Monday, March 23, 2009

We're Going to Name Our First Daughter Taormina (Maybe)

I guess all the so-called gypsies got the same memo to clear out of Sicily for our trip, because there were none to be found in our lovely little city of Taormina. In fact, it felt a little bit like we had reserved the whole city just for us (with a few locals and some exorbitantly wealthy Germans thrown in).

After a 13 hour train ride with some couchette confusion and a couple of sea-sickening ferry minutes, we arrived in tiny Taormina. We got a little worried there for a second when the only things greeting us were some Mafioso Taxi Drivers and torrents of rain. However, when we reached our hotel and saw the place we were allowed to call home for the next 2.12 days, everything seemed right with the world. The sun came out while we settled in and the Corso beckoned to us.

As Uncle Steve indicated, Taormina is the Gem of Sicily. Strings of coral and turquoise fill the walls of virtually every shop. Next to them are sometimes strange, sometimes beautiful things made of lava rock. That is, of course, because Mount Etna sits not-so-idly by in the no-too-far distance. In fact, "she" sat right in front of us as we munched on Nutella and crackers on our hotel balcony. We even saw a little section glowing red at night.

The coastline is quirky and interesting with its curly peninsulas and deeply cut inlets. The water bounces blue off the white rock beneath and the pebbly beaches are filled with treasures of wave-softened pieces of ceramic and porous balls of black lava rock. And the citrus fruit! It seems like everyone has a lemon or orange tree growing in their yard. They have these ridiculous lemons that we took to calling the "Football Lemons" because they were nearly the size of an American Football!

The shopping there is great...very slow and relaxed and varied. It helps that the main Corso leads directly up to the famous Greco Roman Theater that perches on a cliff, framing Etna in its tattered walls. We're pretty sure we got mistaken for famous Americans while soaking up the sun on the "bleachers" of the theatre. This young German couple was taking pictures of themselves with us conveniently and obviously in the background! Too funny. They got embarrassed when we noticed.

Ok, so here's the whammy. On one of our many jaunts up and down the Corso, right after a nice meal at La Casanova Cafe, we rediscovered this small (clean, professional, not at all sketchy) tattoo/piercing parlor. It was run by a young man and his brother who were Italian and spoke broken English with an Australian accent from living there for a few years. After much panicking, convincing and with a nod from Penn, it was there that we all (girls only) got our noses pierced! Ah! So, yes, right now I have a little stud in my nose, but I may take it out after a little while. We'll see the reactions I get from people. I've always kinda wanted to do it, and what better place than Sicily, right...??

Anyway, my most favorite part of the trip was one evening when we watched Mount Etna first come out from underneath her blanket of clouds. It was amazing to see the sun gradually burn off the cotton comforter and watch the snow-capped peak begin to differentiate itself from the cloud cover. It was overwhelming. It's exciting to know that the next time I fill "ETNA" into a crossword puzzle, it's going to mean so much more than just the satisfaction of a correct answer.


  1. You mean you're not Brad and Angelina?? Will Taormina be allowed to pierce her nose too?

  2. If twin girls then Taormina and Taorluath. And you DO realize that nose-studding is just a gateway to other body decoration... the eyebrow... then the tongue... then you're bleaching your skin, wearing Doc Marten's with black "Morticia" dresses and eyeballing the designs in the tattoo parlor window... My friends we got trouble... right here in River City...

  3. First, I love that you got your nose pierced! And not at "Piercing Pagoda" in the mall--but Sicily! Perfect.

    Second, sounds like you had an incredible weekend. I'm going to go check Facebook for pictures of the volcano, lemons, gems, waves, and, of course, the nose!!

  4. WEIRD! I got MY nose pierced this weekend Too!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I love that picture of you guys! See what happens when you start with an innocent tattoo of your love's name on your forearm? Next thing you know, you've got your nose pierced! What a great memory! Thanks for sharing the details of this trip with us. No shame here...we definitely live through our kids.

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