Monday, May 2, 2016

Leaving Sicilia for Mainland Italia

Wake up call at 6:30am, up and dressed by 7:00am and down to breakfast at 7:05am. When we  were done with breakfast we headed back up to the room and finished last minute packing. Once we completed the packing we put our bags outside the room to be picked up by the porters and put on the bus.
Messina Clock Lion
After the bags were put out we had until 9:45am and then we needed to check out of the hotel and be on the bus by 10:00am. Thomas and I read and then I worked on the computer for a bit. Then we headed to the lobby and just visited until it was time to board the bus. We left Catania right at 10:00am and drove to Messina. In Messina the bus dropped us off near the Cathedral. Thomas and I went into the church and walked around and took pictures. Then at noon we went outside and waited to watch the clock in the bell tower. It has movement and music (played Ave Maria) that went on for about 12 minutes.
Fontana di Orione
Then Thomas and I went with Deanne and Dave to have lunch. We went to La Casa Della Pizza and had a great lunch (tasty and inexpensive). After lunch Thomas and I went on a walk around the town and saw some incredible architecture and lots of vandalism (broken windows and graffiti).
Beautiful Stain Glass Dome
We returned to the bus around 1:45pm to make our way to to the ferry to cross the Strait of Messina to Calabria on mainland Italy. The ferry ride was only 20 minutes long and it rained the entire time.

Once on the mainland we continued our drive to our next hotel. The rest of the drive was to take about an hour and a half. The drive to our hotel was uneventful and quick - I did some editing of photos and wrote a draft for the blog.
Crossing the Strait of Messina
It was around 4:00pm when we arrived at our hotel - Popilia Country Resorts. Instead of rooms like in a hotel, this place has a series of cottages on the property. We were in cottage 658 and when we opened the door the heat hit us like a wave. I couldn't believe how hot they had the thermostat set. Most of this trip the locals have been complaining that it is cold but our group is no where near being cold. We have had to ask the bus driver to put the air on because it gets so hot during our drives.
Arriving at Popilia Country Resort
Thomas immediately tried to lower the temperature but he was having problems. We ended up making two calls to reception for help but neither time helped. Finally I walked back to the front desk and asked them to try and fix it. Until they got it taken care of we just left our door open to let the cool breeze in. It was a little more than an hour before the room cooled off. We relaxed for a couple of hours and then made our way to the restaurant for dinner at 7:30pm. We had a choice of a meat version or a fish version for our three course meal. Thomas and I had the meat version which consisted of salami and cheeses for the starter, then we had fileja pasta with nduja sauce (really good, very spicy) for the second course and then for the third course we had pork wrapped with bacon & potaotes. Dessert was served to everyone and it was a selection of pastries. The meal turned out to be delicious and it was way too much food - neither Thomas nor I finished each of the three courses.

Popilia Country Resort
Now it is time to call it a day. All the traveling and the rain has really drained us. It will be good to get to sleep but first a few things to do to get ready for tomorrow. We are in Tropea and Pizzo with a local guide tomorrow. It should be an interesting day.


Melissa at Go Ahead said...

Hi Mark,
It sounds like your Food & Wine Tour of Southern Italy & Sicily has been both busy and delicious! I've really enjoyed reading your detailed recaps and seeing some of your photos. I know you're still traveling and on the road, but we'd love to feature your story (and some of your photos) on your blog when you get home! Please email me at after your trip if you're interested. I hope you and your group have a fantastic rest of the trip. Happy travels!

- Melissa at Go Ahead

Mark said...

Hi Melissa,
We are having a great time on our Food and Wine tour - Linda and Mimmo are incredible and both are making this trip a remarkable one. Linda is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic and Mimmo is very helpful and an incredible driver - the way he maneuvers the bus is astonishing. I will be sure to get in contact with you when we return home.

Tess Mayle said...

I agree with Mark about Lynda and Mimmo and the food, wine, people and places were all fabulous. Thank you Mark for relating the details. I got overwhelmed with keeping up with my log so you helped fill in the gaps beautifully!

Tess Mayle said...

I agree with Mark about Linda and Mimmo! And the food, the wine, the people and the places were fabulous! Thanks for relating all these details Mark! I had a hard time keeping up with my log as we were pretty busy! I am thrilled that you have filled in the gaps for me! What fun we had