First things first. Apologies are no doubt due to the late Estelle Getty who famously portrayed the fictional character Sophia Petrillo-Weinstock on the hit TV series The Golden Girls for the shameless rip-off in my title of one of her most popular comic devices. She would start a sentence “Picture it, Sicily 1922”, or some other year, with a hilarious story inevitably ensuing. Thanks Estelle, for all the laughs.
You needn’t expect this blog post to meet, much less exceed, the high comedic standard set by that show. Fortunately, regular devotees of Travel By Terry probably figured out mid-way through my initial post to keep their expectations lower than a world champion Jamaican limbo dancer.
The next few posts will recount my recent voyage through the Mediterranean on Royal Caribbean’s incomparable Navigator of the Seas. In each post, I will relate one of my favorite aspects of the ship, i.e. A Favorite Feature and describe one of the enjoyable ports of call, i.e. A Port To Ponder. In that fashion, keeping to two simple points, even my readers on Ritalin can stay engaged.
A FAVORITE FEATURE
Did I mention that I celebrated my birthday on my Golden Circle cruise? Possibly not. Did I mention which birthday? No chance in #@%$*! In any case, some of my dear friends invited me to share a birthday dinner with them in the Chops Grille which immodestly but accurately touts “the best steak on the high seas.” If you are not familiar with specialty dining on Royal Caribbean cruise ships, it is the opportunity to upgrade your dining experience from merely great to gourmet. Take a moment and watch this video!
There is a modest up charge of $30 per person for the experience but because I am blessed with magnanimous friends (thanks Tim and Margo!), I did not have to bother my pretty little head with that pesky detail. The food was sumptuous, the wine delectable (thanks Roger!) and the convivial atmosphere delightful (thanks to the entire table!). Even if it is not your birthday and you are not accompanied by friends from whom you can con . . . ahem charm an invite, you still owe it to yourself to visit one of the two specialty restaurants during your cruise.
A PORT TO PONDER
Our first port of call was Messina, Sicily. After perusing my handy Royal Caribbean Shore Excursion guide, a settled on “Taormina On Your Own“. (There were eleven choices by the way!) I did this for two reasons. The price was easy on my pocketbook which, by this point in my travels, was getting lighter by the day. Also, I figured staggering around through a small village like a vagrant looking for a cigarette butt was well within my limited capabilities. As it turned out, I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.
I amused myself no end by taking pictures of things that for some odd reason you were not supposed to photograph, like this shop window. I suspect that this was actually a little Sicilian reverse psychology to get you to stare at their window. If that was the case, all the little signs with X-ed out cameras had the desired effect as I found myself unable to withstand the temptation to take a picture. The same is true, apparently, of the guy on the right.
Speaking of signs, this little jewel caught my attention. Who would have thought that flashing, Mardi Gras style, was a huge law enforcement issue in Taormina? The tiny print under the top image says, “Circolare a torso nudo – Do not go bare-chested.” Considering it was about 40 degrees that day, a violation of that edict might have proved very interesting, if you catch my drift.
Taormina is an absolutely charming village. It is an excellent place to get your cannoli fix, as I must confess, I did! On the edge of this quaint village is a magnificent Greek theater built in the 3rd century B.C. This tour offers a relaxing three hours to tour the shops, stop off for lunch at a sidewalk cafe and, on a clear day, view the snow-capped peak of Mt. Elba.
I may have missed the mafia tour called, “In The Godfathers’ Footsteps” but I live with no regrets. I walked in my own footsteps and had a wonderful time doing so. And just for the record, I kept my shirt on the entire day . . . sparing me a fine and the entire populace a grotesque visual!