Last night we spent our last evening in Giardini Naxos eating at a restaurant right along the waterfront. We had an outside table, as we usually do. The waves were lapping into the cove while little fishing boats bobbed just a few feet out. The night was perfectly clear so we had a fantastic view of Taormina across the bay and up the hill. Lights around the arc of the cove reflected in the water. The air was fresh, and candles burned at the edge of the water. It was gorgeous.
We awoke to another clear blue and cloudless day, ate breakfast at our hotel then caught the bus to Catania. We had planned to take the train to Messina then on to Palermo, but the hotel clerk convinced us the bus to Catania and then on to Palermo was much easier and quicker. She was right. This route also gave us a chance to cross the heart of Sicilia and see some of the interior. It is drier than I had imagined. Small mountains and rolling golden hills …vineyards, olive groves, and other crops covered the hills. Sometimes the crops and olive trees were growing on terraced hillsides, each level supported by old stone retaining walls.
We arrived around 1:30 in Palermo and had time to explore a section of the city we had missed previously, at least during the day. We visited the opulent Palazzo Mirta, still furnished and decorated as it had been when inhabited.
We returned to Piazza Marina where we had seen the huge banyon tree. I can’t remember if I already told you the story about this tree. In 1906, a police investigator from New York came to Palermo in search of the head of the New York mafia. He wanted to try to discuss things and settle down all the trouble. He met with the mafia head one night at this tree. I guess the discussion did not go well. The investigator was shot at the foot of the tree.
We are now munching our way around the town, sampling our last minute Sicilian specialties before we leave early tomorrow for Athens.
See you in Greece!
M and G