Page 6 of flagamma Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy » Sicily May 6th 2016

Decided to first tell you about last night's dinner. We ate in this elegant dining room and had an exquisite meal. Our appetizer was marinated (almost pickled) mushrooms with thin slices of cold veal and salad greens. This was followed by a roll of freshly made lasagna with mushrooms and a ground bee topped with freshly grated strips of cheese. Next came tender veal with gravy and...(you guessed it ) mushrooms. See a pattern here? Our dessert was a cheesecake. The major difference between the west coast of Sicily and central Sicily in the meals has to do with the entree - big on fish on the coast and meat in central. The mushrooms were just a tasty extra. The villa was extraordinarily set in a beautiful field in the upper hills hidden by a eucalyptus ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily May 5th 2016

Today may be shorter, we learned so much it is mixed up in my little bitty brain. Today we started out by heading south along the coast until we reached Agrigento, originally the Greek city of Agrakas, one of the most culturally advanced cities of the ancient world. Ours stop here was in the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997 and one of seven in Sicily. The landscape, city organization and city size have changed dramatically since we left the influence of the Normans from our first few days. The city was founded in 581 BC on one of the most benign sites on the Mediterranean coast and lies on a hillside sloping down to the sea only three miles away. e took a tour of the remainder of the temples ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily May 4th 2016

This morning we headed out to Marsala. On the west coast of Sicily, between Trapani and Marsala, sea salt is still harvested according to ancient tradition of the Phoenicians. A series of “pans” or flats are arranged so that the sea water slowly evaporates by the heat of the sun. The first pan was called the cold pool because water flows directly from the lagoon into the pan. A sluice opens and water flows into the next pan. This pan is shallower and the salt content is doubled. Windmills then pull the water into the next several pans, each one getting shallower and shallower and the salt content increasing. When the water reaches about the fifth pan the water is very shallow. On days without wind or humidity a thin crust forms on the top and ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily May 3rd 2016

Started this morning off with a walking tour of Mazara del Vallo where we visited two churches.From the outside the churches look very plain, but what a difference inside. The churches in Sicly outclass the churches that impressed me in other places, not by just one mile, but many. I used to think St Patrick's Cathedral in New York, St Peter's Basilica in Rome and a small church in Ixtapa, Mexico were magnificent in their gold and statuaries, but even the size and grandeur of those churches is diminished by the churches here. The craftsmanship in the friezes, statues, paintings and mosaics far outstrip othe places. The Duomos today were no exception. Ceilings reminiscent of the Sistene chapel soaring high above the pews and Carved Cherubs and Angels covering the roof supports from the bottom of ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily May 3rd 2016

Hello again, it is 3 May. Cannot believe I have been able to blog every day. Such a change from last trip. Off to Erice today. Stopped at a roadside bar for coffee and restrooms. Stopped at an overlook to take pictures of Castel del Mar. While we were taking pictures of the Norman fortress on the point with the duomo in the center of town, Luca brought out another of his surprises. Yesterday it was cannoli, toda castellana de ricotta. It was a lovely pastry with a warm ricotta cream and chocolate. At this rate everyone will gain a lot of weight. Mary Ann says not her, but ask her about the breads sometime. The oldest part of the city stuck out into the harbor with the newer sections fanning out behind them.Luca says there ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily May 2nd 2016

Sunday, 1 May Today is Italy's Labor Day, although it has another name. It is supposed to be a family day, but since it is Sunday, the people kind of got the shaft on a day off. Since so many are Catholics, half the day is spent in church, but our guide says at least they get a good meal. Temperature has dropped here quite a bit. I am very glad I packed a couple of long sleeve shirts and my jeans. Afraid I am going to have to do laundry soon, otherwise my pants will probably stand by themselves. This morning we headed to Castelbuono, about an hour and a half away by bus. Have to say the bus or "coach" as they say here, is extremely comfortable. It is very large, about 53 seats. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily April 30th 2016

Today we visited the Palermo Cathedral whose Patron Saint, Rosalie is interred in a huge highly polished "urn" behind locked gates. I say urn because I have no other words to explain it. It actually looked like a huge silver tea service on a silver divan like the Egyptian kings and queens rode in. Only instead of being comfortable lounges carried by strong young slaves, it was all of silver. Prior to her becoming the Patron Saint, there were four women Saints. She became the big shot because even though she came from an aristocratic family, she decided to live her life in solitude in a cave on Mount Pelligrino. Story gets muddled then until the point where her bones were finally found during a plague situation and when her bones were carried through the town, ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily April 30th 2016

Hi all, sorry about short blog. Was using it as a test because kept getting message that I was not connected. So, here goes the fifth try, this time from the lobby. We got here at 4:30 yesterday after a long two days of travel. Four hour flight to JFK, three hour layover, eight hour flight to Rome, five hour layover, one hour flight to Palmero, half hour wait for all the others to get there, half hour drive to hotel. Was going to take sleeping pill on Rome flight, but dinner did not come for about three hours and then it was too late to take sleeping pill. Did manage a few catnaps on Palermo flight. Our rooms are very nice, fronting on main road. More on that later. Had a short introductory walk of ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily April 30th 2016

We are here. More later.... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily April 25th 2016

Hi everyone, Just got back from a wonderful family wedding in Cancun. Great time was had by all. Package deal so free drinks, food and entertainment. Have never seen so many drunk or sunburned people at one time. I managed to down a few, but luckily I did not tip the bartender or I would have wound up on my a__ like some. Now I am doing laundry and packing. Three days and counting. Three flights including long one overnight. Heading to JFK first, followed by overnighter to Leonardo Di Vinci, Fumicello, Rome then off to Palermo. Better get a move on packing, so ciao for now.... read more

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