Somehow I skipped Sicily

IMG_3997In my spurt of catching up on the blog I realized I never got around to posting here about our family’s vacation to Sicily this spring. It was one of few full-week vacations we’ve ever taken to a destination that wasn’t considered home (Salem, NH, Tennessee). And it was amazing. Time was such a luxury for us that it almost felt like multiple vacations, not just one.  

We had a bit of an ordeal getting out of Munich in the first place. We had pulled into the wrong parking garage. We could not use online check in and had to wait in a painfully long and slow line. We realized too late that most of us had exceeded the technical baggage limits for our very economical airfare. We were all but convinced we would miss the plane. Instead, we were the last to board the bus, and thus the first to get to our seats (and storage) on the plane.  Once we were in the air, I was able to relax.

We flew into Catania airport. The approach was spectacular as we had never flown near a volcano before. Mt Etna was smoking and snowy. Once on the ground, the differences between Germany and Italy became apparent: in the signage to the car rental, in the traffic, in the dire warnings about petty theft, the smiles, and easy going nature of those around us. For a week at least, we could be tourists. We didn’t have to try so hard to fit in with language, although I have such an affinity for Italian, it really is a pleasure to try.

We drove from Catania to Taormina, absolutely spellbound by the glorious beauty around us. We were well warned about the road into Taormina, made more for goats that cars, and we were all relieved when we arrived at our hotel.  We spent two warm, wonderful nights in Taormina in a fantastic hotel room with a private roof deck overlooking the city and the sea, and with its own jacuzzi.  In Taormina we explored the ancient Greek theater, the gardens, the alleys, and the plazas. We took a spur-of-the-moment private boat excursion and explored the caves around the cove and got a breathtaking view of the volcano from sea level. Of course we ate well.

After a couple days in the ritzy, stunning waterfront town, we drove south to our next destination: an agriturismo 18th century farmhouse, known for its award winning olive oil. We stayed there for the next 6 nights, and we spoked out to different areas for day trips.

The rustic farmhouse had its own particular charm, and had a wonderful farm dog, named Rex, who followed Merrie everywhere. The farmhouse also offered half board and you could chose to join them for dinner, which we did on a few occasions. On the other nights, we cooked in our little kitchen with locally sourced food.  Every morning we enjoyed espresso and the beautiful spring weather.

Day trips included: Noto (known for its golden architecture), Siracusa (a stunning seaside town), Agrigento (known for the Valley of the Temples), Modica (known for their chocolate), and Ragusa Ibla (known as a charming hillside town with nice views). We spent our last day relishing the glorious weather at the Ragusa Marina beach, enjoying the sun, surf, sand, and seafood in a most civilized manner.

So, without further ado, here are the culled pics from the trip.

 

Did I mention we ate and drank really well?

 

And finally, here were a couple of the collage pics I made on travel days.

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