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Old July 25th, 2017, 09:25 AM posted to
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Default A report from Andalucia, July 2017

On Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 7:50:56 PM UTC+1, tim... wrote:
"Surreyman" wrote in message
On Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 8:24:54 AM UTC+1, tim... wrote:
"Surreyman" wrote in message
Well, it's the long version or the short version! We'll keep to the
pro tem.

Our normal travelling is usually very much DIY. So, based in the east
Taormina, we had sketched out two weeks in May of moving around most
sights in the island.
However - thank you travel industry - we were advised with far too
notice that G7, of which we'd never heard, was causing a lockdown and
cancellation of all hotel reservations in Taormina for the duration.

We wanted to stay with the hotel carefully chosen (within all this was
family celebration) so we ended up in Taormina a month late, and in
uncustomary heat and humidity (even for Sicily!) that foreshortened too
much activity.
So we stayed centred in the east, cut our various overnighting stays
planned in the west and, in the reduced 'charging around' time relied
conducted tours more than we usually would.

Here's a precis of some notes I sent to a friend who's also shortly
visiting for the first time.

Aeolian islands: Beautiful. Get cruises for the day from the port near
Messina. Do include the version that stands off at sea in the dark of
evening so that you can watch Stromboli erupting - we saw 4 good
bangs/flames within 45 minutes. Great stuff!

Etna: Can't be missed - we were very lucky and apart from heat haze had
exceptional views. Depending on your preference you can stop at the end
the road access (with views up towards the main craters, plus small old
craters nearby to look at), or go on the cable car rather higher, and
take 'jeep coaches' higher still, and then move as high as the guides
let you trek depending on volcanic action. Your choice! We saw copious
smoke action from two top craters plus some black ash eruption.

Syracuse: Its history is rather more interesting than what is left (!)
but nevertheless well worth walking around if you have spare time. Good
stuff from ancient Greek to Roman/Byzantine/Norman and later, but
relatively sparse. A half-day conducted walk would ensure you saw the

Taormina: Our base, which proved exceptionally good for that, and very
attractively sited below Etna. It appears on numerous excursions from
other parts of Sicily, but I wouldn't have thought it was worth any
significant diversion by travellers unless close anyway, but it's
certainly very pleasant, with several good mediaeval piazzas.

All the above using locally arranged day trips?

Aeolians, Syracuse & Etna, yep.

okey dokey

Not as 'touristy' as it might sound.
Bearing in mind that we rarely hire cars ...
Aeolians visits are largely by the same ferries anyway.
Etna, to see various other aspects en route, would be difficult via public transport.
Syracuse area sites are spread out and favour personal transport of whatever type.
Using public transport for all these visits might have saved some cash (not our primary concern) but otherwise would have added little. We're all for 'local flavour' (using dolmeshes in Turkey etc.), but not if it unnecessarily complicates just getting from A to B.