Holiday in Giardini Naxos in Sicily
In April 2006 we went on a package tour to Sicily. Our batteries were drained after a long winter, and we needed a relaxed holiday with early spring. Of course a bit of adventure would do no harm, if it did not require an effort, and two siestas a day would be nice.
We chose Giardini Naxos as our destination. It is a small town on Sicily's east coast and we were not disappointed.
We arrive to Sicily and Giardini Naxos
Tuesday April 18th 2006
The rhythmic sound of the surf below my balcony is strangely soothing, and the wind smells of saltwater and seaweed. The sky is cloudy this afternoon, and the water in the bay is grey-green.
We landed in Catania at 11. It is a three hour flight from Copenhagen, and when we exit the airport, palm trees confirm that this is holiday country: Sicily. A bus takes us to Giardini Naxos in 45 minutes and at 1 we have moved into our two-room apartment at hotel Villa Pamar.
We had nothing but breakfast on the plane and get a panino (sandwich) at a café next to the hotel. Many guests are having lunch at the restaurants along the seafront, but the small supermarket next to the post office is closed for siesta until 4 o'clock. Shopping must wait.
Startour's info meeting is at restaurant La Conchiglia at 16:30. To sweeten the guide's promotion of expensive tours we get a glass of almond wine, a local speciality. The guide claims that Sicily has the highest population density (200 per km2) of all Mediterranean islands. In fact Malta has ca. 1250 per km2, but who cares - it just confirms that you should not believe everything.
On the way home we buy some necessities in the small supermarket at the seafront. Prices are high, but one must expect to pay extra for sea view.
While Helle rests I head north for a walk in Giardini, and here I spot a promising trattoria, Da Antonio. Back at Villa Pamar I inspect the roof terrace on the 5th floor. The view is splendid, but it has started to rain so I return to the apartment.
Ten minutes later a thunderstorm passes and leaves a beautiful double rainbow as a farewell present. A part of the sky turns blue and so does the sea below.
Villa Pamar is an apartment hotel at the seafront some 10 meters from the sea and right in the city centre.
There are 4 floors with a lift and a roof terrace. It is nice and clean and the apartments are well equipped. There is a small kitchen with all amenities except an oven. It seems they know the needs of Scandinavians and this may be due to the fact that the owner is a Swede, a Mr. Jan Almqvist.
On the fifth floor is the roof terrace and here the bar is open Fridays and Sundays from 18.30 to 20. You can hire a washing machine and borrow and ironing board. It is also possible to rent a TV with 8 Italian channels plus Euronews.
If your apartment faces the sea there can be noise from the street and the surf (!), and if you face the back there can be some morning noise from the fish market.
The reception is only manned part-time and you have your own key(s) for the front door. The apartment is cleaned every day except Sundays.
Villa Pamar, Via Tysandros 76 F (Lungomare), 98035 Giardini Naxos (ME), Italy
At half past eight we go to Da Antonio. We have not got the appetite for culinary adventure and settle for pizzas. Mine is a bit anonymous so Helle gives me a few of her anchovies for spice. The red wine is a nice "Etna D.O.C." from 2003 - good nose and an appropriately fiery taste. The grapes are from 50 years old vines on the slopes of Etna, says the label. We finish off with a homemade lemon sorbet and as Startour customers we get almost 10 % discount and are billed 29 €.
The pizzas were not impressive, but service was quick and kind. We escape with great timing as a band of four in local costumes invades the restaurant. They look picturesque, but the flute is too shrill for the small room.