TREASURES OF SICILY
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Highlight I would say is Monreale Cathedral, simply awesome inside. We also enjoyed 2 walks around Etna, included in the trip, at different points of South Etna while it puffed away above us. In the old towns it was great to have enough free time to wander around and soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying the views. The hilltop towns of Ragusa and Erica were particular favourites.
What did you think of your group leader?
Fabio, was a very personable and knowledgable local guide. If you like food he's the man to guide you on local treats and good eateries. Fabios timings can be a little out. Its best to ask specifically "What time will we arrive at....." rather than how long it takes.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I know it says it in the itinerary, but you do need closed shoes for the Etna walk due to the fine lava granuals, and snow whilst we were there. I wore trainers which were fine. If you walk up around one of the cones, a walking pole is useful, but it will be the only time you use it. In most of the towns you aren't guided, but have free time to explore, normally 2 hours, so may be worth reading up on the towns before you go. If not, they are easily navigable and Fabio provided maps for each one anyway. If you are not on the group flight transfer from Taormina there is a good bus service (ETNA Buses) costing 7.50 Euros and takes 90 minutes to Catania airport. The hotel is below Taormina so you'll either have to drag your cases and use cable car or catch a taxi to the bus station which costs 15 Euros. At Monreale the local guide will offer you a 6 euro, 10 minute tour, of the cloisters. We decided to go to the public loo instead (50 cents). However next to the loos is a grill with an open view of the cloisters. So you maybe happy with this option instead!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We had 15 people on the trip and used 2 minibuses. They were very comfortable and ideal for Sicilys winding roads. Fabio always made sure information was relayed to you if you weren't in his bus. Aircon was no problem either. The villas in San Lito Lo Capo are superb. Out of the way but in a beautiful location. Wished we could have had more time to relax here. We had the pleasure of having Sue Bishop, photographer, on our trip. If you are interested in photography and Sue is on another trip, then I'd recommend going on that date. The trip is still run by the local guide but Sue is always on hand to give advice and discuss anything you wanted to know about photography. She encouraged your questions and prompted great in bus discussions and sharing ideas. Perfect combination.