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Hello From Sicily – Goodbye Taormina – Hello Milazzo
My last day in Taormina had begun: I woke up at dawn to pack my suitcase since later today I would be moving from Taormina to the city of Milazzo. I enjoyed my last breakfast on the splendid terrace of Hotel Villa Nettuno, the place that had been my home for the last seven nights. The pictures from yesterday’s excursion on Etna flashed in my mind. The view of the Ionian Sea continued to fascinate me and I hope that one day I will find myself in beautiful Taormina.
My last day of class had begun and our strict but charming language teacher, Carlo, continued to teach us the intricacies of Italian pronouns and adverbial phrases of time and place. His colleague Simona took over at 11:40 for our communication exercise and we started listening to a recording of a real-life Italian call-in show where a person called into a radio station to talk to two psychiatrists for discuss fears and phobias.
Each equipped with headphones, we listened to the recording twice and recounted what we understood. We then embarked on an unscripted discussion of our fears and phobias. In addition, Simona had prepared cardboard cards with questions. Each of us has to choose from the pile of cards and we have to choose who we will ask the question we have chosen. This provided another great opportunity to speak and apply our Italian language skills. A lively philosophical discussion followed and everyone had a chance to express their thoughts and feelings.
After taking pictures with my classmates and our teachers, I went into the office to say hello to Alessandro and his team. All the equipment at the Babylon Language School had been very helpful during the last week of my stay, I had really improved my Italian skills (and was officially at an intermediate level now), and I had a lot of fun all our various excursions: from our hikes in Castelmola on Friday one week, to our archeological and cultural excursion in Syracuse, to our walking tour of Taormina, to my overview of cooking classes and pottery decoration in Babilonia, to our excursion de randonnée sur l’Etna et à diverses cena et manifestations sociales, les sept dernieres The days were full of exciting activities and opportunities to learn and form new friendships.
I sincerely thanked Alessandro and his team and hoped to return some time in the future. Together with two of my new friends, Jill from the UK and Connie from Switzerland, we went for a little walk and decided to have lunch at a local restaurant called Panoramic Bella Blu which is located in Via Pirandello right next to the cable car. station that connects hilltop Taormina with seaside Mazzaro. We enjoyed a nice late lunch with a stunning view over the Mediterranean, and about an hour later I had to say goodbye. I had to get back to the bus station when my bus would come to take me to the Taormina – Giardini Naxos station so I could trek to my next destination: Milazzo.
Before leaving I went back to Hotel Villa Nettunu to quickly download my photos and take a few more shots of the beautiful garden that is part of the Sciglio family estate. At the top of the garden is the so-called “Tempietto” (“small temple”), a temple-shaped viewpoint with benches and a wide view over the Ionian Sea and part of Taormina. I took a few quick photos with Vincenzo Sciglio, the patriarch of the family, and two of my colleagues from German Babylon and at 5:30 in the evening I said my unfortunate goodbye. Vincenzo has promised that when I come here next time, he will take me to the family’s country house where they make the house wine. He said that he produces grape juice for wine by stomping on the grapes with his bare feet. Well, the next time I come to Taormina, I definitely want to see that one.
Although my departure was a little sad, my next adventure was already waiting for me: tomorrow I would embark on a week-long sailing trip around the beautiful Aeolian Islands with another language school called Laboratorio Linguistico, based in Milazzo.
After a 10-minute bus ride, I arrived at Taormina – Giardini Naxos station and had to wait about 45 minutes before my train showed up. The commuter train that arrived was a beautiful, sleek, modern train and I took a seat in the corner. A few rambunctious teenagers were playing loud music, singing and dancing. Obviously teenagers will be teenagers no matter where you go….
A local gentleman sat opposite me and introduced himself: Giorgio works as a security guard at the Greek theater in Taormina and he likes his job. He told me about his family: his wife stays at home with his three children while he is the only income. His job gives him enough income to look after his family and he said he keeps his expenses low. The family has only one car and he still travels all year round on his 30-year-old Vespa. Giorgio also said that a few years ago Trenitalia, the Italian government’s railway system, invested in new commuter trains. Giorgio smiled when he said that the rest of the rotating material is almost “museum quality”.
He also said that the strange spring weather we’ve been having (a fair amount of rain, fog, cloudy skies), is rather unusual. Normally at this time of year the weather is clear and sunny. He summed up his feelings by saying that for the last three years or so the weather has been strange. A side effect of global warming perhaps?
After Giorgio left about half an hour on the train, I had the opportunity to reflect on the 8 days I had already spent in Italy, and the new adventures that were to come. I was starting to feel a little apprehensive about the sailing trip that was supposed to start tomorrow. I was wondering about seasickness, the small confined space on a sailboat and I was praying to God that I had good shipmates. On a small sailboat, even a really weird character can make the trip unpleasant for the rest of the group.
Another part of me was really looking forward to the experience, and my anticipation grew. After changing trains in Messina, I arrived shortly after 9 pm at my destination for today: Milazzo, headquarters of the Linguistic Laboratory School, and the embarkation point for my sailing trip tomorrow.
Francesca, the school manager’s wife, graciously came to pick me up from the train station and took me to my home for the night: a fully equipped 5-bedroom apartment right above the school offices . Francesca took me to my room that I was going to share for one night with my new travel companion: Claudia, a Lufthansa flight attendant from Germany, was also going to go on the sailing trip tomorrow.
While Claudia was sleeping, I went out for a very late dinner. It was already about 10:30 pm before I found a local restaurant two streets over. I had a delicious Insalata Cappriciosa and at 3 euros the insalate was less than half the going price of restaurants in Taormina that charged about 7 or 8 euros for a salad. I realized very quickly that tourists in Taormina pay a premium rate for everything and that Milazzo was definitely a cheaper terrain. Back at the apartment, I uploaded my photos and briefly met two of the other teachers at the Language Laboratory: Jean-Claude d’Irlande, who teaches English at the school, and Francesco (Franco) Pozza , Italian teacher and co-owner of the school. . I knew that we would meet outside the school tomorrow morning at 9:30 am to meet Francescu Di Santi, the other co-owner of the Language Laboratory, and our boss of the week.
I sat in bed tired, wondering what the next week would hold. I was excited – looking forward to my first sailing trip.
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#Sicily #Goodbye #Taormina #Milazzo