European Cruise

Istanbul-Turkey Varna-Bulgaria Odessa-Ukraine Sevastopol-Ukraine
Ephesus-Turkey Rhodes-Greece Limassol-Cyprus Cairo-Egypt
Athens-Greece Kusadasi-Turkey Santorini-Greece Messina-Sicily
Naples-Pompeii-Italy Rome-Italy Monte Carlo-Monaco Marseille-France
Barcelona-Spain Cadiz-Spain Lisbon-Portugal Paris-France
London-England People Ship General Items


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 flowerboxes.
Photo 703 shows the stone seats in the Greco Roman theater. Other non-stone seats permit larger crowds to use the theater for performances.
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 window flowerboxes.

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