Here are my top five things to do in Taormina, Sicily:
1. Have cannoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner (:
2. Walk to Isola Bella (it means beautiful island in Italian)
The guy who sells you the ticket to walk around the island is going to make you feel like you have a special discount by saying, “for you, tickets are two euro.” Then you’re going to realize that the sign that clearly states that the price for everyone is two euros (oh, those Italian men).
While you’re there, break the rules a little and climb over the sectioned off rope to explore the parts of the island that are “forbidden” to tourists. (:
3. See the Greek theater
4. Meet new friends and make a wine cooler with rocks on the beach
SIDE-NOTE: They say “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and I think that saying should stand for anywhere you go while travelling. So, if you feel the desire to lay out topless on a European beach - go for it. I won’t judge and it’s actually quite freeing… Plus, you won’t have to worry about tan-lines (;
5. Stay at Hostel Taormina!
The staff was super nice and helpful and told you where to get discounts in town! Plus, look at the view from the terrace!
One last thing! I didn’t get a chance to visit the Turrisi Bar while I was there, but if someone could check it out and let me know what this “famous penis collection” is about, I’d appreciate further clarification, thanks!
In one month I traveled around Italy, Sicily, Croatia and Spain. I saw brand new places had some of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned more than I had ever anticipated on this trip.
Beautiful seasides, Greek temples, cathedrals, art and culture, pizza and cannollis, are all fantastic but the best experiences I had were thanks to the many people I met along the way. Whether it was someone in my hostel, a stranger attempting to help me when they didn’t speak any English, locals who invited me to sit with them at dinner when they saw me eating solo, or an entertaining tour guide. Above all what made my trip unique were the people I met in this past month. People from all over the globe that even if I never see them again I hope I never forget them and their stories.
Before I left my friends asked me if I was scared or nervous. At the time I was too busy finishing up college to let it register but I honestly thought it would hit me once I was on my own and I would be scared. Although I had my moments where I was scared (cough cough Palermo) for the most part I was so busy enjoying every ounce of my experience that I didn’t have time to worry. Like someone in my last hostel said, “just because you’re alone it doesn’t make you lonely.”
For the most part I think I packed pretty well. This is definitely the lightest I’ve ever traveled anywhere for any amount of time (just one backpack for a whole month!) there have been a few things that I wish I had packed.. but at least I’ll remember them for next time.
Here they are:
- External drive. I’m glad I didn’t pack my whole computer. I’m in Europe and I didn’t come here to spend my time on the computer. Plus relying on my smartphone and paying for time at internet cafe’s really limits my time on the internet which is good when there is so much to see and do in a new city. However, I do wish I brought my external drive. I’ve been keeping all my files, reservations and guides on my dropbox account which has been great but it would be nice to have something that doesn’t require internet access to get to my documents! Plus, the major reason it would be beneficial to have packed an external drive is that I’ve already filled up the memory card on my DSLR. I’ve been using dropbox again to store images but like I said, I’d feel more comfortable if I had somewhere off the internet to keep them safe!
- Towel. Just a small to medium size one so I wouldn’t have to pay one to three euros at every hostel to rent one. The last hostel made me buy one actually for five euros which I found annoying. The towel actually is pretty good for what I need though its small enough to be packed easily and big enough for showers/beach/etc. I’m just pretty sure I could’ve found a similar one for less in the States.
- Nyquil/Dayquil. The pill kind. Didn’t pack any because I decided I wasn’t going to get sick and I wanted to save space. That was dumb because they hardly take any space and I did get sick! Thank goodness for the sweet friend I made in Taormina who gave me a couple days worth of both Nyquil and Dayquil!
- An art tube. Since I was about 12 I started collecting paintings from street artists in different places I visited (my first one I bought in one of an old ghetto in Prague). I’ve already bought two paintings and tomorrow I’m going to the studio of an artist that I bought from four years ago in Florence. He said he’d give me a REALLY good discount since I’m a returning customer and his paintings are definitely my favorite ones that I’ve collected.
- Tevas or Chacos. Or whatever those hippy shoe are. I swore I’d never get a pair but honestly, I wish I had for this trip! I’ve done so much walking and the shoes I brought aren’t as comfortable as I thought they were.
Just a couple little things that would make this trip easier!
I’ve officially been travelling around Italy and Sicily (apparently they’re separate) for one week now! I’ve been to Palermo, Taormina, Segesta and I’m now spending my first night in Milan!
Taormina was possibly one of the most amazingly beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Actually, the entire island of Sicily is one of the the most naturally beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Volcanic mountains next to the blue ocean- it was remarkable. Even if Palermo did scare me the first couple nights and I woke up screaming from night terrors for the first time in my life. It really wasn’t that bad though. Luckily, one of my friends that did a study abroad with me in Florence two years ago, was also in Palermo at the same time as me. After exploring of the nicer parts of town, I found that Palermo really wasn’t as bad as I thought. Thankfully I didn’t wake up screaming my last night.
I met two fun and sweet girls from Wisconsin at my hostel in Taormina. On the last night there we all wanted to have one of those full course Italian meals. I got seafood risotto and veal for my courses. The other girls got lasagna, swordfish and mixed fried fish for theirs. I couldn’t even finish my food but it was delicious. The last morning in Taormina we all did a hike up to an Arab castle and saw some incredible views of the city and sea.
The other place I visited in Sicily was Segesta. There’s pretty much only one reason to visit Segesta and its for their Greek temple. I think I read that the temple there is actually in better condition than the Parthenon in Athens. It was definitely worth the trip. I missed the bus and had to take the train to get there. It was about 30 minutes longer of a ride and I had to hike a kilometer uphill to get to the temple. At the end I decided that that must be how the Greeks felt hiking up to temple and decided it just added to the experience. There was also a pack of rabid, wild dogs on the way up to the temple. Yes, Sicily has wild dogs. They have red eyes, they growl, they’re not friendly and they are scary. But thanks to some kind Sicilians, who didn’t speak a word of English, that drove on the road between me and the dogs in order to block them from me, I made it up in one piece!
I really have had the best encounters on this trip. So many kind people have insisted on helping me in little ways even though they don’t know a word of what I’m saying! I’m so thankful for all of them!
Anyways, I have a busy day of museum hopping tomorrow in Milan so I gotta bounce.
Let me recap the past five days of my life:
I graduated college.
Hopped on a plane (on my 22nd birthday).
And arrived in Florence!
Needless to say it has been a BUSY five days!
I’m so happy to finally be in Italy though. I’ve been planning this trip for the past semester. While my dad will be in Florence for the next six weeks teaching a study abroad course I really wanted to see parts of Italy I haven’t been to before. I’ve been to Florence and Tuscany quite a few times. I lived here for four months when I was five years old and visited for six weeks at a time almost every summer I was in high school.
- Palermo, Sicily (6 days)
- Milan (3 days)
- Venice (3 days)
- Back to Florence (6 days)
- Herculaneum (1-2 days)
Then probably Barcelona and Madrid then back to Florida!
This is the lightest I’ve ever traveled anywhere in my entire life. Only one backpack for the whole trip! It’s going to be a very busy and interesting six weeks!
Things that make me happy right now:
- my fam
- my cats
- tiramisu gelato
- color blocking
PS- If you want to see a few more pics that I’ve taken since getting to Italy you can click here…