Three motorcycles, 6 days, 1.750 kilometers.....
Something new happened in this trip.... Vana followed on her motorcycle!!!
With our friends Gregory & Natalie started this trip to explore Sicily. I had been in Sicily before but not with my motorcycle. We left from Patras (Greece) to Brindisi, Italy. Brindisi is the southest port for ferries from Greece. So it was the best choice because we would drive south. It took only 14 hours underway to disembark in Brindisi at eight o'clock in the morning. Three BMW motorcycles (two 1200GS and Vana's R850R). We drove south to Lecce, just 40 kilometers from Brindisi.
Lecce is a city full of testimonials of Roman age, Medieval age and Renaissance, but above all, Lecce is a Baroque city. The interesting presence of a great number of monuments gives to this city a nickname: “The Florence of the South”. We walked in the ancient center of the city and we visited Adorno Palace and the Basilica of the Saint Cross. We had our first espresso and we continued south to Salentina Grecia. The area called Grecia Salentina is a group of eleven towns in the interior of Salento, to the south of Lecce and east of the coast town of Otranto whose whitewashed walls and architecture are also reminiscent of Greece. In most of the Grecia Salentina towns, the dialect of Greek spoken there is still taught in schools and many signs are posted in both Italian and Greek (and sometimes also in English). Most of these towns have beautiful and interesting historic centers. We visited the towns of Calimera, Soleto, Sternatia and Melpignano.
We continued our trip west to the city of Taranto. We stopped for a short visit in the city and a coffee. We had to drive 380 more kilometers to reach the Messina straits. With one stop for refueling we were in Villa San Giovanni on time to catch the ferry. The ticket for the ferry was 13 Euros, and it took 25 minutes to cross the straits. Our schedule was to stay in Taormina (Sicily) two nights. Taormina was just 50 kilometers away from Messina. We arrived in our hotel early in the afternoon. We visited the Ancient Greek Theater, the Piazza Del Duomo, we walked in Corso Umberto and we visited the Public Gardens.
The next day we met some friends from Greece, in their return from a trip to Tunisia. We visited all together the village Savoca, near to Taormina. In Savoca was filmed a part of the movie "The Godfather". Later we drove up to Castelmola, a beautiful village perched almost precariously above Taormina. The lovely hamlet is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. When we returned to Taormina, Vana went to swim on the beach close to Isola Bella. We walked down to the beach and after dinner we returned to Taormina by the cable car...
We left Taormina for Siracusa. On the way to Siracusa we saw the active volcano of Aetna (Etna), which is the tallest active volcano on the European continent. Siracusa was once a mighty Greek colony about triple the size of today's city. Our hotel was in Ortygia island, which belongs to the city of Siracusa. At our stay there, we were lucky to attend the Feast of Santa Lucia of Quails or May Feast of St. Lucia,which is one of the oldest religious traditions in Syracuse. This event is celebrated every year, the first sunday of May. Vana visited the Archeological Park of Siracusa and was amazed by the Greek theatre that dates back at least until the 5th Century BC.
The next we continued our exploration of Sicily, with next station the city of Palermo. On the way to Palermo we had a lot to see.... At first we stopped in Gela, which was an ancient Greek colony, and after we made a short visit to another ancient Greek colony, in the city of Agrigento. The Valley of the Temples, is a must see for a visitor in Agrigento. After that we followed a beautiful route through valleys and mountains for a visit to the village of Corleone. Late in the evening we arrived in the city of Palermo. Teatro Massimo, Palazzo dei Normanni and San Giovanni degli Eremiti were the attractions we visited.
The last day we left Palermo to the port of Brindisi. We crossed again the Messina straits and we had a pleasant trip. Our last visit was in the city of Brindisi. We enjoyed our last vino spumante and in the evening we embarked on the ferry to Igoumenitsa, Greece. After an 11-hour underway, we disembarked in the port of Igoumenitsa and we drove to Patras, Greece.
It was a great short trip! A very good experience for Vana driving her motorcycle in Italy, and we had a lot of fun and very good time all the team together!