Wiki Info Messina
Taxi to ferry...lightening/thunderstorms & buckets of rain, even hail! Raymond, one of the 4 brothers who run the hotel, drove us to the ferry. He said he'd gotten up early to find the way there because there were many road closures due to repairs/road construction. Ferry was very mod and even showed a Bean movie - a 007 takeoff, rough seas to begin but ended in sun & smooth sailing. In Polazzo, Italy where the ferry landed we boarded a bus to Catania (we could buy the ticket on the ferry since it was part of the ferry service, thinking it the best option not knowing anything about Sicily.
In Catania we walked to Piazza Duomo where tourist info office was located only to discover none of us had any interest in staying here. On our walk to the bus depot we happened to pass by piazza Bellini & Bellini theater where Maria Callas Sang his famous opera here to mark Bellini's 150th anniversary (street right next to it named after her).Wiki Info Bellini Theater
Once we sat down at the bus depot and perused the Sicily info in our Europe LP it was clear we had little inclination to spend a lot of time here in Sicily, though Bon always likes to travel overland a bit 'to get a feel for the place'. If our pockets overflowed with euros or the dollar had some worth it could have happened. As it was, we opted to take a bus in the direction of Messina (location of ferries to mainland Italy), to a town called Taormina. As luck would have it we got a good look at clouds covering Mount Etna - Wiki Info Mt Etna
recently activated - but the road paralleled the Mediterranean the whole way so good views
on the opposite side of the bus. Once in Taormina (turns out to be high up cliff hanging town) another thorough search for a bathroom turned up several but either locked or unavailable (patrons only) and also found people most abrupt except several in a cafe who said the hostel 'was not a good place.
Well, looks like we'll make short work of Sicily! Maybe the Cosa Nostra has found a legit way to fleece the public, our tea in Taormina was $3 euro=$4 US. Couldn't find any accommodation for less than $80 euro=$100 US so luckily it was early enough to get a bus onwards to Messina. Plan now is to get the ferry over to mainland Italy tomorrow and let Sicily find more likely candidates for itself. Upon arrival in Messina the tourist office was closed but a fellow in the ticket window sent us just 100 meters away to Hotel Mirage
. Here we found our lodgings for $60 euro/3 person room, hot shower, & all the comforts of home, ha! We found Restaurant Buffalo several blocks away and discovered buffalo cheese ( from water buffalo milk) apparently the new craze in food here! We celebrated a successful day having seen Mt Etna in cleared sky just after sunset on our way down from Taormina - the bus driver even stopped at a clear view turn just so we could get good photos of it!