May 10: Taormina -- Biking to Randazzo and to the Alcantara Gorge

Sitting high on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea the beautiful ancient city of Taormina is in the shadows of Europe's largest active volcano, Mt. Etna. The city has been a favorite vacation spot for many years. One of the early famous visitors was Johann Wolfgang Goethe during the 19th century. In the 20th century the writers, D. H. Lawrence and Truman Capote, to name but just a few, each spent time at a villa here composing some of their works. It also is the home of one of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily, the Teatro Greco, or Greek Theatre. The Duomo in the center of town dates back to the 13th century.

With its antiquity also comes the narrow winding streets that today are filled with cars and trucks barely able to navigate the passageways. Bicycles are present but few and far between. The group will start from outside of town near Linguaglossa rather than risk the chance of getting up close and personal with some vehicle! Destination: Alcantara Gorge.

The terrain has changed with the landscape displaying large lava fields created during an eruption in the early 90's. Mt. Etna erupted several days prior to this trip and fortunately for the group its spitting did not land near any of the routes planned. It did leave a sulfur smell with dust in the air which dries the throat and nose, but no hot lava to contend with.

Life has begun again in the fields. The vast expanse of black is dotted with an occasional color of Scottish broom bush with its yellow flowers or purple and red wild flowers. Once again it is as if Mother Nature spattered her paint brush across the landscape.

The route is a series of rolling hills, each giving the rider a chance to push the pedal and then enjoy the coast. It is off toward Randazzo and through the arch way, Largo Ainzara. A few quick turns in the old city and there sits Pippo Shop -- "il Buongustaio, centro formaggi e salumi" -- and lunch! Then on to Castiglione and through Francavilla to Giardini Naxos and Alcantara. The road to Alcantara passes the river by the same name that has cut its way through the molten rock to form beautiful waterfalls and large canyons. It is here in the main parking lot of the park that the "active" part of the trip comes to an end. The bikes are shuttled back to the hotel for transport to Palermo in the morning and the group travels by van to the hotel. A farewell dinner is planned for the evening in Taormina so each can share the highlights of this magical trip. The group has spent ten days together pedaling the countryside, enjoying the cuisine, absorbing the culture and supporting each other. Ten strangers started the trip; ten friends complete it. The Taste of Sicily will remain in the hearts of all that came.


View From Hotel Balcony

Ann And Judy On The Road to Randazzo

Scottish Broom Among the Lava Fields


Lava Fields



The Painted Fields


The Painted Fields Up Close


The Happy Guys!! Paolo and Dario


Another View

And Another!


Snow?? On Mt. Etna


Lunch Stop


Which Meat Do You Want?

Dario with His Women!


The Bakersfield Girls With Their Noon Wine1

The True Italians!!!




Paolo Explaining the Right Way to Go!


A Possible Future Investment

Ann with Her Flower Wings!


Approaching Civilization

Ann: "Much Better View of the Field From Up Here On The Wall!"

Taormina By Night



Taormina Bay