humidity by 8AM this morning. Not a good sign! As such we left our luggage and made our way to a cafe with industrial size fans and sat at a table directly in line with the gale. Amazingly, Malta serves poached eggs for breakfast, something that is so often lacking from European breakfasts. They also serve iced coffee thick shakes so our breakfast was excellent.
On our way to St Paul's Anglican cathedral, we passed by The Manoel Theatre that is one of the oldest running theatres in Europe built in 1732. Inside, the theatre was ornately decorated and had three tiers above the stalls. Each of the tiers were divided into private boxes with velvet upholstered chairs, so we felt like royalty while posing for Amber.
Unfortunately the cathedral was closed so we returned to the main pedestrian street for some much needed air-conditioning. We again decided on Cafe Cordina but this time we were ushered into a quiet mirrored room that was relatively freezing compared to outside. Drinks and sweets were ordered, followed by another round of espresso and pastizzi. Bliss!
After spinning out the time spent in the air conditioning we wandered a little further, attempted to look in the public library, however this was closed due to the imminent arrival of Prince William. The library is going to showcase the George Cross for a private viewing. How fortunate that we had our own private viewing yesterday!
In need of yet another rest, we sat down in an alley cafe that was positioned on one of the staircases of Valletta. Two large bottles of water were ordered and soon consumed. Soon after, our airport transfer arrived. Interestingly the taxi driver managed to find our apartment even though it was in an impossibly narrow lane that ended in a staircase requiring a four point turn to get back out.
Air Malta was once again delayed on the tarmac and so we spent more time on the ground in the plane than we did in the air. Sicily is quite close to Malta. 25 minutes flying time.
Emerging from the plane and after being collected by our tiny Sicilian driver it was immediately obvious how different Sicily is when compared to Malta. It is green, there are flowers, and the buildings have colour and variety. We caught our first glimpse of Mount Etna through the haze. It absolutely towers above everything else. The drive to Taormina was spectacular. Winding roads, crossing bridges that are high above the ground below and offering glimpses out to a beautiful sea.
Taormina has exceeded our expectations in every way. Our hotel is located 100m through the town gate on the Main Street. From the windows you can hear the hustle and excitement of the people below. Very conveniently there is a gelato shop right across the street that we are yet to try. After strolling the Corso Umberto, passing the Piazza Nine Aprile famous for its black and white tiles and impressive view down the cliff to the sea below, we happened upon a restaurant with a terrace overlooking yet another piazza for dinner. The meal was outstanding with fresh, perfectly cooked pasta and amazing flavour and colour. Amber had Spaghetti alla Mama Mia (what would be called Arrabiata) and believes this to be the best pasta dish of her life. A great start to our two weeks in Italy.