DUBROVNIK, CROATIA and TAORMINA, ITALY, September 4 – 6, 2015 – We departed Salzburg in the morning headed to Sicily, but rather than going straight to the Ionian Sea, a large bay of the Mediterranean, we made a stop on the shores of the Adriatic to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia. We visited the distinctive old town jutting into the sea with its old city walls and historic monuments imparting a special charm. Strolling down the ancient streets our guide regaled us with the history of the various well preserved sites and how the city has rebounded from various setbacks both natural and man-made throughout past decades.
Heading out of the city we explored the Konavle region at the southern end of Croatia where we enjoyed lunch on a rural estate and our hosts demonstrated preparing and cooking the Dalmatian specialty known as peka; meat and vegetables prepared under an iron bell. ‘Fresh from the farm’ vegetables grown in the estate garden in fact. After this delicious interlude on their terrace we started back on our journey, returning to our jet to continue to Taormina, on the Italian island of Sicily.
After landing in coastal Catania we headed up the side of the mountain to the lovely town of Taormina, perched above the Bay of Naxos, and our rooms at the Grand Hotel Timeo. The varying elevations of the town provide expansive views of the bay and Mt. Etna from many vantage points, including the dining and pool terraces of our hotel. We explored Taormina’s narrow streets and the Greco-Roman Theater just up the road from our hotel which provided more wonderful views.
Often lively Mt. Etna was quiet and cool for our visit providing a windy lunar landscape feeling and perhaps just slight wishes for wisps of steam or a quiet rumble. It’s probably better to focus on the view and idea that you are walking on an active volcano with multiple craters than to have the mountain make some excitement for you! Displays reminded us that at times Mt. Etna is not as placid as during our visit. Lunch was once again on a lovely estate terrace, this time in the midst of vineyards lower on the slopes of Mt. Etna.
From the sea to the ocean, we’ll be heading next to the Azores Islands in the Atlantic.
Photos below from Dresden and Taormina… Click any photo to enlarge.