Saturday, December 26, 2015

Messina, Italy

Our second stop on our Christmas cruise was to Messina, Italy. Or Sicily. After our exciting and long day in Rome we were pretty excited to see what Sicily had to offer; unfortunately there is Nothing.
Sorry if you live there, or absolutely loved it when you went. Our schedule changed and we headed to Messina a week earlier then we were supposed to. Not like it would have matter because everything is closed on Sunday's. I guess Messina is like Bavaria.

We got off the ship and went with the flow. Drew and I were talking about hiring a guide and heading off to Etal, that's where the excursions were going, but we decided not to waste our time there. We didn't want a repeat of Gdansk. (Looking back we should have because our table mates had a great time in Etal)

There were merchants selling souvenirs on the gate! My guess is that they were not allowed to be in the port, but technically the street is public property they could stand out there but have the merchandise on the gate. The merchants were pushy. They wanted you to buy their stuff. Drew and I decided that if we couldn't find anything we would come back and buy it before heading on board.

So we followed the crowd of people. Outside of port there were a couple tours selling HOHO buses for 10 Euros a person. We thought it was a great deal. Usually HOHO buses run from 22 euros and up. We almost bought tickets, until we looked at the map. There were only 5 stops on the Messina tour! NO wonder it was so cheap. So we decided to keep our money and do a tour on our own by following the HOHO map.

Messina is found on Sicily's Northeastern tip, a short 3 Km across the Strait of Messina from the Italian mainland, making it the first Sicilian city to be "kicked" by Italy's "Boot". Much like other Sicilian cities, one of Messina's wine production. Although there were closed, we did see a few wine shops. Like many European cities, there was no shortage of churches to see. Messina's list includes the Cathedral of Messina and the Church of the Annunziata dei Catalani, which we found were probably the only two worth seeing. There is also no shortage of beautiful old buildings and monuments.

Majority of the sights were in the main square so we walked around checking things out. In the actual town, it felt like nothing was open. We found one souvenir store that was open, but it ridiculously over-priced.

So we settled for walking around and climbing to the top of Messina so we could check out the views of the city. Honestly, that was the best part of our stop in Messina. The views were gorgeous, the sun was setting and the sky was a beautiful color.

From the top of Messina, we got our fill of the city, so we decided to head back to the ship. We weren't impressed with the city, but it was a nice day of walking around and relaxing! Not to mention, it felt good to get off the ship.