From Messina to Taormina

I didn't take breakfast at my B&B because it was only a self service one with these terrible Brioches that are good until ten years ;-) 

 

So I drove down to the city and found an acceptable bar with delicious Cappuccino and same Cornetto. 

 

Henceforth strengthened I started pedaling through the heavy Messina traffic. Some thoughts on Italian and especially Sicily traffic later. 

 

Today's tour was quite plane and mostly on the main road but sometimes bike path too. Only the last few km I had to climb because Taormina lays 200 meters above sea. 

Today I had my first error with booking.com. 

As you'll see I carried my luggage and the bike about 60 meters stairs up. The host, Ernesto opened the door and at the same time two ladies arrived. Ernesto told me that the 2 ladies will get "my" room and I will be transfered. 

Then calling booking.com and such stuff. Meanwhile I booked another hotel via booking.com and the booking.com lady agreed and they will pay the 50 Euro price difference. 

I had only to go about 500 meters. 

But the view at the first location was grandiose. 

 

Bye bye Messina :-)

The first climb at Sant Margherita.

The beach at Santa Margherita.

Taormina comes into focus.

Quite busy here ;-)

200 meters up with lots of traffic.

The alternative means of transport :-) there are always 4 carbines.

First part of stairs to the B&B.

And the second part. I had to go three times each.

Not only Goethe and empress Sissi like to stay at Taormina ;-) me too :-)

Also painter Otto Geleng.

Today's tour from Messina to Taormina. 52 km. The map shows why Messina's former name was Zankle what means sickle.

By today ;-) 2.606 km (only by bicycle).

After a delicious dinner one must-C - WUNDERBAR is a German word and means "wonderful". And the music plays the ever lasting songs - Sicily way of (easy) live :-)

Semifreddo Pistachio - absolutely delicious :-)

From WUNDERBAR to Chiesa di San Giuseppe.

And the absolutely WUNDERBAR view down to the Naxos bay :-)

Sicily traffic, crazy?

After 2.600 km pedaling from the north to the south of Italy I have observed how Italians are driving their vehicles. 

One important thing is the role of police. The presence of the police is enormous. I have never seen so much police in public places like in the south of Italy. In Naples heavily armed military was also massive present. 

When I'm waiting at the traffic light and a police waits next to me and I start if the light is red the police doesn't react. 

If I start while red they are sure that makes sense. 

One scene that I have seen often: an old lady stops her car - very often on the second track - opens the door comes out and closes the door again. Then she crosses the road but she doesn't look back! Crazy but true ;-) 

Often you read the traffic in Sicily is strange and dangerous. 

My experience is totally different: the system works very well. It's really different to the system in Austria or Germany but it work as well. 

And, believe if driving the bike through Naples, Messina or Milazzo you can judge that. 

The system is to go as fast as possible and as far as possible. Before braking you should honk. 

You stop only if there is absolutely no alternative. 

Important is to go! Bad is not to know and show where you want to go too. 

I like this system very much because I'm absolutely aware and totally concentrated. 

At the lights I pass on the right side sometimes on the left too. 

I normally don't stop at a crosswalk. But everybody stops if necessary. 

If I want to go left and have therefore to cross one track I don't wait until both tracks are free, I go and wait at the middle line and of course don't look to the left ;-) 

In a roundabout I have to be aware that someone leaves the roundabout while I need to stay. But you know: stopping only if no other possibility ;-) 

It seems nobody is angry! Everyone wants to come quick through on the one hand but is absolutely relaxed on the other. 

I have never seen someone to cry or showing the middle finger. 

And you have to concern that every type of drivers are on the way. Elderly, newcomer, faster and slower ones and it works and nobody has to be scared ;-) 

 

The gommista and his dog - new feeling

At Messina there are lots of gommista (tire dealers). 

Normally only one garage with the tires on the sidewalk. 

Passing them I thought they would have the better instrument to control my pressure than the gasoil station. 

Today I saw one lonesome gommista, stopped and asked him: controllato pressure del pneumaticy? 

I said the tires need 5 bar. He protested. But I showed him the figures on the tire: 4-6 bar. 

More than 4 wasn't possible with him ;-) 

Suddenly I heared a wild roaring and woofing from the dark garage. Then I saw a Doberman as dark as the garage. Fortunately he was chained. 

The gommista wouldn't take some money so I gave him some coins for the coffee and told him that I've pedaled from Austria to Sicily. So I've got his best wishes :-) 

The tires had only 2,5. Now with the 4 bar it's a much better feeling ;-)