Introduction. We signed up for Grand Circle Travel (GCT)'s 15-day "All-Inclusive Sicily" and, taking advantage of an option allowing extensions in one-week increments, added an extra week to visit Rome and to see friends in Verona. Despite having lived in Italy nearly four years (1959-1963) and having been back there at least a dozen times since, we had never been to Sicily. So we were looking forward to the trip with great anticipation. We were not disappointed.
Tuesday, 3 April. We left home at 8:30 a.m., stopped briefly in Culpeper, and from there our son Randall drove us to Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C. We got there about 11:00, and an hour later were aboard our Continental Express flight to Newark, arriving at 1:15 p.m. We had lunch in the terminal, then read and brushed up on our Italian until our 4:35 Alitalia flight. We were in the air at 5:00, and dinner was served before 6:00. The meal included a very bad pasta, proving that the overall poor quality of airline food trumps national pride. We tried to get some rest afterwards with the usual little success.
Wednesday, 4 April. The plane touched down in Rome at 6:30 a.m. after a seven and a half hour flight. For reasons known only to themselves, GCT had booked us on a 1:00 p.m. flight to Palermo. We managed to be switched to a 10:35 flight and arrived in Palermo at 11:30. The Tour Director, Oliviero Olivieri, was there to meet us. After a one-hour bus ride through Palermo and east along the coast on the modern autostada, we reached the Hotel Tonnara in Trabia at about 1:30. The hotel is right on the sea, built on the site of an old tuna processing plant. Many charming aspects of the old factory have been preserved and incorporated.
After checking in to the hotel, we immediately gathered for a light buffet lunch in La Lampara, the pleasant hotel bar. By the time we returned to our rooms, the luggage had been delivered and we unpacked for our six-day stay. Later, Darrell went out to explore the hotel and grounds while Jane rested. We were scheduled to have dinner in the Rais Restaurant at 7:30, but we went down to the bar a few minutes early to take advantage of the free open bar included in the tour. It turned out that only a few types of drinks were free. The dinner was excellent and our fellow travelers were interesting and friendly. We were still very tired from the trip and the time change and finally went to bed at 10:30.