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    There was much local life to be seen, such as here at a café, and boys.

    But the fishermen are working.

    Sometimes it takes two…

    …or a door handle!


      Returning to Serenissima

      Last edited by Seagull; January 3rd, 2015, 09:54.


        And that was theoretically my last photo of that delightful day, but, later that night, our captain had a treat in store, and our captain here on CVF followed the whole detour - to Stromboli.

        There was an announcement and guests and crew alike emerged on deck, reminding me of voyages in Norway when an unexpected aurora occurs. And it felt just like that, I mean like something in the sky, because it was so dark one couldn't make out the profile of the mountain.

        For the first time in my life I saw with my own eyes an erupting volcano, a 'river' of flowing lava.


        • Tommi
          Tommi commented
          Editing a comment
          A very special detour indeed. That must have been a quite cool experience.

        The Lipari pictures a very Italian! They give me a feeling as i had been there also. And you did the best decision to take this restaurant. Your waiter has the perfect attitude for his job.
        You could find no better place to get the real local experience!
        Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


          Day 7 – Messina, and excursion to Taormina, Sicily

          If you look back at the AIS track in post #753/1 above you can see Serenissima's route at the strait of Messina. I woke that morning just before that first course change on a level with Sicily's north most point, and when I went outside I could see both island and mainland.


            The Chief Officer was on the bridge...

            ...and the Captain.


              In the 1950's an overhead power line crossing was constructed high over the strait. A submarine cable has since replaced it, but the towers remain as historical monuments. This is the more prominent one on the Sicilian side, situated on the point of land at Torre Faro. Nearby is the lighthouse Capo Peloro, and I had to have a couple of attempts before managing to capture its green flashing light! An earlier lighthouse once stood on the medieval stone fortress beside it.

              After we had rounded the point, something took me completely by surprise. It ought not to have done, because of course I knew of it. The legend of Odysseus encountering the sea-monster Charybdis, whose swallowing and expelling of seawater created a hazardous maelstrom, had even been alluded to in our first lecture!

              The phenomena, caused by currents meeting in the narrow strait, will be familiar to many readers of this Hurtigruten thread who have taken an excursion to Saltstraumen from Bodø. The one occasion I have been there was not the optimum timing to see the most intense vortices, but their formation looked just like I was now seeing at Messina.

              They are not really as much a danger to shipping as the myths and legends might suggest, but Serenissima was making some unusual movements nevertheless. I would imagine it could be rather unnerving to small boats or sailing ships unfamiliar with the strait, especially as they would tend to be at that side so as to avoid the large ships passing through.

              I watched the water, delighted and fascinated - for sure one of those 'special' moments of the cruise. But, maybe due to the late night volcano-watching, there were remarkably few guests around on deck.


                Across on the port side there were now quite a few ships to be seen, as well as a number of ferries crossing the strait to and fro, such as this one, M/F Archimede.

                Another ferry, Caronte & Tourist's Tremestieri

                RFI's Messina is a train ferry! I have found an interesting pdf article about it entitled "Messina – last before the bridge?", but note that once again that long discussed bridge project, so subject to the ebb and flow of Italian politics, has come to a stop.

                U N Pendkip is a Turkish flagged ro-ro cargo ship, whose routes in the Mediterranean can be seen here.


                  My next still-before-breakfast excitement is the arrival of the pilot boat.

                  After that I seem to have been rushing around the ship before deciding on the best place to be approaching Messina, and certainly succeeded with this favourite type of view showing both the ship and the port.


                    Then it went along towards the bridge wing. I don't know what is in that hatch or what it was that he was doing, and didn't get around to asking as I was by then poised to take a photo of the Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re as we passed directly in front of it. The sun came out at exactly the right moment.


                      Big smile from the Captain who has clearly got used to seeing me hanging around!


                        It was a great place to dock right on the street and close to the centre of the city.


                          "We bless you and your city" is the meaning of the inscription on the fort of San Salvatore on which stands a tall column with a statue of the Madonna della Lettera, overlooking the port.

                          I'd paused to take that view as I - eventually - headed for breakfast, having already enjoyed a wonderful day!

                          Later, from the quay, a view of Serenissima and her port mate of the day, MSC Splendida.
                          ..,.choose your cruise ship!


                            Next, the morning excursion to Taormina, about 50 minutes drive from Messina. As I had been there before, for a whole week in fact, it might have been better to have done my own thing in Messina where it was already obvious that there was much that would have interested me. But my previous visit to Taormina was so long ago that I was curious to see what I would remember and if it had changed.

                            The road journey was in any case a new experience, and the hilly scenery even prompted attempts at taking photos from the moving bus, generally more successful when negotiating a series of bends, as here.

                            Eventually we spiral down and around and even underground, ending in a strange kind of huge multi-storey car park built onto the hillside. It took a while to get everyone down to the specified level, a lift-load at a time, before emerging onto a terrace, across a square and through an archway onto the main street - a walking street - Corso Umberto. The town is perched on the hillside with the sea still far below, and I can understand that even with our small ship the logistics of anchoring off Taormina and tendering would been too complicated. It would have still required buses to ascend to one of the multi-parking places to visit the town and the Greek Theatre as a group visit.


                              The advantages of the 'out of season' timing of this voyage which had been so apparent around Sicily up till now was for sure less in Taormina, which seemed more crowded with tourists than I remembered it even "in season" all those decades ago. But I am willing to forgive tourist excesses for the setting in these captivatingly scenic and theatrical surroundings.