Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Sicilia, Italy

Nov 17, 2017 - A few notes from John

My General Impressions of Italy By John We spent three days in Rome, three days in Naples, and then fourteen days in Sicily (on a Road Scholar trip) – twelve of those days in rural Sicily. In Rome, the major tourist destinations like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and the Roman Colosseum were overrun with tourists without much infrastructure to support them. For example, there were no public toilets in the area. Outside of these areas, Rome was not unpleasant, but the roads had more traffic than they could handle, and there were no...

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Nov 15, 2017 - Arrivederci Sicily

Our final two days on the Sicily tour. Belice, Mt Pispisa, and Segesta Written by John, edited by Lois On Tuesday November 14, the weather forecast was for 50 degrees and rain for most of the day. The original schedule called for an all day hike, so our guides put their heads together and came up with another plan. First we went to a former quarry where they found evidence of a civilization that dug a system of aqueducts several thousand years BC! The problem was the area had been in a grass fire a year ago and the trails had never been...

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Nov 13, 2017 - Lessons learned the hard way

A few short notes for both seasoned and novice travelers: 1. When stowing your stuff in the overhead compartment of an airplane, take the time beforehand to put everything into one bag. Do not throw in your practically new LL Bean fleece separately. John realized several days later that his jacket was left on the plane between Naples and Palermo. We hope that the person who found it enjoys the cozy warmth of the garment. 2. Take a complete change of clothing along in your carry-on luggage. Alitalia lost one guy's suitcase, and it took 6...

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Nov 12, 2017 - Two Days in Palermo

Lois writing: On Sunday November 12 we were driven about an hour to Palermo, where we had a long walking tour of the city, courtesy of our history guide, Viviana. Saw lots of churches, Norman architecture, some old parts of town, Muslim influences, shops, fountains, theaters, families out and about, boats in the harbor and skateboarding kids. Almost everyone wears black. A large lunch in a restaurant. There was a long discussion of the Mafia influence in Sicily; it is still quite prevalent nowadays. This is John writing now..... There are...

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Nov 11, 2017 - Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve- Hiking along the Coast

Saturday Nov.11 - Lois writing - a hiking day in a Nature Reserve that was the first of its kind in Italy. We traversed a trail that always was in view of the seashore, and although the forecast was not promising, it was sunny all day. It was really great to be able to do a point-to-point six mile hike, since the bus had to drive 40 kilometers between our trailheads. The scenery was fabulous, and Eduardo stopped often to tell us about a wide variety of plants and animals, plus some historical notes. For example, the Grotta del'Uzzo served...

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Nov 10, 2017 - Greeks in Sicily

Written by Lois Most folks think of Sicily as being part of Italy, but that was not always the case. This area has been inhabited for centuries by a variety of people who came here from all parts of the Mediterranean. It's only been "Italy" since the 1860s, when numerous regions were united to form the nation of Italy. Garibaldi was the "father of the country", and there are statues of him in every town. Usually a main street is named after him too. Sicilians have their own language and an ethnic heritage that is more diverse than anywhere...

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Nov 9, 2017 - Monte Cofano

Monte Cofano by John The first half of our trip is over. We checked out of our hotel in Trapani and moved to a hotel in Castellammare del Golfo, which is about 25 miles east of Trapani, and also on the coast of the Tyrrhanean Sea. For some reason, our first four or five meals with Road Scholar featured octopus, calamari, and sardines. Since then we have had veal, roast beef, and meat balls - and more vegetables, and we have been eating too much. It is very easy to eat more than you can walk off when you are our age. The hike today around...

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Nov 8, 2017 - Mozia & Marsala

Trying a new literary form - free association rather than sentences, which are overrated. Sunshine! Bus for 45 minutes, ferry from Marsala to Mozia (Mothya), new guides for the day: Frederica and Laura, lots of Phoenician ruins and artifacts, walking on unpaved surface 2 miles around the island felt better, Charioteer statue, lunch at winery, tour and tasting, walk around Marsala. Best dinner in Italy: amazing vegetable soup and tender roast beef with burgundy sauce. Busy packing to head to new hotel tomorrow.

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Nov 7, 2017 - Avoiding the rain

After I returned from the dentist, it was time to meet the group for today's activities. The forecast for Trapani was pretty crummy - chilly and 70-80% chance of rain, so the guides decided to hire a bus that drove us south to the other side of Sicily. By doing short excursions (not really hikes), we would never be too far from shelter if it really began to pour. We did have some heavy rain (with lightning and thunder), but managed to avoid being out in it most of the time. It was cool and windy, so I was glad I had taken along a fleece hat...

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Nov 6, 2017 - Egadi Islands

Egadi Islands Written by Lois There are 3 small islands just west of Trapani, called the Egadi Islands. They were settled by the Phoenicians and over the centuries, have been taken over by a variety of other cultures. As we found out, there were settlers there thousands of years ago. While we are hiking around this area, our second guide is named Eduardo. We kid him that he really doesn't look Sicilian; he's about 6'2" and has a lot of curly red hair. His English is not as good as Irene's, so if he has to hunt for a word, she is there to...

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Nov 4, 2017 - On to Trapani

Lois begins: On Friday morning November 3 we returned to the Palermo airport, where we met the group for our Road Scholar hiking trip in the northwest corner of Sicily. I didn't realize quite how close we are to Africa; it's easy to see why so many refugees end up here, and why this area has been a center of civilization for thousands of years. Today our guide was showing us a building that was built in in 600 BC! She mentioned the Punic Wars. I wish I remembered more from my World History classes. The weather has continued to be stunning,...

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Nov 2, 2017 - Arrival in Palermo, Sicily

(written by Lois) We were all up at 3:15 to meet our driver 1/2 hour later, and then were dropped off at the Naples airport. Security was kind of slow, but at least we still had plenty of time to hang out by the gate area for our 6:40 plane. They even had couches in the waiting area, so we managed to nap a bit, since the plane was only about 1/3 full. The 30 minute flight took off just at dawn, and I managed to get in a small nap as we flew over the water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. All four of us were running a bit low on Euros, but the...

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