Messina

As we awake Reflection is situated about 5 miles off the sea east coast of the volcanic island of Stromboli. After Etna and Vesuvius she is the third of Italy’s three active volcanoes. Today she is shrouded in cloud and so we cannot see much of her. Reflection continues southward towards the straits of Messina. As we approach we see two small boats with some men shouting very loudly. Someone is swimming the straits from Sicily to mainland Italy. It’s only three miles so hardly compares with the English Channel but am sure it’s a challenge nonetheless.

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We dock in the busy port shortly after 10am and not longer after guests are pouring out from Reflection to meet their tours guides. We know that many of the most popular tours to Taormina have been cancelled in light of the upcoming G8 summit that is being held in the town next week. We have been lucky to visit on a previous cruise and even spent a long weekend there for my birthday last year.

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We take out time leaving the ship as Reflection is docked till 7pm tonight. Once ashore we head to the main square where we can see the Duomo and the impressive clock tower. The area is swarming with tourists and guides eager for us to get on one of the many hoho buses. I have devised a walking tour of my own and so Peter dutifully follows my lead. Half way up a very steep hill I think he is wondering if that was a wise decision. Exhausted we emerge near a very large church with wonderful views over the city and the straits of Messina. We descend the other side of the hill through small backstreets. This area of the city is a little grubby with litter strewn everywhere.

Back in the main part of the city we find a small cafe for beer and free wifi. Always easy to spot a good wifi zone as you often see ships crew gathered there making the most of the same. We find ourselves back in the main square and decide to find somewhere to buy some biscotti and others gifts to bring home. We are not very successful and head back to the ship for lunch.

We grab burgers from the Mast Grill on Deck 15 which we enjoy poolside. The rest of the afternoon we spend on deck 4 listening to music and reading. We have a good view of the city and people arriving back from their tours. We must admit that we then head back to the cabin for a late afternoon snooze before we shower and dress and head up to the sunset bar for sail away. There is a DJ playing some loud music and some guests dancing crazily along. Reflection heads out of port and turns southward to follow the east coast of Sicily.

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We head indoors to the Martini Bar which as expected is really busy and so we have cocktails at the World Best bar. We are dining in Tuscan Grille tonight so we head to the ensemble lounge which is situated close to all the speciality restaurants. It’s very dim in here due to very low mood lighting. We find a couple of seats and enjoy the singers who at first I thought were going to entertain. With some jazz classics but they launch in a rendition of the Carpenters On the Bayou.

Dinner at The Tuscan Grille is excellent. Peter starts with crab cakes and I have crispy squid. We both have a salad to follow and then we both opt for the 9oz filet mignon which is cooked exactly to our order, medium for Peter, medium rare for me. Tiramisu is my dessert of choice. Our sommelier pours our wine for us, a nice Californian Chardonnay.

We finish the evening in the Sky lounge where there is a lot of Hispanic music which people are dancing to rather enthusiastically. We relax and watch from afar. Tomorrow evening is the silent disco so we are saving our moves till then. We retire remember to set alarms as we have a fairly early tour start in Malta tomorrow.


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Patrick O'Halloran

Cruisers, Bloggers, Cocktail Drinkers.

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