Over the last few days we have seen numerious companies offering hop-on, hop-off bus services going to various local places. However, there was really only one place that we were interested in visiting on these routes – Castelmola. Turns out that there is a local bus that goes there and for only €1.90 rather than €10, although the latter does last all day. So after a leisurely breakfast we got the bus up the winding road (are there any other types in Sicily?) to Castelmola high above Taormina.
From where the bus stopped there were stunning views across Taormina and the bay beyond. As ever just taking a few steps away from there few tourists ventured and we were able to wander the narrow streets pretty much on our own.
It was in one of these back streets that we found a tiny little church which had an amazing George and the Dragon statue inside. Turns out that good old St. George is also the patron saint of Sicily. And Georgia. And Corinthians (the Brazillian football team). And, well you get the picture, he got around a bit. There I was thinking that we Englanders had him all to ourselves but turns out that he is one of the most popular saints going.
After stopping for a Lemon Soda in a local bar we decided to walk back down to the town. This was a three mile walk down a steep path. We passed a number of other couples who were doing the reverse and judging but the look of exhaustion on their faces I was glad that I got the bus up! Still whichever way you choose to make your way to Castelmola it is worth the trip.
We decided to do something a bit special for dinner this evening and so selected a restaurant from the Dorling Kindersley guidebook which has served us so well in the past. When we got to the location shown in the book there were two restaurants and the one that had the name we were expecting had pictures on the menu outside – never the mark of a decent restaurant. On closer inspection however, there was a small side alley with a sign to the restaurant we wanted, blink and you would miss it. I’m glad we did find the right place as the food was fantastic and properly local. The only downside was the demanding American couple on the table opposite us but then Americans with an over inflated sense of self importance is an occupational hazard for any traveller.