TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings

The Fox Trots: Travel Stories from The Fox.


Trottings: Sicily shorted

During a short trip to Sicily, we decided to travel to Taormina, hillside tourist spot on the east side of the island.


We chose accommodation via AirBnB (ABB), not in Taormina, but in Gallodoro, a village even higher up the mountain than Taormina. Although this is also billed as a tourist village, there is little there – apart from a magnificent view, although that is probably how Taormina started.


We were there at the end of the main season, but early September, so just into the shoulder season. The village has two restaurants, but both were closed, not for the season but for that day. Wouldn’t you have thought they would get together, and make some arrangement – maybe pooling revenue? There were still a few summer tourists around. Worse, the villagers – and this has a population of 400 – did not know the restaurants were closed. Even the bar owner did not know.


We also found no 711-type shop, or any other, but fortunately we had stopped at a supermarket before we got to Gallodoro.


The village, as most hillside villages, has many between-houses steps. One came down two sides of ours, close to the apartment. So close that on the balcony, one feels obliged to greet the person. I regarded this as a plus, and the traffic is slight – four people a day?


Parking was just across the street from the apartment. However, the road led nowhere except to the top of the village (same way back), so probably always space. But if no space, there are options further up the street. Ten steps from the apartment is a little square – which could be called Piazza San Nicola, although I don’t think it has a name. At one time, there was a church there, and the shell of the building remains.


The little piazza has a couple of benches, and a railing, and a spectacular view. Down over the village, and where you realise how steep is the hillside. And where you realise that it would take not an earthquake, but just a tremor, to bring the whole village down.


Then further in the distance, the buildings by the seaside from Taormina. And of course the sea and the hillside.


The apartment?


Problems again with what is offered on ABB and what is delivered. I searched for a property that provided WiFi. But in Gallodoro, WiFi was available only upstairs in the owner’s apartment. I blame this more on ABB. They obviously have no system to check what is offered and what you pay for is there. Yet ABB got its full commission on this false-pretences sale.


(I have had this problem before. It is clearly something ABB needs to fix. ABB appears to be unconcerned, as I have had no response on either of these matters. I think that one day this will allow the growth of a rival, as obviously other travellers have had the same experience as me.)


The Gallodoro flat is very good for its price. The view is great, from one room. From the balcony, you have to look out at one side to see the view, because facing the balcony is a bare wall – 1m away and thus blocking any view.


The lounge needs better lighting; there is just one in the centre of the room.


Bathroom. There is a step up, that most visitors will trip up, because the tiling is dark. But not as bad as a trip down. There is a bidet – which I used for its more useful purpose – a footbath.


The shower unit is small. I needed to enter sideways; some overweight Chinese children and American adults might not even get that far. The shower unit is also small once you get inside. Sure I knocked my head, elbows, knees – but it is so small that it is hard to reach as far down to your calf and feet – which makes that footbath in the bathroom even more useful – or bring your leg up.


The shower unit is cheaply made, so does not work well. It is not easy to slide the doors closed. On my visit, the shower-window-screen partly came out of its setting, and one of the shower doors itself out of its guide-railing.


There is no microwave oven; not advertised, but would be nice. But the owners provided coffee, coffee machine (proper expresso style), sugar, salt, and even biscuits; also not advertised, but nice.


There is washing machine and clothes line.




The Fox

Trottings = Trip Jottings