November 5, 2011 Taormina

Since this is Guy Fawkes day, I shall start my post with Thomas Hardy’s immortal lines from The Return of the Native, “It was a dark and stormy night…” except, of course in our case, it is a dark and stormy day. Up here in the rafters of the hotel, the wind is making booming sounds and we decide that today is no day for adventuring abroad in Sicily.

Bad weather moving in on Taormina

We spend our time catching up on sleep, blogs and the news of the world. Having eaten a large breakfast (pictures in the blog tomorrow), we venture down to the porch at tea time. In an act unfathomable even to myself, I eat pastries with my tea.

Clark and Lewis help out with the pastries

John discusses chestnuts with Paolo. He tells us that chestnut trees grow on the slopes of Mt. Etna (which we haven’t seen yet due to the bad weather) and that the furry chestnut balls drop off the trees and the local people go up to collect them. The best way, he says, to crack a chestnut is to stomp on it and take the chestnuts out. Then I guess they roast them so they can crack the hard shell. A lot of work but life sustaining when food is scarce.

Representations of chestnuts in their furry husks

Then we only have to wait a short while until cocktail time. The hors d’ouevres are so yummy. I especially like one that tastes like a combination of egg salad and hummus. We enjoy some time on the porch with Clark and Lewis and the appetizers.

John with Clark and Lewis

Clark and Lewis enjoy Sicilan wine

Moving on to the final meal of the day, we order dinner. John orders sardines wrapped in lemon leaves.

Sardines wrapped in lemon leaves with peppers, zucchini, potatoes and eggplant

I am trying hard to eat something reasonable for dinner so I order swordfish involtini. In my mind it will be thin pieces of swordfish wrapped around something and probably baked in a tomato sauce. I am so wrong. It turns out that it is a thin piece of swordfish wrapped around cheese and breadcrumbs then breaded and deep-fried. It is frustrating to keep trying to eat right only to be sabotaged.

Swordfish involtini which is really swordfish croccante

We have dinner. We chat with other people on the porch. Everyone is here because TripAdvisor has recommended Villa Ducale so highly. While our backs are turned, Clark and Lewis finish the wine.

Naughty frog and duck!

Tomorrow, regardless of the weather, we are getting out and doing something!!!!

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