This is the blog post where I do start sounding like an arrogant spoiled traveller. But overall for my four nights on Sicily, I didn’t find it particularly special or beautiful. Northern Italy was actually much more dazzling I thought. And of course nothing compares to the postcard beauty of New Zealand either. Sicily was in fact my least favourite part of my Italy trip. And looking back now, I even wish I had skipped Sicily as I would have enjoyed spending an extra four nights in the next country on my itinerary.
Part of the problem was that I was starting to feel very tired by the time I arrived in Sicily. Everyone has highs and lows during travelling trips, and Sicily was most definitely my low. I felt overtired, grouchy, and unreasonably picky. Kinda similar to how I get when I’m really hungry and can feel my blood sugar dropping, and I become irrationally choosy about where to eat as I literally just cannot think any more. I’m sure the majority of people have a different Sicilian experience to me and have a wonderful time. The Italians flocks there for their summer holidays. So if you are wanting to go there, just ignore me and go for it. I do recognise that I am being a bit harsh and over-critical of the Sicilian region.
For the first night I stayed in Palermo as that was where my overnight ferry landed from Naples. Palermo is a big port city. Being all fussy, I was just unimpressed that it didn’t have a beach immediately by the city as the shoreline was occupied by the port. You could catch a bus or train for half an hour to get to some nice beaches. But that felt like too much effort for me that day. There also is not so many attractions in the city itself. Palermo is more popular for the nightlife which is apparently the best in the whole region.
I walked around and tried some Sicilian food and felt grumpy mainly. The parks just weren’t as nice as many others I have seen. And it seemed too noisy in general. The buildings all looked a bit rundown and it seemed seedy. The one attraction I went and saw was the Capuchin Catacombs which were pretty creepy even for me with my tough nurse background. Many many skeletons all dressed in their Sunday best looking very gruesome. I didn’t like it very much as it was just a tad too grisly for my taste.
No photos allowed out of respect for the remains. This image is from telegraph.co.uk
Even this tasty dessert didn’t help my mood
This coffee was pretty good though
This was fairly typical of how the buildings looked here
I did rather like this horse’s hat
For the remainder of my stay I headed to Taormina. A small pretty town on the east side of Sicily. I liked it much better here as it was quieter and more scenic with the volcano Mount Edna in the background, and the ocean in the other direction. I spent most of my time here just chilling and having down time. Exactly what I needed to re-energise.
Grazing up at the village of Taormina on the mountain-side
An ancient mini-truck near the beach
The main attraction in Taormina – an ancient ruined amphitheatre
Isola Bella, the small island at the base of Taormina
Empty loungers on a chilly day
This is a cannoli. A Sicilian speciality dessert. The white stuff is a sweet creamy mixture with ricotta and chocolate chips. Really tasty!
I would have liked to head to the Aeolian Islands as well but I needed to be aware of the overall time. I think the islands would have made my Sicily experience hugely better as it sounds like they are uniquely beautiful and interesting with a couple of them being active volcanoes. They are a little expensive to get to and stay on I noticed, but I think it would be worth it. However I had a planned overnight ferry from Bari which is 500km away on the opposite side of Italy from my present location of Taormina, and rather tricky to get to. That is another reason why I had regrets of going to Sicily, as getting to Bari from Naples would have been literally a million times easier. I had scheduled a Blablacar ride which was conveniently on just the right day for me and simplified getting to Bari.
The morning of the Blablacar ride, the driver cancelled the trip. Due to some technical fault in a flight or whatever, he now couldn’t make it. All I could think was SHIIIIIT. And then began the worst day out of my whole trip.
Where I stayed: Ai Quattro Canti
Price: €17 in a 6 bed dorm
Overall: I think it was a good hostel. I was all overtired and cranky for my stay which didn’t help. The brother-sister team that ran the hostel were quite friendly and made free coffee/tea all the time. They were also nice enough to let me in at 7.30am since my ferry arrived so early and showed me a couch to snooze on.
Where I stayed: Gianni’s House
Price: €18 in a 6 bed dorm (for which I was alone for the whole three nights!)
Overall: I liked this hostel better as the location was a little isolated from the main town which suited me. It was also oh so nice sleeping alone in a room. Such a treat. The staff were really good at suggesting day trips to do (of which I did none!), and I loved the view of Mount Edna from the rooftop terrace. And the wifi was amazing. So fast!