Goobye Taormina – Hello Milazzo

Although my departure was a little sad, my next adventure was already waiting: tomorrow I would embark on a one-week sailing trip around the gorgeous Eolian Islands with a different language school called Laboratorio Linguistico, based in Milazzo.

After a 10 minute bus ride, I arrived at the Taormina – Giardini Naxos train station and had to wait for about 45 minutes before my train showed up. The commuter train that arrived was a beautiful sleek and modern train and I grabbed a seat in the corner. A few rambunctious teenagers were playing loud music, singing and ribbing each other. Obviously teenagers will be teenagers, no matter where you go….

The Art Nouveau train station at Giardini-Taormina

A local gentleman sat down across from me and introduced himself: Giorgio works as a security guard at Taormina’s Greek Theatre and enjoys his job. He told me about his family: his wife stays at home with their three children while he is the sole income earner. His job gives him sufficient income to look after his family and he said he keeps his expenses low. The family only has one car and he still drives around all year on his 30 year old Vespa. Giorgio also commented that a few years ago Trenitalia, the Italian government-owned railway system, invested in new commuter trains. Giorgio smiled when he said that the remainder of the rolling stock is pretty much “museum quality”.

I am going to ride in style…

He also mentioned that the strange spring weather that we had been having (a fair amount of rain, fog, overcast skies), is rather unusual. Normally at this time of year the weather is clear and sunny. He summed up his feelings by saying that for the last three years or so the climate has been strange. A side effect of global warming maybe?

After Giorgio left about a half hour into the train ride I had a chance to reflect on the 8 days that I had already passed in Italy, and the new adventures that were still to come. I was starting to feel a bit apprehensive about the sailing trip that was supposed to start tomorrow. I was wondering about sea-sickness, the small confined space on a sailboat and I was praying to God that I was going to have good shipmates. On a small sailboat even one really strange character can make the trip unpleasant for the rest of the group.

Another part of me was really looking forward to the experience, and my anticipation was growing. After changing trains in Messina I arrived just shortly after 9 pm at my destination for today: Milazzo, headquarters of the Laboratorio Linguistico Language School, and the embarkation point for my sailing trip tomorrow.

Ladies’ washrooms in the Messina trainstation: 0.50 Euros please

Francesca, the wife of the school’s co-owner, graciously came by to pick me up from the train station and took me to my home for the night: a fully equipped 5-bedroom apartment right above the school’s offices. Francesca took me into my room which I was going to share for one night with my new travel partner: Claudia, a Lufthansa flight attendant from Germany, was also going to go on the sailing trip with me tomorrow.

While Claudia was sleeping I headed out for a very late dinner. It was already about 10:30 pm before I found a local restaurant two streets over. I had a delicious Insalata Cappriciosa and at a price of 3 Euros the salad was less than half the going rate of the restaurants in Taormina which had charged about 7 or 8 Euros for a salad. I realized very quickly that tourists in Taormina are paying a premium rate for everything and that Milazzo was definitely more affordable terrain. Back at the apartment I downloaded my photos and briefly met two of the other teachers at Laboratorio Linguistico: Jean-Claude from Ireland, who teaches English at the school, and Francesco (Franco) Pozza, an Italian teacher and co-owner of the school. I found out that we would be gathering outside the school tomorrow morning at 9:30 am to meet Francesco Di Santi, the other co-owner of Laboratorio Linguistico, and our skipper for the week.

I felt into bed exhausted, wondering what the next week was going to hold. I was excited – looking forward to my first sailing trip.

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