This past week we took a group trip to Southern Italy. We took an overnight train and an overnight ferry which was new to me and pretty fun. We started out in Sicily, so I thought I would dedicate a post to the lovely island. We did so much there and spent a couple days exploring and learning so I will just talk about some highlights.
We kind of did a triangle in Sicily with the three towns we went to- Taormina, Agrigento, and Palermo. Our first town to visit was Taormina and I fell in love immediately. Our hotel was right on the beach in a cove and the city was the most delicate and preserved beauty. Orange and lemon trees covered the streets, people were friendly everywhere we went, and beauty could be seen with every step. We had a free day on Monday to explore the city and I can honestly say it might have been my favorite day abroad so far. In the morning me and four girls hiked up to some castle ruins on a hill which was the most beautiful hike and had awesome views. We knew when we got to the top the castle would be closed because they no longer allow the public inside. So, I found a large rock to step on and scaled the side wall and get inside. It was so awesome inside and was bursting with flowers and ruins to climb on. We probably spent at least an hour in there soaking up the beauty and sun.
After the castle we went to the beach where a lot of others from our group were hanging out. The sun had gone away and the water was really cold so I didn’t plan on swimming. It was also jelly fish season and they were everywhere on the shore and water. However, once I saw Allie and Jordan jump off the cliff, I knew I had to go. I didn’t have a swim suite but I knew I couldn’t let that stop me from swimming in the coast of Sicily! So when Jordan said he would buy me gelato if I jumped off in the next 10 seconds, I did it. The water was the coldest I have ever been in and I couldn’t breath for a while. I swam to a rock and we stood there for a while and watched a few other people brave the cold water. It was possibly one of the best feelings of my life. While we were swimming back to the coast, I felt a jelly fish sting on my thigh and then my foot. A second later Allie felt one on her neck and wrist and we realized we swam right through a swarm of them. We swam as fast as we could and got out of the water. It stung a lot, but Allie’s sting on her neck was the worst so I had no reason to complain. BUT IT WAS ALL SO WORTH IT!
In Agrigento we went to the beach also and found the Turkish steps which were AMAZING. You should google picture of them because they were so neat and beautiful. I climbed to the top of them and it felt sorrel. I also saw an octopus washed up on the shore which was really neat! Another incredible day in Italy. In the evening we went to three temples at the top of Agrigento- The temples of Hera, Concord, and Zeus. We spent 3 hours there learning all about their development and purpose. We got to see the sunset also which was incredible.
One night in Taormina, me, Ali, and Michelle walked in a clay shop to see what the man was making. Long story short, the owner Antonio and his wife Clair owned the shop and were going to retire soon. I had planned on buying a little clay ornament for 1 euro and 30 minutes later the three of us walked out of the shop with a clay piggy bank, two cups, a whistle, two magnets, the Sicily symbol and my ornament. He gave us all of it for one euro (and there was a euro in the piggy bank so basically it was all free). He was the sweetest man and just kept putting stuff in our hands. They told us about how they met and opened the shop. I teared up a little bit afterwards because of there kindness and sincerity.
Also on the way back to the hotel me and Tucker got lost (shocker) and ended up walking down a curvy highway for an hour. Finally a car pulled over and asked if we needed a ride somewhere. Her name was Rita and she took us right to our hotel and was the sweetest lady. I love Taormina.
I feel like I left so much out and I did, but thats all I have for tonight! I’ll post about the rest of my southern Italy trip as soon as I can.