Sunday, July 21, 2013
We finally woke up in time to experience the breakfast buffet at our hotel! It was excellent. Too bad we missed it the previous three times! We really had a fantastic time in Taormina and loved our apartment and the hotel. The people here are so friendly and welcoming. We will miss Taormina a lot.

Our drive back to the Catania airport was so simple compared to our arrival experience. A few signs at the right places would have made our arrival so much easier! Anyway, upon reflection, we quite enjoyed the mayhem of our arrival a few days ago and wished we were arriving now instead of departing. We feel confident that if we can drive in Sicily, we can probably drive anywhere in Europe.

We returned the rental car to the Hotel California and made our way to the airport terminal. This was completely shambolic and we were glad we arrived with two hours to spare. We used up the first hour and change just checking in our bags. Although the check-in process seemed unnecessarily long, we breezed through security and we both commented that the security folks in North America could learn a lot from their European counterparts.

We grabbed an amazing salami, cheese and tomato panini for lunch and then boarded our flight to Florence. We were seated next to the most delightful Italian nun, who laughed constantly and was adamant that she needed to talk to us even though she knew we could not understand a word she said. Laughter truly is a universal language!

The Florence airport was tiny but very well organized compared to Catania. We picked up for our rental car and were soon on our way to our hotel near Siena. The scenery in Tuscany is incredible and we loved all the trees, rolling hills and vineyards. We drove through Chianti on our way to Siena and thought we were in great shape to find our hotel, when chaos struck again. Turns out our GPS led us to a dirt road miles from our destination. The only driving instructions we had from the hotel were from Siena, so we made our way to Siena to try and pick up the trail. All seemed to be on track until the heavens opened and we were caught in a torrential downpour. We could barely see in front of us, let alone see road signs and then a tree fell across the road right in front of us. That was the end of our driving instructions. We turned back towards Siena and guessed our way around the obstacle. After about 30 minutes, we found the right road again and made our way to our hotel - Castel Monastero. We managed to check in just before it got dark. We ate a meal in the hotel courtyard with an excellent bottle of Chianto Classico before caling it a day.

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