Today, the Garber women (Jess, Becca, and baby Lena) and I made the trek to a picturesque little town on the coast called Taormina. Located one hour by car from Motta, I got to witness firsthand the art of Italian driving. If I wasn't terrified before about having to drive a manual car in Rome, I officially am now. Unreal. Since most of Italy takes vacation in August, there were cars and bathing-suited beauties every stretch of the way. After parallel parking on a hill (top ten "worsts" for sure), we ventured down to the base of the town of Mazzaro and took a cable car up to Taormina.
Once in Taormina, we stopped for creme al caffe (like a very small frapp) and arancino al ragu (ball of meat, rice, cheese, and tomato fried in chic pea batter---apparently very Sicilian). We strolled the main drag, popping in and out of shops, peering down quaint alley ways, meandering into ancient churches, regularly stopping to soak in the scenery, and to sample cannoli of course. While one can easily enjoy this famous dessert year-round all over Italy, it is most typical of Sicily and predominately eaten during the winter months. This being said, we couldn't have cared less that it was August, because "when in [Sicily]...!" Pistachios are also a Sicilian staple, so it was a cultural imperative that we treat ourselves to baby pistachio cannoli. I think I cried a little.
I have been so blessed having traveled to a multitude of beautiful destinations all over the world, but I think Taormina easily makes my top 5. I've never seen so many naturally vibrant colors all in one place.
Jess and me
water baby Lena
Later, we found ourselves in a park that also doubled as a large coastal garden.
This island is called L'Isola Bella which connects to the beach of Mazzaro. Apparently, some rich woman built the incredible home that still stands there today. Oh, and the park's hers too. No big deal.
And of course to finish off the trip we stopped for granite (grah-nee-tay). Once we got past an overwhelming list of flavors and a frantic Italian/English exchange with our waiter, we enjoyed the perfect summer treat. Think sorbet and a slushy had a baby and that's granita. I tried coffee and almond, while Jess and Becca stuck to the fruity flavors. Topped with whipped cream and eaten with a brioche sticky roll, you've got yourself a serious meal. Becca appropriately noted that we had indeed "eaten our way through Taormina." But then again, that's the best way to travel in my opinion.