Joined March 2018 Message
  • Day40

    Reggio to Rome

    October 13, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Early wakeup for the 4.5 hour fast train to Rome. Interesting scenery especially round Sapri. Left bags at our B&B Suite Deal in Via Volturno just down from Termini and explored the familiar streets of Via Cavour (Santa Maria Maggiore), Colosseum, round through the Sunday car-less streets to the forums, Trajan's column, views from Victor Emmanuele and onto Trevi Fountain. Bruscetta for lunch, a bit of shopping for murano glass and truffle oil then met Pam’s cousin Antonio for a walk round the Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Great antipasto Tuscan meat and cheese platter from Il Tagliere before sharing a taxi back to Termini for the last nights sleep in Italy.
    Train from Termini the next morning for flight back to Sydney via Singapore transit.
    Read more

  • Day39

    Reggio di Calabria

    October 12, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    After tiramisu for breakfast (mangia, mangia), Frank drove us down to Bovalino for a walk round the markets and then we trained to Reggio di Calabria.
    Walked the pleasant palm and moreton bay fig lined lungomare of Reggio to see the Riace bronzes. Met Mima who took us to a main meal sized apperitivo della casa at SottoZero bar on the sea front. Then to the neo- romanesque cathedral after dark and window shopping along the dark stone, straight pedestrian main street.Read more

  • Day38

    Cirella - Gerace

    October 11, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Frank was going to the doctor so left us in a shopping mall at Sidero which was past Locri where we managed to book the train tickets to Reggio that we told him we already had. Then for reasons unknown he finally agreed to take us to the medieval town of Gerace. It was a lovely town with lots of quaint photo opportunities and bergammot products.
    Back home we had a late lunch of green chicoria and potato before Mr Cev side relatives arrived for a short visit.
    Read more

  • Day37


    October 10, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    It was drizzling this morning so we walked round the own and into the church where Mr and Mrs Cev were married. Then after a typical italian breakfast of macchiato and sweet biscuits, Frank took us to the house Mr Cev grew up in and across the "road" where Mr and Mrs Cev lived when first married. This was in ruins but was on a ridge with a gnarled olive tree overlooking a lovely bubbling stream.
    Then in the afternoon to Bovalino to visit Tony Sporanza and his daughter Josephine (Pina). We marvelled at all the fruit trees and veges in his garden plot (avacado, kiwi, persimmon, pommegranite plus the usuals of toms, lettuce, eggplant) and the boundless energy of this man despite a recent heart issue.
    We then all drove to see the Madonna della Grotta where the rock church was destroyed but the madonna survived undamaged and was relocated.
    Then to Adore Superiore with an impressive castello and views over rocky mountainous countryside and out to the sea. And we had a quick stop in the all male cafe here where Pam had an interesting ginseng coffee.
    Dinner was a takeaway pizza in the family home and home made red wine.
    Read more

  • Day36

    Palermo to Cirella

    October 9, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    First day of freedom from the tour group today so I finally had the time to find a good espresso macchiato for breakfast from a bar rather than the tour group hotel machine.
    The Intercity train travelled along the scenic north coast of Sicily, then rolled into the lower level of a ferry to cross the narrow strait from Messina to Villa San Giovanni. Up on deck the straits were magnificent with wide sweeping views of Sicily on one side and the toe of mainland Italy on the other - easy to imagine the ancients sailing here and the strategic importance of it.
    Changed train for the short trip to Reggio de Calabria where Pam’s cousin Frank met us for the two hour coastal drive to Cirella.
    We were to stay with Frank’s sister Maria, her husband and four children Concetta, Palma, Rocco and Nicola, all single, forty something and living at home and working essentially subsistence level on their farm.
    We had home made coppa cut in thick chunks, cheese, olives and chicken with peas. And loads of biscuits that Frank had bought in Bovalino.
    Read more

  • Day35

    Piazza Armerina

    October 8, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Incredibly intact and vast is the only way to describe the mosaics at Casa Romana located just outside the town of Piazza Armerina. The standout mosaics were the 10 bikini girls, a cyclops scene, scenes of animals and fruit including figs.
    Lunch was at the beautiful scenic Agriturismo Gigliotto not far from Enna (San Michele di Gazaria). Loved the antipasti of eggplant capponata, fritatta, sweet capsicum, chickpea ball, then the garlic rosemary roast chicken and fried ricotta for dessert.
    Back to Palermo for shopping round the pedestrian only Via Maqueda down to Quatro Canti. A lot of cute shops with pommegranite and oranges, chefs making pasta in the windows, cannolis and gelati shops. Light dinner of antipasto and Aperol Spritz followed by cannoli with glace orange and almond biscotti. Palermo does grow on you.
    Read more

  • Day34

    Mount Etna and Taormina

    October 7, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Mount Etna had been smoking since we arrived in this area and today we visited it but unfortunately not enough time to explore via the chairlift and climb higher.
    The worst eruption was in 1669 which largely destroyed Catania with the city being subsequently rebuilt in the baroque style.
    The most recent significant eruption was in 1991 though there was a flow last year. Etna is considered less dangerous than Vesuvius and Stromboli, despite being more active, as it does not tend to explosions but rather slow lava flow.
    Apparently there are ski runs on Etna in winter which I can understand as even today it was surprisingly cold and windy up there.
    The tour then took us onto Taormina for the afternoon where sadly it was too cloudy to see Etna from the greek theatre. We enjoyed walking round the town with quaint shopping streets and luxury hotels.
    The tour group dinner was in the hotel at the unatmospheric hotel at Naxos.
    Read more

  • Day33

    Day trip to Siracusa

    October 6, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Today’s tour was to Siracusa. First stop in the Archaeologic Park was the Ear of Dionysis with amazing acoustics which was named by Caravaggio when he stayed there 1608.
    Then the pristine 5th century BC Greek theatre which was carved out of the rock in situ and the overgrown Roman theatre. Archimedes also lived here.
    Sadly there are now huge issues from some of the largest oil refineries in Europe being in the area, though we only saw glimpses of this ugliness.
    Onto baroque Ortigia and the Temple of Apollo which is the oldest doric temple in Sicily. It was converted to a byzantine chruch in 6th century, then a mosque, then the normans converted it to a church in the 12 century.
    This building is the only greek temple to still be a church and continuously occupied for 2,500 yrs with the columns clearly visible in the side.
    We took a taxi late afternoon to Taormina as rain was forecast for tomorrow’s tour group visit and Giardini Naxos was tour group heaven/hell. We enjoyed walking the lively, trendy streets and seafood linguine with Nelly and Bob from Philadelphia.
    Read more

  • Day32

    Valley of the Temples

    October 5, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    The Temple of Concordia with it’s sandstone doric columns was magnificent and has never been destroyed.
    Nearby is Gela where the greeks first landed BC and ironically so did the US in 1943.
    Lunch was on a farm near Catania and included wine tasting of Palmento. An unscheduled stop at Scala dei Turchi was a pleasant surprise.
    Arrived at Giardini Naxos late afternoon where we were in another package tour hotel with pool and characterless rooms. Beach was quite nice and we walked into the town for a pleasant dinner of meatballs (no sauce) at Sapori di Sicilia, a cute little wine bar cum deli.
    Read more

  • Day31

    Erice, Trapani to Agrigento

    October 4, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    After breakfast, a 7:30 departure to the beautiful medievel hill top town of Erice, first passing marble quarries and the usual vineards and olive groves. The drive uphill to Erice was amazing, as were the views to Trapani salt lakes and the northern Sicily coast. We ate almond sweets called boccocini (like the Andros almond ones) in a cafe, then after a stop at the salt area, had lunch in a rustic italian farm house with olive oil tasting including orange oil. They served sparkling water flavoured with big stalks of rosemary and lemon slices. Antipasto was cheese with celery and a marmalade jam, eggplant caponata, olives, zucchini frittata and fresh ricotta. Main was an excellent long spirally pasta with garlic, lemon and tomato.
    Then marsala and an espresso.
    Read more

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android