A Travellerspoint blog

Sicilia

A relaxing break from our stressful lives

sunny 29 °C
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We spent a lovely 3 days in Sicily, and wished we had more. We stayed in San Vito lo Capo which was a beautiful glimpse into Sicilian life, and then in Taormina. The Lonely Planet or ‘Bible’ as we’ve taken to calling it said, ‘it is difficult to exaggerate the beauty of Taormina’. We thought that sentence achieved it. Not to be too harsh the views were spectacular, but unfortunately it seemed a little aimed at catching the turisti dollar.

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Clare’s top 5:

1. Tasty food in San Vito lo Capo.

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2. A chance to catch some rays while Simon fished.

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3. Seeing an authentic ‘passegiata’ as families packed the streets at 10.30pm, then sat down to dinner in the restaurants with their impeccably behaved toddlers.

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4. Improving my Italian with the friendly hotel staff who spoke no English.

5. Pastries and cappuccinos every morning.

Simon’s top 5:

1. The food.

2. Not much pushing and not many cobbles in San Vito.

3. A chance to do some fishing in Italy.

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Although this was the catch of the day... no it's not bait

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4. Lovely views.

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5. People watching. At the beach and seeing old people sitting in front of their houses on the street.

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There were also some low lights;

Our bottom 5:

1. Pushing up ridiculous hills in Taormina.

2. Driving through laneways so narrow we had to put the wing mirrors in and were left with about a cm on each side of the car. Meanwhile the car behind was amazingly patient for an Italian, as Clare tried not to look at the walls on either side which were covered with evidence of previous cars’ scraping.

3. Arguing with rude bus driver at the airport who lied about the ramp not working, then after 5 minutes of Clare’s Italian ranting and gesticulating he gave in and spent a whole two minutes turning keys and pressing buttons. The poor soul will never get those two minutes of his life back.

4. The one time we ate non Italian food at a German restaurant and it sucked.

5. Not being organised enough to go up Mt Etna.

Ciao...

Posted by fishitaly 06:58 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Roma

A whirlwind tour

sunny 27 °C
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Many people say that Verona is just a mini Rome. To our way of thinking Rome was just a big Verona.

We spent a lot of time walking from place to place which took its toll,

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as we tried to cram all of Rome into three days. We did the Lonely Planet ‘Rome in two days’ over three days and still had to skip some things.

The food was, as always in Italy, exceptional and we enjoyed sampling some of the local delicacies;

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I could have smoked fragola tobacco all night, though Clare with her chest infection and the bump were good sports to go along in the first place.

The scale and abundance of Roman ruins and landmarks is mind boggling. Sitting under the domed roof of the Pantheon you can’t help but echo the question, ‘how the hell did they build this?’

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‘How the hell did they get these columns up?’

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I managed to get over the rubble and into the Forum. Once upon a time the centre of the world a vast expanse of temples and monuments, a shopping complex etc, now slowly decaying.

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The Colosseum was colossal.

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The Basilica was big.

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And you could spend a day staring at the paintings in the Sistine Chapel. (no photos as you are not allowed, though that didn’t stop most people.)

We had the car in Rome, though after seeing the way they drive and park we thought it best to leave the car at the hotel and let the experts do the driving. Try getting out of this parking spot;

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One last gem of a find is seen in the photo below. The caption reads, ‘Direzione Nazionale Antimafia’.

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Next stop Sicily.

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Posted by fishitaly 06:45 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Five minute update

quick hello to all

semi-overcast 20 °C
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Hi everyone

Clare here ... Just a quick one to say we are back on the mainland having survived 3 days of my driving in Sicily (more on that soon), and plenty of other interesting experiences. In Orvieto, Umbria for a night on our way back to Verona.

Have had an amazing week seeing Rome, Sicily, and soon Tuscany (whirlwind tour), will have some good pics posted on the weekend.

Also for those who are interested, my belly has POPPED, I have even noticed my belly button starting to make the conversion from deep innie to outie. Scary stuff. Photo on the way.

Will have to run now (in an internet cafe down stairs and not sure what S is up to upstairs... last I saw he was enjoying a whiskey and a cigarette. We are in this amazing chocolate shop in Orvieto and I had the best hot chocolate so far in Italy.)

Hope everyone doing well.

C
xx

Posted by fishitaly 13:19 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Visitors in Verona and Venice

We've just had a great long weekend with Michael & Bronwyn

sunny 23 °C
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My brother Michael and his wife Bronwyn were our first Veronese visitors. It was so great to have some company to speak English with and to explore a bit more of the country with. Their visit involved a lot of eating…

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and drinking

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and being silly.

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This statue in Verona is of a famous geographer holding a globe (geography ball as Simon called it) and supposedly the first honest person to walk under the statue will have the globe fall on their head. Simon thought it best to carry an umbrella for safety.

We headed off for a day and a night in Venice with Michael and Bronwyn and were lucky to have some amazing sunny weather after half a week of rain.

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We had plenty of warnings “Venice will be a nightmare for a wheelchair”, “don’t even bother going”… I think because of this perception the tourist info centre is really geared up for it, we picked up a map highlighting in green all the areas that are supposedly accessible (which is about ½ the island).

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Unfortunately all the bridges that have lifts require keys which were either nowhere to be found, or didn’t work at all, but it didn’t really matter because we could see so much from the boats and the area around St Mark’s square which kept us busy enough!

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What is the deal with people wanting pigeons all over them? They were actually putting bird seed in their hair so the birds would pick it out. Ewww. Helen you’d love it.

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We also had more amazing meals, including lunch at this restaurant where the waiters filleted the fish in front of us, pretty bizarre but the food was delicious.
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OK so here is the 17 week belly shot. I think this shot makes it look smaller than it really is, because I’m now at the point of no return on buttoning up my jeans. Have also started to feel some movement going on in there, and of course our afternoon in Venice I must have managed to visit (and pay for) every public toilet there was, with my sudden urgency to go every hour or so! Simon’s sympathetic belly is coming along nicely also.

We have had a request for more photos of us (and I think less of buildings) - I wholeheartedly agree having seen many photos of buildings and found them less than exciting. So this was our first attempt...

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Hopefully we can improve on the excitement level of the photos... If I can just stop Simon taking the camera to try and take photos of buildings every few minutes...

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We're off tomorrow for a week in Rome and Sicily. (A holiday from our stressful lives here in Verona!) Will have an update after that!

A big hello to all our fans,

C

Posted by fishitaly 08:36 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Lago di Garda

A few grey days in the Lakes

overcast 17 °C
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For our first adventure we decided to head local. Lake Garda is just under an hour from our apartment in Verona (technically 30 mins if you know the way). After weeks of perfect sunny weather in Verona it was a little disappointing to be met with torrential downpours as we headed off to the lakes.

Because of the rain we limited our travel the first day, just visiting Garda and Bardolino. We pinched a couple of bread rolls from our lunch restaurant and went to feed these ducklings.

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Simon attracted a crowd of tourists who thought he was part of the show, with everyone taking loads of photos. Very cute ducklings though.

The lake is truly beautiful and looks more like the sea than a lake, it’s so massive.

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Simon's been having fun in photoshop with this one...

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After speaking to our host at our lovely little hotel we headed off to a local bar for pizza and to watch AC Milan vs Manchester United in the soccer. The bar was absolutely packed and everyone in good spirits especially when Milan won 3-0.

The following day we had intended to get a ferry across the lake to Salo which is supposed to be lovely. But of course our plans had not factored in a “sciopero” (ferry strike), so instead we drove north around the lake, stopping at Monte Baldo to ride up a 1760m mountain on a cable car. Views were amazing of course, although I stupidly forgot to take photos of the lake at the top. Don’t ask… We did get a few good shots from the cable car though.

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We then spent some time at a lovely town called Riva, the northern most point of Lake Garda, full of interesting little alleys and old buildings.

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Then we headed to Torri del Benaco for a fabulous dinner (although a little confusing with a menu in German!)

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Our last day we had planned to try to get to Salo again, but when the rain was pouring again we gave it a miss and came home to Verona, hopefully we’ll get a chance to go there again.

Clare

Posted by fishitaly 08:19 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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