A Travellerspoint blog

Our last hoorah!!

sunny 32 °C

June 15 - 22

Ahhh Roma!!!
We arrived into Rome around 3-30 Saturday afternoon and after going through all the standard processes made our way out to the train and caught the appropriate line out to our suburb. It was only a few minute walk to the apartment from the station where we were greeted by Arianna and Phillipe. Arianna is an actress/comedian and Phillipe is a musician. They live just south of Sienna and use the apartment when in Rome and then rent it when they don't need it.
The apartment was 3 bed /2 bath and very comfortable for our needs.
We settled in then set off on a quick explore.
We were located overlooking the river in the suburb of Trastevere which is south of the main centre and in walking distance to many of Rome's attractions.
Even though we were so close to the centre there were very few tourists around,so we were able to easily blend into a roman way of life!

If you had to compare area's it would be similar to a lygon st, (distance and restaurants) just different in looks !
We didn't bother to do all of the tourist attractions, museums and cathedrals, having done them last time we were here, so we just spent the following six days just mixing with the locals and walking around Rome.
We did do a quick lap of the Vatican City and Glenda did go in to St Peters while I sat outside and said a prayer for all my Collingwood supporter friends.(they need all the help they can get!)
Rather than bore you even further with a day to day recount I thought I might just post some photos of things that caught our eye in Rome.
Looking forward to catching up with everyone on our return

Posted by naudi's 03:13 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

An experience to remember !!!

June 9
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and arranged for a taxi to pick us up and run us into Taormina. A late model E series Merc. owned by a 28 yo!....... And he's owned it for three years!!!!!
Once in town we just wandered and explored. In Taormina there is the Main Street that everybody does and then there is a multitude of little side streets and lanes that have plenty of life but no tourists.
After wandering and shopping we felt that we were going to need another suitcase to get things home so we hit the main drag and shopped some more. We then finished the day in Taormina with a granita and wine then caught a cab home.

June 10
After breakfast we hit the road. Again traveling south down the coast past Riposto where we had earlier spent some time on the boat. Once past Riposto we left the coast and started to climb inland.
Because the distances aren't great we looped our way through various towns and regions enjoying the scenery and the local life in the villages.
After lunch, as we were driving back down the mountains to the north coast we stumbled on a real gem!
Ucria is set high on one side of a deep ravine, it's small narrow roads are terraced into the hillside. On one of those roadsides there was a local bar/cafe so we stopped for a drink and to soak up the views.
After the initial stares from all the locals we settled and started talking to the owner.
One of the questions we asked was for accommodation.
Because they don't see many tourists in the area there were no hotels but she did suggest a guest house down the main road. After giving some general directions we started to wander down the road where we came across a lady sweeping her terrace. It turned out she had the standard relative that lived in Perth but also knew the retired professor who owned the guest house.
On calling him she introduced herself as the local council secretaries wife and proceeded to arrange a room for us.
The guest house wasn't open for trade yet (too early in the season) but he would prepare a room for us and have it ready in an hour.
We arrived at the big gates of the property and after buzzing through they opened and we wound our way up the drive to this huge old villa.
We were greeted by Sabrina the house keeper who showed us to our room and asked when we would like dinner to be served!!!
We changed for dinner and made our way to the dinning room where Sabrina had prepared a four course meal from produce solely grown on the estate!!

June 11
The next morning after breakfast the professor told us how he had inherited the villa that had been in the family since the 1800's and how, on his retirement from his profession (vascular surgery) he renovated and restored the villa to its former glory. Sabrina then took us on a small tour of the grounds and showed us the hazelnut orchids that the estate still derives most of its income from. The professor then told us of another village not far from the coast that was worth a visit.
We then regrettably left and proceeded to San Marco.
A lovely little village again high up overlooking the coast. It significance lies in the fact that it was the last bastion to fall to foreign invaders in the thirty year siege of Sicily.
We met with a lady, that the professor suggested we meet, looked over her property and then the remainder of the town.
After which we continued our descent down to the water and along to Cefalu where we booked into our room about 50 m away from the main square.

June 12 -13
Cefalu is a lovely sea side resort town. It experiences many tourists but Russians seem to be flavor of the month. The weather is pleasant but the Russians consider that it's swimming weather!!!
Again the town hosts lovely little streets and lane ways that meander through the small space that the town was been settled on between the sea and surrounding hills .
The only problem we encountered in Cefalu was that we had to park our car in a supermarket car park 15-20 min away from our accommodation because the lanes aren't wide enough to accommodate cars.

June 13-15
Palermo !!!!! This will be quick !!!!!!
I'm sure Palermo had some redeeming features however we only got to see a few!!
Our eyes were constantly peeled to the footpath from fear of walking into a parked car, motorbike our doggy do do planted in the middle of the path.
It was relatively easy driving through the place because no one stuck to lanes,used indicators or cared if you cut them off!!!! You just did what you liked.
The place was littered with rubbish, the people .... Just a matter of fact and I'd go as far as to say, parts of Vietnam were cleaner and the people a hell of a lot friendlier!!!!
I guess you get the idea!!!
Lucky it wasn't the only place we had seen in Sicily.
One thing we did enjoy in Palermo was a Sicilian delight known as a brioche.
A sweet bread roll with ICE CREAM scooped inside it!!!!!!
It got the better of us after watching hundreds of locals enjoying them...........we both agreed
Saturday morning we were gladly up early to rush to the airport and get to Rome

Posted by naudi's 14:36 Comments (0)

Our sea journey comes to an end.

sunny 24 °C

June 6

We finally leave Riposto!
Early morning the weather was good so we left Riposto under motor to Messina. The weather was warm and due to the lack of wind there was a slight haze/sea mist in the air, however we were still treated to some lovely views over the water back to the coast. We travelled back past Taormina and it looked every bit spectacular from the water. We continued up the coast and pulled into Messina mid afternoon.
Messina is located opposite the Italian boot tip where the distance between Italy and Sicily would not be any more than a couple of kilometers.
The straits are famous for the swordfish that are fished and caught within its waters. The boats that catch them are only small, 25-35 feet and have a huge mast were the spotter stands, I'm guessing around 60 ft !!!! tall with a crows nest perched on top. A horrible job especially in a rolling sea!!!!
They also have a long walkway protruding from the bow about the length of the boat were they spear the fish from.
After we settled into the marina we went exploring Messina.
It's a large city of perhaps the size of a Bendigo or Ballarat. It certainly won't go down as our favorite but we have been in worst places.
We stopped for a coffee and to study our maps when a employee came out to chat. After the obligatory 10 questions we asked for a nice restuarant.
That night we found the L'altro orsa and with Allan and Gloria had a great local meal. Her recommendation was spot on !!!

June 7
The next morning while Allan was doing his regular inspections of the boat he noticed some matted substance in the fuel filter.
We had a go at cleaning it out however we coundn't dislodge the foreign matter without dismantling the whole assembly......something Allan was reluctant to do.
So, again armed with my broken Italian we proceeded to secure the help of a diesel mechanic.
Sicily runs on the same time schedule everywhere..............Slow!!!!!!!!
The earliest we could get a mechanic was 2-30 after siesta.
Allan, faced with the problems of lack of breeze and possible fuel blockage was reluctant to motor out to the island of Stromboli. So with the lost day we decided with A&G that we would make tonight our last night on the boat. This would give them more time to explore the aeolian islands without trying to rush us back in time for our commitments.
while we waited for the mechanic Glenda & I went into town and booked our car for the remainder of our Sicilian journey.
Not long after our return the mechanic arrived and surprise,surprise....... he didn't have replacement filters for that model!!!!!!
It would be a few days before he could get parts to town so he offered to replace the whole system for Allan .......... At a price Allan was happy with.
Allan agreed and booked him for 8-30 the next morning..........the only question remaining ??????? Would he show up????
Every grey cloud has a silver lining !!!!
We were able to stay on the boat and listen to THE BOMBERS great win!!!!!
June 8
Pigs do Fly!!!!
The mechanic shows up.......... BUT with a second hand filter housing.
After a brief discussion and a price reduction the motor was running again.
G and I gathered our bags and said our goodbye's.
We collected our car and left Messina. We initially travelled along the autostrad in a Southerly direction. About 30 min down the road we left the coast and decided to climb into the hills to explore some of the villages perched up high overlooking the coast. Going was slow but the distances weren't great.
The views were spectacular and it was fantastic just driving through these pretty villages watching the locals going about their daily business. At the local coffee shop/ bar the men and women would gather together in their separate groups and wonder who the strange car driving through their village belonged to??? 76C72FBE2219AC681770532B7AEE0B38.jpg180_DB450CF32219AC68179A0A8C11CA172C.jpgDB7926A02219AC681706326904814198.jpg
We looped around through the countryside for a couple of hours then eventually returned back to the coast just north of Taormina. We pulled over for a coffee and set about finding a suitable hotel to stay in. Taormina is a busy tourist spot with people everywhere so we decided to look around the area where we were having coffee. We eventually booked into this hotel opposite the beach and close to plenty of cafe's and restaurants. We settled into our room overlooking the beach then went to dine on the waterfront.

Posted by naudi's 01:03 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

More cruising and snoozing

And a little swim!

sunny 25 °C


Up early, checked the weather and then set sail across the Malta canal over to Sicily. All up an eighty mile sail and the first time Glenda and I would have been on a sailing yacht and not be in view of land!
The first part of the sail was a bit lumpy with 25knot winds but the seas were behind us so it wasn't too unpleasant. Both settled down nicely around 11am and we were able to have a great sail across.
The boat and Glenda both performed well!
Once across the strait we pulled around out of the wind into this bay and had lunch after which we continued to motor along the coast up to Siracusa,
A large town on the eastern side of Sicily.
We booked into our marina berth and then just showered and relaxed on the boat.

June 1 - June 3
After having breakfast on the boat we headed off to explore Siracusa.
It's a rather large city divided into the new and the old.
The new didn't look all that inviting to us so we just concentrated on the old and it didn't disappoint.
Just up from the marina is the city square where all the local political hopefuls were strutting their stuff. The local election was to be held next Saturday and every baby in sight was being kissed.
Next door to the square was the local produce market. We all mingled with the locals and purchased supplies that we would need on the boat for the next few days. After carrying them back to the boat we had a very entertaining day just meandering thru the narrow streets and lanes visiting many of the quirky shops.......and their were plenty!!
The following day we mingled some more, shopped some more then made our way to the Ancient Greek amphitheater for the local production of Oedipus.
Couldn't understand a word, but still loved sitting in the middle of this ancient amphitheater surrounded by hundreds of Sicilians and watching this ancient story being portrayed with all the modern stage props.


After the show we found a lovely little restaurant where we enjoyed a fantastic meal and the entertainment provided by the owners 9 yo daughter Bernadette. It was so funny watching her trying to practice her English with us and then in mid sentence revert to Italian with Me.

June 3-6
Early on Tuesday morning before setting sail for the small town of Riposto we had some on board entertainment!!!!
Glenda in her usual fashion was giving me some lip and not concentrating on what she was meant to be doing, lost her balance and FELL INTO THE WATER when she was crossing the plank between the boat and dock.
After fishing her out of the water and ensuring she was ok we proceeded to have a great laugh........up until she relised that her purse was on the bottom 8 meters below.
We quickly summoned the marina staff and they fortunately were able to get a professional diver not far away to come and retrieve it.
A couple of hours and 80eur later we left for Riposto.
Situated at the base of the active volcano (etna) Riposto is only 15 mins by car from Taormina.
It is a modern well kept marina that had great facilities including a restaurant, laundry etc. the cost to stay the night was 109eu which is around average in Italy.
We arrived and did the obligatory run around to collect maps, info etc then returned back to the boat to plan the next day.
The next morning we hired a car and set-off to explore Mount Edna.
The hire car was a little fiat, they didn't bother to check fuel levels, dents , scratches etc ......just have it back to us in the morning!!!!!
Maned with a basic map we headed away from the Marina and all the memories (bad) of driving in Italy quickly came flooding back.
Without too much pain we arrived at the base of Edna and quickly organized our tickets that would initially take us up a funivia (cable car) to a point up the mountain where we transferred to a four wheel drive bus that continued the journey to where the active cones were approx 4000 meters above sea level
The landscape was lunar with massive slabs of ice completely covered in black volcanic ash. Temperatures were very cool and the wind chill factor extremely high.
We met up with our tour guide and then spent the next one and a half hours walking and learning about the volcano.
Once finished we quickly got back on the bus and headed down the mountain for lunch.
After lunch we jumped back in the fiat and cruised to Taormina.
A scenic little town about half an hours drive from etna.
The town is built into the hills that rise from the coast.
We quickly started exploring and familiarizing ourselves preparing for the return trip after we leave A&G .
On return back to the boat we had dinner and prepared for our sail to Messina the next day.
The next morning Wed 5/6 we were up early had breakfast and set off to the other side of the marina to fuel up.
We pulled up at at the refueling dock, secure all lines and start refueling
One tank full.......move across to the other side......... 45 liters later Allan relises that he's filing the freshwater tank with diesel !!!!!!
The Marina crew were very helpful telling us that it happens all the time (although Allan didn't feel any better) and arranging for us to go over to the shipyards for assistance.

With my broken Italian we spent the rest of the day having the problem rectified.
Nothing really happens in a hurry over here and the marina staff still have to have their 1 1/2 hour siesta even though they knew we wanted to get to Messina. As it turns out, we were able to get all the fuel and water pumped out after lunch around 3pm but then had to wait another hour for the chandlery to open so we could buy the appropriate disinfectants.
So we waited some more and when the shop reopened we found that they didn't have any stock left!!!!!!!!
So,so,so we spent another night in Riposto flushing out water tanks!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by naudi's 14:29 Archived in Malta Comments (0)

Our adventure starts!

We head to Sea.

sunny 24 °C

May 26
After checking out of our lovely accommodation in Valetta we met up with A&G who came across for breakfast at a local cafe. We spent the rest of the day meandering around the back streets and just mingled with the locals.
Later that afternoon we picked up our luggage and made our way across to the other side of the harbour to where the boat was moored. It was our first chance to see the views of Valetta from the water.....and lovely they were!!
The boat was moored at the Grand Marina, which is located in the Bigu area of Malta. The area consists of three spits of land that jut out into the harbour. In ancient times they were each an individual settlement that have now integrated into the one region.
The spit where the marina was located was called Victoriosa.
After settling onto the boat we went and had a short walk around and had dinner in the the local town square.

May 27
Unfortunately the weather wasn't good enough to set sail so we spent the day just relaxing and wandering around mixing with the locals.
May 28
After checking the weather the skipper decided to venture off and see how conditions would be out of the Marina. We motored out from our berth and out of the entrance only to turn around half mile out to sea.
We were confronted with 20-25knt winds and three meter high seas on the nose........not that pleasant!!!
So to Glenda's relief we returned back to our berth and settled back into to our busy schedule...........Not!!

May 29
The conditions improved so we set sail again. This time conditions were far more pleasant so we motor sailed south east to a fishing town by the name of Marsaxlokk.
Once out to sea we were able to familiarize ourselves with the workings of the boat while sailing. Alan and I took turns of helming while Gloria read and Glenda thawed out from her frozen state!
Two and a half hours later we pulled into the harbour and found a mooring buoy.
We tied up, tidied up the boat and then jumped into the tender to make our way ashore to explore.
Once ashore we quickly found cafe's and a permanently set up market that we wandered around. Gloria found a lovely embroidered table cloth that she quickly scooped up and while paying she was told about the best restaurant in the town. We continued our walk around and eventually found the restaurant. After making a reservation we made our way back to the boat for a hard earned rest ?????
That night we dolled ourselves up and made our way back to the restaurant where we had a fantastic meal. ...........guess who else was there...........thats right, .....the table cloth man!!!!
May 30
The next morning we pulled up anchor and set sail in a westerly direction....destination Gozo.
We motor sailed back past Valetta ,Silema and St Julian's to the western end of the island where Gozo was located. We pulled into our Marina berth and then caught a cab into the heart of Gozo. A lovely old town again filled with friendly people.
We again explored, ate and returned back to the boat (can you see a pattern forming?) to prepare for our early morning crossing over to Sicily.


Posted by naudi's 05:04 Archived in Malta Comments (0)

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