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General Information

About the Weather
About the Trips
About the Food

Weather

Average temperatures see highs of 25 and lows of 17 in October, so you ought to have a sunbathing opportunity or two, but please remember that weather has a mind of its own and so nothing is guaranteed. This retreat is much more about investigating our internal weather. That said, last year we had very lovely sunbathing weather for pretty much the whole two weeks. Layers are always recommended, especially for going up Mt Etna where it can be positively chilly (or bathed in warm sunshine!).

The Trips - 30 euros covers all these trips:

Mt Etna

We'll go up to the main walking area at Mt Etna, a height of about 2,800 metres. Etna's actual height is 3,350 metres but we won't be going to the actual live volcanic craters. You'll see when you get there that the option we have chosen would seem to be the smarter way of spending time on Etna. We take a gentle amble (although some parts of quite steep) traversing the lava, going up the side and around one of the dormant craters and then back to our starting point. It'll take between 2 and 3 hours depending on the group. There's an opportunity to buy a cake and a coffee on our return (this is Italy - it's great coffee and what's not to love about pistachio cake?....).

As with all miracles of nature, the Etna trip is really hard to put into words. There is something about the bleak moonscape, the views far out to sea and the energy of standing on something that is so monumentally ALIVE and potentially devasting and yet benign that tweaks your stuff. I'm not even sure I really know what I mean when I say that - it's really hard to describe but fabulous to do. We'll do a short meditation up there too. Meditating on a volcano - woohoo!

Taormina

This from Wikipedia: "Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna. The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-­Roman theater still used today. Near the theater, cliffs drop to the sea forming coves with sandy beaches. A narrow stretch of sand connects the mainland to Isola Bella, a tiny island and nature reserve".

Taormina has been described as the Naples of Sicily and it's easy to see why. Grand architecture, very expensive designer shops (!) and all manner of cafes and eateries are available for the eye (and stomach) to feast on. It's really good for a wander and last year most of our guests said that they would have liked longer there so this year we're not putting any time restraints on the trip (last year we wanted you back by lunch and lunch ended up being at 2.30pm!) and you can have an unhurried lunch in the town. Following on we'll visit:

La Isola Bella

As mentioned in the Wikipedia paragraph, it really is the sweetest little island. It feels magical just looking at it but with a bit of luck you'll be able to paddle (roll your trousers up sort of paddling, not kayak paddling...) over to the island itself. A great end to the Taormina day out.

Food

The Sicilians eat plenty of pizza, pasta and meat and finding vegetarian food can sometimes be a struggle (but we manage it!). For the moment we can't cater for any specialist diets other than vegetarian.


Garden
View from the Patio
The Pool Area

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