Messina, Sicily, Italy.
I have been fighting a cold for several days. It started in my head
and went to my chest. It is slightly better. That's the price to pay
for living in close proximity to over 2,000 other people, and
touching railings and door handles. Purell dispensers are in many
places around the ship, so they probably help, but aren't a perfect
solution to the spread of diseases. Four couples (including us) are
at our dining table. Two of the other three men also have colds. One
went to the medical office and the nurse put the man into quarantine
in his cabin, for two days. The other man with a cold, and myself,
aren't touching the medical office.
Today our tour took us 45 minutes to the small town of Taormina.
What a nice town. The narrow cobblestone streets and the shops are
unique (to us Americans). We saw the ruins of a Greco Roman theater.
An traditional ancient Greek theater is built into a hillside but an
ancient Roman theater is built free-standing. This theater is
similar to, but much smaller than, the Red Rocks theater to the west
of Denver, Colorado. As with other places on our cruise, Sicily was
repeatedly conquered by other countries, with each country taking
some of the theater, so little of the ancient theater is remaining.
Even Italian areas fight each other, resulting in forty governments
in fifty years.
We also saw an old palace, Italian pastry and Gelati, balconies with
flowers and often the bust of a man and a woman.
Taormina is built on a hillside. The narrow hairpin turns, built on
stilts, require the bus or an approaching vehicle to stop, if they
meet on the turn. Retaining walls along the highway contain built-in
flowerpots. We went through so many tunnels getting to Taormina that
I lost count. The volcano Mt. Etna is the prominent feature of the
landscape in this part of Sicily.
An earthquake in 1908 destroyed the port city of Messina. It was
raining when we pulled into the port, so people drove their cars to
work instead of their morotscooters, resulting in heavy traffic.
Swordfish migrate through the narrow strait near Messina, an are
caught with special boats.
Tour passengers asked about shopping in Messina after returning from
Taormina. That couldn't be done because the shops close from 1pm to
4pm. Could we have pizza for lunch? No, because pizza is only served
at dinner. Mary went walking anyway. She saw the bell tower of the
Cathedral of Messina. It contains the biggest and most complex
mechanical and astronomical clock in the world. At noon a complex
system of counterweights, leverages, and gears, determines the
movements of bronze statues. These statues are different for each
day of the week.
Photo 663 shows a side-street walkway up a hill, with the window
Photo 703 shows the stone seats in the Greco Roman theater. Other
non-stone seats permit larger crowds to use the theater for
Photo 706 shows the stage platform being set up for a performance in
the Greco Roman theater. In the background is Mt. Etna.
Photo 712 shows a narrow street with a small three-wheeled truck and