We arrived at Messina Harbor on a rainy day but with very clear waters. For the first time, we were able to see the propeller of the Sea Cloud. Therefore, before boarding the coaches, we walked along the dock to enjoy the view of the beautiful sailing yacht that has been our home away from home. This time, we got to see underwater.
It took us about an hour to get to Taormina. We enjoyed the amazing eastern coast of Sicily with two-meter-high waves breaking on its narrow beaches along the green hills. Taormina inspired many writers and painters in the eighteen hundreds, becoming a popular place for the European aristocracy of those days. Maupassant called it “the pearl of the Mediterranean Sea,” and indeed it is. A pearl encrusted at 700 feet high with buildings that show off the different cultures that inhabited this town over its more than two thousand years of history. We also enjoyed the richness of its culture in the delicious sweets, beverages, liquors, and perfumes that we found along the streets. The Arabs introduced oranges and lemons to Sicily, and you can drink “granitas” and juices of the most delicious fruits. Sugar also came with the Arabs, as well as pistachios and almonds. There is a perfume made in Taormina from the orange flower.
We fed all our senses during this visit, and after a mile walk along Corso Humberto I Street, we arrived at the Greek theater built in 300 BC, where a choral group from Japan was singing. Cultures from different worlds met at this centuries-old theater in front of the sea at the flanks of a mountain. Life has been generous to us.
For lunch, we visited the villa of an Italian baron, Castello degli Schiavi. The villa was used in many scenes for the Godfather films. The baron was the perfect host of his four-hundred-year-old property, where we enjoyed a typical Sicilian meal accompanied by traditional music.
We crossed the Messina Strait with a toast made by Captain John Svendsen. He asked King Neptune for good weather in the days to come while we explore the Aeolian Islands, the islands of the winds. At night, we joined the crew with salty shanty songs and dancing.