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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Sicilia, Italy

May 19, 2017 - Erupting Etna and the G7 circus in Taormina

On my free weekend in Taormina, I went on a small group tour to visit Mt. Etna, the highest, and one of the most active, volcanoes in Europe. The group comprised five students from my language school (1 Spaniard, 1 Swiss, 1 Swede, 1 Argentinian and me) and another young woman who had booked with the same travel agency. Mt Etna is about 3,300m high, but because of recent eruptions in the last few months, it is currently only allowed to ascend to 2,700m. Some of you may have seen the video clip from March 2017 when a group of BBC journalists...

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May 14, 2017 - Torturing the Italian language in Taormina

I am at the 'work' end of my trip and have just finished my first week of Italian classes in Taormina (I'm studying here for two weeks). The Babilonia language school is in a lovely setting with its own private garden and restaurant/bistro, only two minutes walk from my AirBnB apartment. In addition to the classes, the school organises social activities including a film night (in Italian with Italian subtitles), seminars (recent topics have included slow food and Sicilian literature), a dinner on the first night and Friday night aperitifs....

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May 9, 2017 - Catania - at the foot of Mt Etna

Catania - May 8-14 After three weeks with our kids, grandkids and extended family in Italy, you would think that we would be more prepared for, and relishing, the quiet and solitude. Instead, we find ourselves wishing our kids and grandkids were still with us to experience this part of Sicily as well. After they were whisked off for their flight home from Palermo, we finished our packing and trudged to the train station in Palermo for the 3 hour train ride to Catania. Joanne had "the sads" and had quite a few moments with tears. Catania is...

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May 8, 2017 - Palermo - La Famiglia

Palermo - La Famiglia Victor was a little apprehensive about meeting up with all of his family in Palermo. Two sides of his family live in the area and it has always presented a challenge to visit with them all without offending anyone. Fortunately this time, Joanne booked an apartment that had plenty of room to host a number of relatives at one time. We set aside Saturday for Victor's mother's family and Sunday for other side of the family. Messages went out to the respective sides of the family with instructions on how to find us. We...

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May 6, 2017 - Sleepless in Siracusa

Hello, again, finally. I have been somewhat subdued (and sleepless) over my six night stay here in Siracusa as I have had a bad head cold. It hit me in Palermo, after almost three weeks on the road; my body just telling me that I needed to slow down. My Turkish bath experience in Palermo was, in part, an effort to sweat the cold from my body that was not successful. In Siracusa I have had the pleasure of the company for three days of my Melbourne friend, Gloria, and her American cousins (Frank and Teresa), all of whom are travelling around...

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May 5, 2017 - Palermo - Part 1

Palermo Part One - Before La Famiglia Our tour with Trafalgar ended in Palermo where we had an opportunity to see some sights before meeting with Victor's extended family. In Palermo, Victor has over 60 relatives from both his father's and his mother's sides of the family. Needless to say, it's going to be a challenging juggling act to see everyone and not offend anyone (something we always manage to do regardless of how hard we try not to!!). So, it was lovely to have a bit of time to explore the city. Most importantly, we took the...

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May 3, 2017 - Agrigento to Palermo

Agrigento to Palermo - May 3-4 What can top the days we spent in Taormina and area; Agrigento and Erice!! Our drive through the centre of Sicily is lovely with rolling hills, lots of olive orchards and farmlands producing crops for the island and export. Along the way, we stop at the truck stops that have become routine. An espresso, quick panini or dolce and we're on the road again to explore. What we are learning is how diverse this island truly is. As our tour director says, Sicily is a plate of spaghetti. All mixed up. People like...

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Apr 30, 2017 - Sicilia ... the Motherland

Taormina, Mt Etna and Savoca - April 30-May 3 With an early morning start from Sorrento, we are on our way along the stunning Mediterranean coast, through the countryside and across the Strait of Messina to Sicily. The views are breathtaking and the anticipation grows. For Victor, this is an emotional time. La Bella Sicilia, the place of his birth. Even more special since he will be sharing it with his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. There is a saying among Sicilians that it is your blood that calls you back to the island and most...

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Apr 29, 2017 - Turkish bathing in Palermo

I am BLISSED out! Have spent three hours this afternoon in a hammam or Turkish bath. Fortunately for you all, there are no photos, so my words will have to paint the picture. Wearing my swimsuit (this was a mixed bathing experience), I was guided through a series of steps. First, lying on a hot marble slab, an attendant threw hot water over my front and my back (the latter prompted much giggling from me as it was quite ticklish). Then into a 45 degrees sauna for no more than 2 minutes several times, a salt scrub down by another attendant, a...

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Nov 3, 2016 - Messina Sicily - Jewel of the Seas

Took a shore tour on Sicily and it was enjoyable. Our first stop was Mount Etna. Mount Etna is an active volcano on the east coast Sicily between the cities of Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe at 10,922 feet high, though this varies with summit eruptions. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. Luckily, it wasn’t very active while we were there because we were out walking around on top of it. It reminded me a lot of the lava from the volcanoes...

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Retired at Last!

Sep 25, 2016 - Taormina

The last 4 nights of my Sicily tour were spent at Taormina, a very touristy and scenic town a couple of km’s from the sea. A nice view from my room and a spectacular one from the restaurant where we could look at a great view of Mt Etna and the coastline on the days it wasn't raining. We're told that it only rains in Sicily 5 days a year and we were unlucky enough to experience 3 of them. One day we went up Mt Etna to about 3000 metres. It was very foggy there. It was followed by a visit to a winery where we tasted far too many lovely wines...

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Pam's Europe 2016

Sep 23, 2016 - Sicily - Agrigento and Siracusa

Day 4 saw us leave Palermo for Agrigento via Corleone , mafia country. We had an extremely interesting talk about the mafia by a man from Corleone who had lived 10 years in England. He told us how the mafia began as a charity for poor people and grew into a criminal organization after WW2 and the arrival of the US army. The US Govt wanted to control Mussilini and got the mafia to help. There are now signs people put on shop fronts and generally in the town saying they won't deal with the Mafia. It is still active but mainly in drugs, people...

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Trip Journal


Pam's Europe 2016

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