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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ABC Wednesday: S is for SICILY

ABC Wednesday is up to the letter S this week so I'd like to take you on a tour to some of the places I visited when in Sicily/Sicilia .

The second week of November, 2006, we took the overnight ferry from Naples to Palermo, the capital city of Sicily. From there we drove west to the town of Erice, which is at the top of a mountain above Trapani on the west coast of Sicily.
By the time we arrived, I was sick as a dog and went right to my room and had delusional dreams until the next morning. Thankfully, the ladies I was traveling with and our guide agreed to stay over another day so that I could rest. While I was sleeping the second day, they took a day trip to Trapani where they viewed the salt-pans, a magnificent sight amidst all the fishing boats. On the morning of the third day, I was well enough to travel (although still sick) and I managed to take a few photos as we were leaving. Below is Trapani from Erice.
I'm disappointed I was too sick to appreciate Erice, because at 2,500 feet up, it's an intriguing medieval town of churches and forts, of silent cobbled lanes and miniature piazzas. I took this photo as we were driving down the mountain from Erice and the Mediterranean Sea was spectacular in its brilliance. And it is said that on a clear day, you can see Cape Bon in Tunisia.

We drove through stunning countryside ....

to reach Segesta where we viewed ancient Greek temples. Sicily has a rich Greek history because it was always considered a crucial strategic location due to its importance for Mediterranean trade routes. At one time it was considered to be part of Greece. We had to take a bus to the top of this mountain to view the amphitheater and other ruins above this temple. I took the shot from the window of the bus as we were returning to the car park.
I also took this shot from the top of the mountain that overlooked the countryside of Sicily near Segesta. It was paradoxical to see a modern highway snaking its way through old farms and ancient hills.

From Segesta, we travelled south to Selinunte on the south coast of Sicily. Another ancient Greek site, it contains five temples centered on an acropolis, which literally means "high city." This is one of my favourite shots because I took it as we were approaching the area and this temple stood out from behind bushes that looked like sagebrush. Actually, this part of Sicily is considered to be the "wild west" of the area.

The area was dotted by ruins through which we wandered for quite a while, imagining ourselves back in ancient Greek times. Some of these ruins were caused by massive earthquakes.

The site at Selinunte is so massive that we weren't able to see all of it. I took the following photo using my telephoto lens. You can see the Mediterranean out on the horizon and one can only imagine the size of the original temple.

From Selinunte, we drove through luscious countryside to Agrigento where we saw "The Valley of the Temples." I'm not going to include photos from there because I have to pick and choose what to show. I don't want you to get bored, but I do hope you will take my word for it that Sicily is certainly a destination to keep in mind for your future travels. I must admit that I wasn't that keen on going there at first, but I quickly realized that my guide was right!

We stayed overnight just outside of Agrigento in the most beautiful villa! Through the window of my room, I gazed at the city as the sun set and watched as the city lights came on. Stunning view! The next day we traveled through Enna - sort of central Sicily) and then south again to Piazza Armeria. (click on the link to see more photos.) There we viewed the most gorgeous Roman mosaics I've ever seen in my life!

We then headed for Siracusa where we stayed two nights. By the time we arrived, it was dark and I was exhausted and starting to feel worse again. So I hit the sack at the five-star Hotel Roma in my own room of a two-bedroom suite. The next day I missed the outing because I had to find my way down the street to the local farmacia where, in my halting Italian, asked for the drug that my doctor always gives me when I end up with bronchitis. I was thankfully able to understand the pharmacist when told I had to go and see the dottore a few doors down. When I entered the door, I expected to see something similar to what we see here in Canada. But the room was empty and a tall, good-looking young man was just coming out of another door. I asked if he was the dottore. He was and spoke enough English to understand me when I explained my symptoms (using hand gestures and notes the hotel manager had given me) that my doctor gives me Xithromax when I'm sick. He said, "Oh, one a day?" I answered, "Si! Si! One a day!" I was so excited that I was going to get my prescription! (Did I mention he was a handsome young Italian dottore?) He told me to go to the farmacia and I asked if I needed a prescription. But he just said, "No, just go and ask for the xithromax." Wow! So off I went and told the pharmacist that the dottore had said "Si, xithromax per mio." Or something like that. So I got the drug, went back to my room and slept some more.

We weren't leaving until around noon the next day, so as the first pill had done its duty and I was feeling much better, albeit still a bit weak, I went off on my own to explore the city. The following photo is of the harbour in old Siracusa. It was a lovely day, just warm enough to not need a jacket but not too warm for me to work up another fever. I really would love to go back some day and see more of that city. I think the rest of the group got to go on a boat ride or something like that. Boo Hoo!
We arrived in Taormina that afternoon - up the east coast past Catania where the airport is and just below Mount Etna. This is the "Riviera" of Sicily! Beautiful town with lots of wealthy tourists roaming around. We went and had gelato and coffee in the piazza while watching Mount Etna spew some smoke. The next morning we heard that it had erupted that night around 11:00 pm, but we were all tucked in at the San Dominigo Palace Hotel by then. Since this post is getting quite long, I just want to suggest you google this place and look at images and read its history. It's one of the leading hotels in the world! Our group even took high tea there one afternoon. This is the view from my patio.
I could show you all sorts of photos, but you'll just have to come over and see the album. But I do want to show you a typical scene along any Sicilian street.
If you're interested in Sicilian recipes, just go over to Welshcakes Limoncello's site. She is an ex-pat from the United Kingdom, currently residing in Modica, and experiments with the local fare. She shares recipes and photos of lots of Sicilian meals along with her point of view of Sicilian life.

Our week in Sicily ended early in the morning November 14, 2006, after driving back to Palermo where we caught another overnight ferry. We arrived back in Naples just in time to see the sun rise.

To view more ABC Wednesday participants' photos, click on Mrs. Nesbitt's place here.

56 comments:

mylittlephotonook said...

Oh! Lucky you, you´ve seen the paradise.....so many beautyful pictures you had on "Sicily" waiting to be publish!!So good post from you!

RuneE said...

I'll just have to come over and have a look at your album ;-)

But seriously, I had never imagined that there were so many place names starting with S in Sicily. I must once again regret that I missed a conference there last year.

A really interesting post.

ellen b said...

Leslie,
This looks like such a fabulous trip. So warm and such great ancient sites. I love travelling in "older" parts of our world. The food shot at the end looks so fresh and rich in color. Yum...

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

OH, Leslie, gosh, I don't need to Google for any images... it's right here! These are incredible photos and your story was fun and refreshing. I'm glad you were able to get your meds as well too! Whew!
Awesome post and yes, if I could, I would definitely want to travel to Sicily! You just never know...
Rocky Mountain Retreat

Berit said...

Oh! So beautiful, and I could like to be there!

Müge Tekil said...

Hello Leslie,

Your beautiful photos refreshed my memories because I made the same trip in 2004! :-)

Greetings,

Ida said...

WONDERFUL photos! You make me want to go there. :)
I have been to Italy, but not in Sicily.
Great S Leslie!

My S

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Leslie....that is when we were in Sicily...November 6th 2006...we stayed for one week, south of Syracuse...it was brilliant...we did manage to go to Mount Etna..and greek ampitheatre in Syracuse...the market etc..

Nancy said...

Well, you world traveler you! Thank you for sharing SICILY with your readers. Your pictures are just beautiful.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Just one little thing ...at the beginning of the post you said you were there in November and at the end it says August :-)

imac said...

Great set of photos and info.


pop and see my viking with his sword and shield.

leslie said...

anne thanks for pointing that out - I've fixed it now. Man, I'm tired! :(

John said...

Oh my.. This is a great S post.
Thanks for a wonderful trip.

Texas Travelers said...

Sorry about the SICK, but thanks for the tour of SICILY and other S's.
Great photos and commentary.

Our "S" is Setting.
Come visit,
Troy and Martha

Kjerstis Hjørne said...

Smart S-post. Lots of lovely photos.

Judy said...

Your photos are so beautiful. I feel like I'm right there. :)

jmb said...

Lovely post about one of my favourite places Leslie. Although you did go to some places that I did not.
Funnily enough I guest posted my two week soggiorno in Taormina at language school over at James's blog today, since he is staying with Welshcakes for a bit and I thought it appropriate. I'm sure he'll soon have stories of his own about Sicily when he gets back to blogging.

meggie said...

What a lovely post. Really brings out the wanderlust in my soul! I would love to visit those places, & take my granddaughter, who has an almost unknown, Italian grandfather.

Sharon said...

Wow! Thanks for this lovely tour of a beautiful area! Great shots.

Katney said...

I have fond memories of my trip to
Sicily as a student quite some years ago. Agrigento and Siracusa were among our stops. We sailed back from Palermo to Naples, leaving our "guide" to return by car to his home south of Naples. We were in a time crunch, and certain circumstances regarding how our "guide" was recruited made heading home a wise decision for us.

granmal said...

Beautiful - Looks like it was a great trip - you are a traveling woman. Great post!

me ANN my camera said...

This is a beautiful presentatin of your image journal/journey to Sicily. Both a lovely read and viewing. A great S presentation.

photowannabe said...

These pictures really made mewant to travel to that beautiful country. Thanks for sharing such wonderful S shots wiith us.

Ann (MobayDP) said...

Oh these are just absolutely lovely.

I have not yet had the opportunity to visit Sicily but now I need to push it up a notch on the list of places to visit! :)

Beautiful!

Picturing of Life said...

wow...beautiful places that you had visit.

Mine in here Thanks

Lana G! said...

Great shots - what a wonderful trip you had! Beautiful!

naturglede said...

Beatyful fore the S! You have done a greate job! Love it!

ArneA said...

Great photos from Sicily.
Never been there but now the plans have to be changed, just must go
Been in Puglia, and south of Neaples pluss Italy north with Tuscany.
se here and
Here

babooshka said...

A stunning collection of images and such and in depth post. A beautiful part of the world, I've always wanted to visit.

The Isle of Man and Sicily are the only flags in the world that have the three legs on. I'm posting from the Isle of Man.

Trubes said...

Wow Leslie, amazing photo's. DT and I are hoping to go to Sicily next October,and hopefully will meet up with Welshcakes.
I've posted another bit of sillines on my site for your perusal.
Hope you and yours are all well and your back is behaving!

Di.xx

reader Wil said...

What a fascinating series of photos! Didn't you take one of the handsome young dottore? Thanks for your visit and comment!

lv2scpbk said...

You have some beautiful photos here.

'JoAnn's-D-Eyes'NL said...

OOh yes Sicilia I was there last winter/autumn , it is indeed as you discribe, welldone, see my ABC

Liz said...

Amazing photo of the sunrise. how beautful sicily looks. sorry no capital letters. i am tickling george under his chin and he grumbles when i stop.

Mental P Mama said...

Stunning!

Daryl said...

What a lovely and intereSting travelogue, LeSlie! .. the photoS are SenSational!

:-Daryl

Book Owl said...

Now then, I wonder why Sicily is on the minds of all WL / Sicily Scene's friends! Lovely post Leslie.

Dick said...

Oh what a beautiful place and a lot of S.

sally in norfolk said...

sounds like a great place to visit..... for many reasons , wonder if its a good place for walking :-)

Gary said...

That last shot is simply astounding!! The others are great too!

Gary

Louis la Vache said...

Ah! Siclily! A Super Subject for "S"-Wednesday!


"Louis" thanks you for visiting San Francisco Bay Daily Photo and for your comment of his Submarine Shot!

Petunia said...

Fantastic shots and you gave us a great tour:)
Thank you!

Petunia's ABC

Hanne Cecilie said...

So many beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing. Have a good ABC-Wednesday.

kewpi said...

Wonderful memories. I was there three years ago.

nancygrayce said...

You are quite the traveler! I'd love to travel more, maybe some day!

Powell River Books said...

You sure do get to travel. I love the shot of all the vegetables in the stall. The colors are so vibrant. And I'm a sucker for sunsets, and yours with those clouds is a great one. I invite you to come see my stump pictures. -- Margy

Lisa J said...

Greetings from Oklahoma: I just popped over to see your blog and MAN your pictures are awesome. Your knowledge of travel is as well. What a posting.

kRiZ cPEc said...

thanks for sharing, I have now visually been to Sicily, lol.

david mcmahon said...

Now I'm envious, Leslie. I've never been there and you've given me the impetus.

And what a great photograph to end the post with. Brilliant.

Ackworth Born said...

What a lovely account of a tour to somewhere I've never been. I enjoyed reading about it.

Andrea said...

Wow, you captured some beautiful views to share. Great "S" post.

Paulie said...

What a wonderful photo diary -- sorry about you being SICK too.

I am late in visiting as well as posting my S early evening Wednesday but I hope you will stop by if you see this.

Neva said...

What a great trip.
My S is here

And here

Dragonstar said...

Sicily looks fascinating. A beautiful place. I wish I could travel to all these places, but at least I can follow on-line.

DeeJay said...

Not an island that I have visited but it looks glorius

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Many thanks for the link. Stunning photos, as always.