When I began my ride today, the destination that I had in mind was the famous town of Taormina. Not a terribly ambitious destination — by 11am I was in Giardini Naxos, and Taormina is at the top of a big hill that overlooks Giardini — but then again, I was feeling pretty relaxed today; and I haven't got much further to ride anyway, until I once again reach Messina. So from Giardini, I slogged up the winding mountain road that takes you up to Taormina; and once I'd conquered this steep but not-overly-long road, I went to see what all the fuss is about, and why Taormina is considered one of the top tourist hotspots in Sicily. Well, Taormina is a gorgeous town: squashed into a tiny hilltop plateau, it's all narrow cobbled streets and fresh mountain air; the architecture is gorgeous, and can be seen in the many churches, palaces and terraced houses in town; and the views of the beaches and bays of Giardini on one side, and of Mazzarò on the other side, are quite breathtaking. However, the place is riddled with tourists — you can't even sneeze without being offered a souvenir handkerchief — and it's also ridiculously expensive. This dangerous combination made Taormina decidedly unappealing to me, particularly as a place to spend the night.
View of Mazzarò, from the road up the mountain to Taormina.
Classy hotels and resorts line the road into Taormina.
Central street of Taormina.
Looking back to Giardini.
I hung around in Taormina for about ½ an hour, just to explore the central streets, and to take in the views and the ambiance. But that was enough for me: spending the night here was out of the question. The price of Internet, in particular, made an extended stay here an absolute non-option: the cheapest place I could find was charging a whopping €5/hour! Seeing that I had little else to do for the rest of the day, apart from go online, there's no way I was going to use up several hours of 'Net time at those pries. I didn't even want to know how much a room in a B&B would cost here; in fact, I was so taken aback by the ripoff prices here, that I postponed my morning coffee until I was somewhere else. After I'd seen enough, I rode back down the hill, and returned to Giardini, in search of more reasonable food, board, and geekery.