The Sicilian St-Tropez
28 October 2019
Well, that’s what the guide book calls Taormina. First though, on Friday 27th September we motored the 40nm to an anchorage just north of Messina, passing by the Scylla and Charybidis* without encountering them – just some turbulence reminiscent of Strangford Lough.
The next day was the 29nm to Taormina. We managed to sail goosewinged for about 90 minutes with poled out genoa and prevented main. Arriving at Giardini Naxos we anchored in 6.5 metres and took the dinghy ashore for aperos – a beach landing.
On Sunday we took a taxi into Taormina and strolled – after coffees and cannoli. The long main pedestrianised street, Corso Umberto, is lined with shops for tourists and there are hundreds of restaurants and bars. The Teatro Greco is in a dramatic setting high on the cliffs with an amazing backdrop of the hills, Mount Etna and the sea of the bay of Giardini Naxos – the Greeks certainly had an eye for a setting … then the Romans came along and built proscenium arches blocking the view. Such Philistines [silly, they were Romans; the Philistines lived in the what is now Israel/Palestine and were exiled to what is now Iraq and did not like theatre; the Romans liked theatre … especially involving Christians and lions. Ed].
Here is a curiosity – DH Lawrence lived in Taormina and when King George V visited the town, Lawrence was the only British resident who chose to ignore him. Undeterred the king called on Lawrence and even helped to water his garden.
We had another very nice lunch. The day was only slightly marred by an attempted rip off by a taxi driver – he was mightily annoyed that he did not get away with cheating on the published fares.
*Scylla was on the Sicily side of the Messina Straits and a supernatural female creature with twelve feet and six heads on long snaky necks, with each head having a triple row of shark-like teeth, while her loins were girdled by the heads of baying dogs – lovely eh?
Charybdis was on the Calabria side, lurking under a fig tree, and drank down and belched forth the waters three times a day and was fatal to shipping – eek.
So, Odysseus narrowly escaped their clutches and it appears that we did too.
Photos in the Gallery.