Ode to Italia cruise – day 5 (Sicily)

Saturday, April 23, 2022


We had an early start this morning with our excursion starting at 8 o’clock, so we ordered breakfast in our cabin instead of going down to the buffet. They took a minute to put a tablecloth on our table before setting everything on it. Too fancy.

Here are 3 shots of the port of Sicily out our veranda doors: (click photos to enlarge)

We were in the Constellation Theater waiting for our group to be called for our excursion and an announcement came on from the captain: “Literally 5 minutes ago, we were informed that Italy is allowing only N95 masks now; please make sure you’re wearing one before disembarking the ship.”

We hadn’t brought N95 masks with us, but thankfully, the cruise line had provided everyone with one upon boarding. We ran back up to our cabin to switch ours out.

Complying with local law:

Our excursion in Sicily:

Highlights of Taormina and Greek Theater (5 hours)

Delve into dazzling Taormina on a guided walking tour of this ancient seaside city. You’ll appreciate a scenic drive along a winding road to Taormina, a town graced with an extraordinary natural setting and an evocative medieval character.

Stroll past the exquisite Palazzo Corvaja, a beautifully ornate building whose construction began in the 15th century and which bears Arabic, Norman and Gothic influences. Gaze at the Greco-Roman theater, an architectural treasure that dates back to the 3rd century BC, a reminder of how long Taormina has been a vibrant city. While roaming the fascinating remains of the auditorium, see that its placement on the slope of a steep promontory offers what some consider to be one of the best views in all of Italy, a breathtaking panorama of Taormina, the glittering Mediterranean and striking Mount Etna in the distance.

You’ll descend to lively Corso Umberto, the town’s main commercial street, and wander its quaint jumble of elegant homes and picture-perfect churches. During free time, you might wander to Taormina’s aromatic Public Garden or browse one-of-a-kind handicrafts in a shop tucked away in an inviting lane, perhaps finding a perfect memento of this resplendent town.

Excursion pictures: (click to enlarge smaller photos)
We headed out bright and early. We always get excited when we see “Bob o’clock” on a digital clock. The one on the bus did not disappoint.

That’s Mt. Etna (crossword puzzle answer extraordinaire) in the bottom right.

That’s our tour guide, Allesandra, in the bottom right.

The Ancient Theater of Taormina

We ate at the second of the 3 high-end restaurants tonight. This one’s called Chartreuse and described as: Classic French fare with a modern twist… and glorious ocean views. Chartreuse evokes the ambiance and romance of a chic, fine-dining restaurant on a Champs-Élysées side street with all of the refinements and exquisite flavors that come with the finest haute cuisine. (click on photos to enlarge)

Charger plate Champagne toast
Baguettes and multigrain bread Salade de Crabe d’Alaska: Alaskan King crabmeat with citrino olive oil wrapped in Daikon radish, chartreuse-infused melon juice (John)
Terrine de Foie Gras au Sauternes: Duck foie gras terrine with Sauternes jelly, toasted brioche, carmelized apricot (Bob) Aperatif toast: Amaretto (John), Chambord (Bob)
Bisque de Homard a l’Argagnac: Lobster bisque with armagnac (John & Bob) Coquilles Saint-Jacques Poêlées et Chorizo: Seared scallops topped with chorizo, butternut squash spaghetti, Champigny sauce (John)
Carré d’Agneau en Persillade: Roasted rack of lamb with rosemary persillade & chickpea fritters (Bob) Dessert “appetizer”
Opéra Maison: Almond-chocolate cake, chocolate cremeux, coffee-chocolate ganache (John) Glace Maison: Homemade chocolate ice cream (Bob)

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