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Letojanni is a summer resort town, and we were there in the off-season. On the first day, as we hiked down the hill from the resort to town in the rain (about 3km, and 500’ down) it reminded me of Ocean Shores or Leavenworth in the off-season. If you see it during the peak, you cannot get enough of the place, but if you come when nobody’s around you see everything there is to see in about half a day. Nancy’s main frustration was that even the places that were open for lunch apparently did not serve pizza on Sundays or until dinner. Mine was walking back to the resort. Uphill. In the rain. Wearing shorts.
Thankfully, first impressions are not always accurate. It was Sunday, after all, so many places were closed and the locals were at home observing the Sabbath. And even in the winter, rain is not too common so all the locals were wisely waiting it out. We did stop for a caffé under the awnings of the rather tacky looking “Palm Beach Café”, right on Letojanni’s main square, Piazza Durante, faced by the Church of San Guiseppe. The caffé was excellent, and the server was a genial guy who shared about his trip to the U.S. and about how it was nice and quiet now, but in the summer it was crazy with foreign tourists – Japanese… Americans… Italians…
When we did get back to the room, the view was worth the hike.
It is a nine hour train ride from Rome to Taormina, about 750 km (466mi), and worth the extra 20 Euros for first class – which just means you get a semi-private cabin with up to passengers instead of open seating among sixty.
Before we left, a friend and classmate here told us that the way they got the train from the mainland to Sicily was by loading the passenger cars on a boat and then shipping us across! There’s only a mile and a half at the straits! If there’s a tunnel running 26 miles from England to France, surely they had a bridge or something for Italy to Sicily. Our skepticism melted when we got to the port of Villa San Giovanni, where, as predicted, they drove the train right onto a massive ferry and we set sail for the Sicilian port of Messina!
When we arrived at about 930pm, we discovered that the train station was actually 5 km drive up a winding road up a vertical climb of 700’ to the town of Taormina. But, we were actually staying a couple towns over, in Letojanni – 7 km away.