Blogs from Sicily, Italy, Europe


Europe » Italy » Sicily December 3rd 2018

1st Day – Friday 23rdNov 2018 – Not that much happened!! Flew to Venice (40min delay due to fog) and arrived at AirBnB about 8.15pm. Usual stresses about journey but nothing too bad! Learnt that you buy a bus ticket ON the bus from the airport to Corso de Poppola BUT you need to buy a ticket in a Tourist Office for travelling into, and around Venice. Supermarket shopping across the road, then went to a lovely atmospheric bar around the corner for tapas and drinks – Hostaria Vite Rossa. Wonderful little find! (AirBnB Corso del Poppolo 84B) 2nd Day – Saturday 24th November 2018. The best 8 Euros we spent was on a pair of plastic wellingtons!! We had seen some Japanese girls wearing orange ones and thought nothing of it – other than they ... read more
Chris feeding the seagulls
Costa Deliziosa

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Catania September 7th 2018

This morning we met our local guide, Salvatore and he is quite the character! He is just over 80 years of age and as fit as a fiddle - very knowledgeable about the area and Sicily as a whole and quite the comedian. He has also written a book and produced a CD! Salvatore joined us in Catania and would be our guide for the entire day. Our first destination this morning would be Mt Etna, which I was pretty excited about. To give you an idea of what our day with Salvatore was like, as we were driving on the main highway out of Catania he told us that he needed us to wave to his sister, and he would tell us when we needed to do it. So we are driving along and he ... read more
One of the crsters, although not the one my glasses flew into!
The building that was kissed by lava
The window shut by the lava flow. You can see the lava behind it.

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Catania September 6th 2018

We all wished we could stay another night in Ibla, Ragusa but unfortunately it was not to be. This morning we were back on our bus and our first stop was the town of Noto. Noto had once been destroyed by an earthquake and when the town was rebuilt, a conscious decision was made to rebuild it all in the baroque style, which made all the buildings fit together really well. The result of this is Noto is now one of the finest baroque towns in Sicily and another UNESCO World Heritage site. We wandered up the main street, marvelling at the grandeur of all the buildings. There was the cathedral Catterdrale dei San Nicolo which has a special story to tell. The Main dome actualky collapsed into the cathedral in 1996 and it took 9 ... read more
The cathedral of Noto
The Town Hall
The bells on the roof top

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Ragusa September 5th 2018

Happy birthday David! 8:30 departure this morning as we had quite a bit of driving today. Our first section, as he headed to the UNESCO World Heritage listed site of Villa Romana del Casale, took around 2 hours. Michele used this opportunity, when he has us as a captured audience, to give us really interesting facts and stories about Sicily or the next site we are heading to. Villa Romana del Casale is located in Piazza Armenia and is a large and elaborate Roman villa that was constructed in the first quarter of the 4th century AD on the remains of an older villa. The whole structure was covered by a landslide and floods and was abandoned in the 12th century AD, and remained this way for the next 700 years. Excavations have revealed one of ... read more
These men fighting were almost life size
The gymnasium - women in bikinis!
Beautiful Modica

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Agrigento September 4th 2018

Today was a fabulous day as we travelled to the small town of Sant'Angelo Muxaro to meet up with our local guide and discover more about this beautiful region. Sant'Angelo Muxaro is one of those villages you see perched up on top of a mountain, that from a distance it makes you wonder how you could possibily get up there! Sure enough the drive to the top did require a few nail biting moments! On arrival we met our local guide and we walked along the cobbled streets to the main square. There were a couple of little cafe's on the square so we chose one and had a coffee like a local. What was absolutely so special about this day is we were the only tourists in town - this is where Back Roads Tours ... read more
With Maria, sampling her bread
Our pasta being freshly made
The bakery of Giovanni and Maria

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Agrigento September 3rd 2018

Today we didn't need to leave our accommodation until 10am, which meant a more relaxing start to the day. The reason for this was to avoid being at our tour destination this afternoon, in the heat of the day. So off we headed for our drive to our next destination - Agrigento. Along the way we stopped to take photos of the Turkish Steps (Scala dei Turchi). The steps are sparkling white rocks, juttimg out into the Mediterranean Sea and from where we stopped to take photos they looks like steps. It has a similar look to it like Pamakule in Turkey although the story goes that it was named the Turkish steps as it prevented the Turks from invading this area. Anyway, it is a stunning sight! It is illegal to walk along them as ... read more
The Valley of the Temples
The Concordia Temple
The Concordia Temple

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Marsala September 2nd 2018

We left our hotel in Palermo at the reasonable time of 9:15 and headed out along the coast, towards our first destination of Erice. Along the way we climbed a mountain that gaves us a great view back over the coast and pulled over for a photo stop. It was already about 27 degrees at this stage and quite humid. We continued on our way and then had this amazing climb up to the top of another mountain to the town of Erice. We arrived around 11:30 and walked through the pretty cobbled streets of the town. Our first stop was a pastisserie that made different types of almond biscuits and sweets. This area of Silicly is known for pistachios and almonds and we tried many different samples of sweets and biscuits. It was a timely ... read more
Walking in the town of Erice
Arincini Caprese with Nastro Azzurro for lunch

Europe » Italy » Sicily September 1st 2018

What a beautiful hotel I am staying in. It was originally three different buildings that have been merged into one, the oldest part dating back to 500 AD. It was certainly grandiose! It is located in the historic part of the town and is called Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa. I met up with my tour group at 8:30 after having a quick breakfast. There are 18 people, which is on the larger size for one of these Back Roads tours. Our tour managers name is Michele (he is a guy and the name is pronounced Mick-el-ay). Everyone are couples except another lady named Jackie - and 16 are from Australia! There only two people not from Oz are Catrina and a Derek from Scotland. We then met our local guide, Nino and loaded onto our mini-bus ... read more
Inside the Palatine Chapel
The altar
Artwork inside the Norman Palace

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Palermo August 31st 2018

Long day Checked out 7:45 Walked to bus station Bus to airport at 8:10 Check in - then wait for flight at 11:10 Arrive Stansted 12:30 Get bags and exit airport. Come back into airport and get some lunch 2:15 - check in for flight to Palermo Kill more time in airport waiting for 5:10pm flight. Stand in the "Priority" queue until 5:10pm Pass boarding check point only to stand in tunnel leading to plane for a ridiculous amount of time. Flight departs 45 minutes late Arrive in Palermo just before 10pm (should have been 9:10) Finally get bags then buy ticket for airport bus and wait for next bus at 10:30 I thought I would sit in the front seat so I can see the way to the city - bad idea. Driver was a ... read more
Ireland - every shade of green

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Favignana August 3rd 2018

After our enjoyable time checking out Erice and the salt pans of Trapani we were off to the island group of Egadi. If you have never heard of them, you aren’t alone as we hadn’t before we started researching this area to sail. It is made up the 3 major islands of Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo. We planned on staying out in the islands two nights so we could have gone to two different islands but we decided to be lazy and just sit and relax on a mooring at Favignana, the largest of the islands. All of the islands are surrounded by a marine park which was established in 1991. With this come restrictions on the use of various areas surrounding the islands which is good for all. Fortunately our pilot book for Italy includes ... read more
Tsamaya On a Park Mooring at Favignana Island
This Cat Was Smart - Some Shade
Didn't Make It Up to See This Castle

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