Travels: Sicily, Italy

Just came back from our week vacation in Sicily, Italy. We looked forward to it for months, but vacations are always over in the blink of an eye, so after a night in my own bed I can't even imagine I was away for a week. 

Sicily is beautiful, really beautiful, the food is in one word great, people are very friendly (far more than on the main land, in my opinion, but my opinion is based on just one other trip to Italy, to Florence and Pisa to be precise). All ingredients for a great little trip, but there was one big downer.

Before we took the plane, we had hired a car on internet. We would arrive in the evening, so plans were we just had to pick it up at the airport and could drive to the house we had rented. In theory, that was. When we arrived, the car rental had canceled our booking, because our arrival time wasn't filled in. Although they had our flight schedule (which is what I would look at as I rented cars, because flights can be delayed), they just canceled it. 

So after a long wait for our turn, we had no car. All cars were hired! We were addressed to another car rental, that probably would have a car for us. And they did. But we had to pay double the price and had to wait two hours before it was available. Bad option if you're with two kids that are already crying because they're tired. Then, alas, all they could do for us was rent us a BMW station wagon.

We had already spend two hours at the car rental now and just wanted to go. So my husband accepted the BMW, for even more money. As soon as he said we had a BMW I felt my anxiety levels rise, uneasy as I felt by driving a car this big and pretentious on an island where most people don't have lots of money to spend. 

But we were finally on the road. That night I dreamed about scratches on the car. So first thing I did when we stepped in the car the next morning, was check the car for damage. And that was what I did every time, after every trip we made with the thing: checking for damage.  That's why I know somebody must have brushed our car when we parked it (our first day on the island!) while doing grocery shopping, because before we went into the store the car was spotless. Scratches all over the front bumper. After that I didn't have one relaxed moment. And I know it's me, my character, but I find enjoying myself very difficult when in the back of my head the BMW that might be scratched again flashes on and off all the time. 

After that first brush four days later followed another one, while our car was parked on a parking lot near the beach. Maybe the brushing wasn't on purpose, I don't know, but a day later I found scratches on both sides of the car hood. Brushing the car while leaving can happen by accidence, maybe, but what can possibly make lighting strike formed scratches on top of the car hood by chance? 

Soooo, just one tip when you go to Sicily: hire a indistinct car, preferably a ragged one, so people don't feel the urge to damage other people's property. And if they really can't control themselves, you don't see the difference anyway. 

Only after returning the car at the end of the week I got back my peace of mind. And just now I can enjoy our time away with retroactive effect.

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So now: some pictures of this beautiful island!!
 






On our first day in Sicily we went to see Taormina with her narrow streets, lots of little shops and the unevitable gelaterias. The last we visited every day, because no country can match up to the Italian ice!




Behind Taormina lies the little town of Castelmola, which can be reached by climbing a lot of stairs, that end at the cutest little church, that's build in a cave.


 
When you walk out of the church, there's a great view on an old Greek amphi theater.



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Of course we rode up Mount Etna. Although we went to a lot of places with volcanoes before (my parents actually live on the volcanic island of Lanzarote), and we have seen the lava flows on Big Island, Hawaii, we never actually saw one erupt. Etna smoked all the time we were there. One evening I saw some orange glow at the top and one morning I saw smoking lava roll down one of her flanks, but that's about it. So seeing an erupting volcano is still on my list.

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The day we rode to Milazzo and took a ferry to the Eolian Islands, I personally found the best day. The islands are located north east of Sicily. We hopped off on the tiny island of Vulcano and hiked to the top of the Vulcano Crater. I especially loved the laid back atmosphere of the island, which is very different from the aggressive driving and more hasty way of living at the 'main (is)land' .

Beside the great views on the other Eolians, it was not only an experience for the eyes, but especially for the nose. Do you see the smoke coming from the crater rim? Smells like rotten eggs that are rotten (yes, rotten eggs that are rotten, double rotten, to accentuate how bad it really stank). The smoke coming from the so called fumeroles is actually poisonous.

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Of course we had to visit the little town of Savoca, where a (small) part of The Godfather was filmed. In the little church above Michael Corleone married Apollonia.


Source

Beside the church and the famous Bar Vitelli, where another part of the movie was filmed, we visited a little monastery. In the catacombs were a couple of well preserved mummies to be found, which my daughters (and honestly, me too) found quite haunting. Taking pictures wasn't allowed, so nothing to show to you here.


 
The most famous cat of Sicily lives in Savoca. In the short while I was sitting next to his balcony, eating pane (bread) with Edammer Cheese (Edam actually being a place in The Netherlands; my grandmother always bought cheese from Edam, so I chose this filling just for the memories, but just as you do I wondered how this cheese ended up here in Savoca), there were at least fifty people who took pictures of this cat.




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 Great island views

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Another beautiful place we visited was Gola Alcantara, a trench of basalt stone and ice cold water, flanked with tiny beaches where you could spend some time in the water. 

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The duomo of Ortigia in Siracusa

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 The most popular fruit on Sicily: lemons!

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 www.betweennapsontheporch.net

Comments

  1. Everything looks so beautiful! I hope you had a great time!

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  2. Gorgeous, thanks for sharing! Have been thinking it is time to take a trip to Italy myself.....

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  3. Beautiful pictures! Sicily looks like a gorgeous place to visit.

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  4. Beautiful! What a gorgeous place to visit.

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  5. Wonderful photos in this post. Thanks. I love armchair travel and I enjoyed my trip to Sicily.

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  6. Such beautiful photos Liz. Sorry about all the hassles you had with the rental. That's not pleasant at all. Shame your poor kids. I'm glad that everything worked out okay and that you've got all these lovely photos as a reminder

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  7. Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos from your trip. I'm even you had a fabulous time, even with the problems with the rental. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

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  8. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

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  9. Sicily is on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing at Best of the Weekend!

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