Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Steaming into the port of Messina in Sicily gives some indication of the character of the island which is best known for its Mafia connections and the its still active volcano, Mt Etna – the largest in Europe.
Overlooking the port is a golden statue (not sure if it’s Christ or the Virgin Mary – perhaps someone knows), while nestled against the wharf are three huge cruise liners. Further along there is a sailing jetty full of expensive modern yachts, but a little further along the harbour, a shipyard littered with partly sunken hulks.
Having climbed Vesuvius in Italy, I opted not to go up Mt Etna or take any of the other trips organised by the ship, so I spent the day wandering around the town.
The port city, like so many other port cities, is not a place I would recommend for a holiday but it did have some interesting building. Next to the cathedral is the famous bell tower. Rising 90 meters from the Cathedral square, it houses the larges animated clock in the world.
All the symbols and characters and astrological signs are in gold and at 12 noon for 15 minutes they ‘perform’ their show. Apart from the various gyrations and movements, the lion roars and the golden cockerel crows.
There is not a lot more I can add. It was Sunday and siesta time and everything was closed – that is off course apart from an Irish Pub across from the waterfront. As it was a very hot afternoon the beer went down very nicely, thank you.
Back on board for the cruise up to Cannes

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