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    Theatrical indeed, for we have walked through the town and reached the famous Greek Theatre, so named although the brickwork construction is clearly of Roman date. Probably it was built over the site of an earlier theatre of the Greek period, which the layout suggests. It is still used for performances today. Although little of the original seating has survived, much of the building around the stage has - to an extent hardly seen in ancient theatres elsewhere.

    I made this panorama view from three photos. The only thing missing is the view of Etna in the distance! The mountain remained tantalisingly shrouded in cloud that day.


      We were now free for a while to wander back along the Corso Umberto to a pre-arranged meeting place before returning to the buses.

      First I walked up and behind the theatre to look at the view towards where I had previously stayed. Along the green valley on the left of the photo you might be able to see the supports of a cable car, a convenient ascent from the sea level. Some vegetation is being burnt, but beyond the smoke, looking to the right side of the small bay, are buildings of the hotel where I stayed. Except that I didn't recognise them because, the hotel has grown hugely since those days. The original villa and garden was constructed in 1830 as the private family summer home of a Cornish engineer who was involved in the development of the railways, and his son converted it into a hotel in the 1950's. As I remember it around 1980, many, if not most, of the bedrooms were dotted around the gardens in individual rather grotto-like buildings. Meals including breakfast were served on the outdoor terrace of the villa, and I recollect wondering if there would be enough room inside if it rained and all the guests were dining at once!
      The hotel is now a luxury 5-star establishment, almost resort-like as one finds in Thailand, complete with gourmet chef, spa and infinity swimming pool, facilities for events and weddings, and even a boat for local trips.

      Given longer than a half day cruise call there are undoubtedly things to discover relating to Taormina’s history as a destination and the many illustrious visitors in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They tell you that modern day celebrities still come here, especially during the film festival and similar events. But walking back along the main street it felt very 'day-tripper-touristy' compared with my own memories, as well as with other places on this trip like Erice and Lipari. I only managed this photo when the street was momentarily less crowded.


        Even the cafes and pastry shops didn't attract me as much as those elsewhere, although I did photograph an ice cream Mount Etna to compensate for not seeing the real one!

        Most of the souvenir shops had identical merchandise like these standard Sicilian puppet characters, and some Pinocchio ones, but lacked more individual local crafts

        I did photograph something in a children's goods shop so I now know what Pippi Longstocking is called in Italy, but didn't go in for a closer look to see where she was made!

        I did peep inside this hotel, which I liked the look of. Although there is more accommodation up in the town than I remember, lots of holidaymakers still stay some way along the coast, such as south at Giardini Naxos, which probably adds to the overall day-tripper impression.

        Anyway, some of these tourists are from Serenissima, for here we again meet up with our guides to head for the coach park.


          View from the bus as we arrive back in Messina.


            The city was rebuilt following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 1908, and suffered further damage during the second world war.
            Some original structure of the Norman cathedral survived the earthquake, but following a fire resulting from wartime bombing, the building was extensively restored in 1943. The photo shows a detail of the bell tower.


              Serenissima in Messina


                Thank you for the new additions. I understand so well your feelings crossing the main street. All becomes very exchangeable, since tourism gets a high relevance to the cities business.
                So those places are loosing their local attractivity. I make similar experiences, since i always liked to buy typical clothes at my holiday destinations. But this is nearly no more possibel today, we find the same stuff and shops like at home...
                Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


                • Seagull
                  Seagull commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Your shopping comments made me smile Ralf, because on my previous visit all that long time ago I did actually buy a dress in an attractive stylish shop on that main street ...and I still have that dress! Perhaps I should have taken it with me for a nostalgic revisiting of Taormina!

                After lunch, I took some photos on board Serenissima, but let me start with a more organised sequence that was actually taken earlier that morning, just before arriving in Messina. I was thinking that I hadn't yet been down to Deck 3, which is where many of the cabins are located. Time for a little ship exploration!

                Starboard side facing aft. The door of the inside cabin number 337 can be seen on the right of the photo.

                View facing forward.


                  Now I've walked across to the port side corridor, and am facing aft.

                  Seeing that the door separating the guest cabins from the aft-most part of the ship was open, I walked along and took this photo.


                    Crossing back to the starboard side, and again facing into the aft area.

                    I then took the stair that leads up to Deck 4 on the starboard side.


                      On the right in this aft-facing view from the deck, you can see the exit from the top of the stairs that I’ve just taken.

                      Continuing further aft, you reach the doors which would bring you to the aft stairs, and looking inside you can see the door to cabin 421 which is the same layout to mine but appears to have an extra window. Actually, studying a list of cabins in the pre-departure booklet from Noble Caledonia, it is listed as having three windows, and there is possibly an indication on the plan of one next to the bathroom door. Despite the one-way-glass, I imagine that might be slightly disconcerting, as there would likely be crew sitting there smoking rather a lot of the time!


                        Here is a photo taken as I returned from the Taormina excursion ...and a clearly Messina photo, including as it does that distinctive statue at San Salvatore fort.

                        Quayside views from deck 4 in both directions.


                          I had decided to stay aboard the ship, rather than go ashore in the town, largely because I didn't want to miss our next lecture . That should first have given me time to continue my perambulation around decks 3 and 4, but I was immediately distracted in the nicest possible way. This was also free time for some of the crew, among them Vladimir, who was fishing!

                          I'm along on the foredeck in the next photos, and the light, clouds and blue sky are changing by the minute.


                            Perhaps it became cloudier, for I headed indoors and this is a view from the reception area looking towards the restaurant.

                            Everytime I walked through here I felt like taking a photo - the light is so variable, not to mention the variations in table settings!


                              But now I've crossed through to the forward lounge, and paused to chat with the competition for my favourite seats near my favourite painting.

                              The lounge was otherwise quiet, and I took some more photos.