Author Archives: pennyreynolds48

Sicily – without Boris

We took a cheap EasyJet flight to Sicily in April.  We stayed at Giardini Naxos, a small beach side resort near to Toarmina and about an hour from the airport.  The flight was an early one so we arrived before lunch.  Fortunately the hotel let us check in early and we went for a wander and some lunch.

After a siesta (well we were up to go to the airport at 2 in the morning) we had a walk along the promenade taking in the beautiful clear sea, and the many lava flows.

 

The following day was spent on the beach. The resort has a sun lounger area for which you pay per day costing us €12.00 for two sun loungers and an umbrella! It was a strange day for weather as it was sunny one minute and then you would feel a few rain drops and then sunny again. It is the first time that I can say that I have sunbathed in the rain.

Sunday morning we went for a stroll in the main part of the town behind the hotel, which spreads up a hill and found a small pathway alongside a very small stream that led down to another cove.  What a find! This place was heaven, with blue skies, crashing white waves, a cafe/restaurant with really friendly owners.  We had a coffee crema, a wonderful creamed iced coffee that you ate with a spoon.

We couldn’t stay all day as we had a trip orgainised for the afternoon, ‘the godfather tour’. It was very surreal travelling on a massive coach with only 8 of us going around the hairpin bends to the first village that was used for filming The Godfather in the 1970’s Forza d’Agro.  These little villages are set upon small hills that protrude up out of nowhere with shear drops all around, small houses, tiny roads and wonderful views.

Next stop was Savoca and the famous Bar Vitelli, it looks completely different now as there are vines and pergola’s growing around the forecourt. Inside there is a dedicated area to the film with many photographs of the original film.  We enjoyed a very nice Italian coffee and a small pastry with a type of pistachio cream inside.  It was delicious.

 

It was a really good trip and the guide who was 78 was extremely knowledgeable and amusing.  The weather was really hot and sunny, much hotter than I expected for the time of year.

Monday was a laze on the beach day and this time we went back to the little cafe that we had found and paid less to hire his sun loungers.  We spent all day soaking up the sun and of course having lunch on the restaurant terrace.

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The food at our hotel was excellant, it was in the typical Italian format of a salad bar or soup as a starter then a choice of two dishes, usually pasta or rice, then a choice of another two dishes, usually fish or meat and a desert. They certainly fed us well and the fish dishes were wonderful – I only wish we had known what we were eating so we could ask for it another day, somewhere else.

Breakfast was a typical continental type breakfast, our room was spotlessly clean and cleaned everyday and the staff were all really friendly and helpful.

Tuesday arrived and for us a very long day on an excursion to the Aeolian Islands and in particular Stromboli.  The coach picked us up for the two hour drive to the port of Milazzo.  The scenery was fantastic and you could see the mainland of the boot of Italy in the distance.  The boat was larger than I expected and contained many coach loads of people – my idea of hell – but it was the price I needed to pay to see Stromboli.

First stop was the island of Panarea.  This beautiful island full of little white cottages was bathed in sunlight and avoiding the designer brand shops (yes it is one of those kinds of islands) we headed around the island to Cala Junco, a natural swimming pool cove on the beach a 40 minute walk from the dock.

It was wonderful, we swam in the lovely warm water and burnt our feet on the sand!

Next stop Stromboli a place I have wanted to visit ‘for ever’.  It is still volcanically active and spurts out a jet of lava and ash approximately every 20 minutes.  All of the Aeolian islands are volcanic forming an island arc from the subduction of the African tectonic plate under the Eurasian plate. Stromboli is lived on and the active part is on the far side of the island.  We stopped at the dock and got off for our 2 hour visit, walking up the the village square.  As it was now 5 o’clock and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast it was time to find something to eat.  We were waved into a little pizzaria looking place that was a bit like a greasy spoon cafe from the front entrance, BUT it led up to an amazing balcony that overlooked the bay with stunning views.  We were originally going to have a pizza, but we spyed a wonderful looking seafood platter on the table next to us and in our usual English way pointed to it and said “we’ll have one of those”.  It was the most delicious fish I had ever tasted, the prawns tasted like they had just been caught a few minutes ago, the tuna steak cut like a hot knife through butter and melted in your mouth.

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Stromboli from Panarea with a small plume of ash

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After our delicious meal it was back on board the boat to travel around the island to the active part the Sciara del Fuoco. It was starting to get dark, the best time to see the volcanic spurts and we were lucky to see one just as we arrived, unfortunately the photograph doesn’t show up the bright orange jet of lava that could be seen from the naked eye.  The boat turned around for the people on the other side and so we only got to see this natural phenomenon once! Time to head back and we arrived back at the hotel at 1 o’clock in the morning absolutely exhausted.

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Wednesday we spent the day on the beach again, and in our little slice of heaven.

 

Marc had seen earlier in the week a dish that he liked the look of and so we looked at the pictures on the tablet they had on the main counter to find the one he wanted.  ‘Dad’ said it was a dish that was to order only but he was happy to get on his little scooter and go into town to the get the ingredients for us.  It was sea urchin, and he described it as the taste of the sea.  It was amazing and did just taste like the sea.  To look at it was just like a spaghetti bolagnase, afterwards we were given a complimentary lemoncello.

 

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a little coffee shop just outside the back entrance of the hotel and Marc decided to have a donut!!

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On our last day we had booked an excursion to go up Mount Etna, but unfortunately we received a call at 7.30 in the morning to say that they had to cancel.  On the mountain the weather had set in with hail, snow and rain and it wouldn’t be worth us going as the visibility was non-existant.  We could have booked for another day but being at the end of the holiday we had to cancel with a promise to ourselves to return next year and book it for the beginning of the week!

Our final day was spent wandering around the town in the rain not really knowing what to do with ourselves except eat.

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Though we did find this amusing…………….thinking it was a cash machine!

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We intend to return the same time next year and maybe bring our friends Harry and Cynthia, and Larissa and Andy and anyone else who wants to tag along.

 

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Mouse Cottage – Weymouth

A lovely CL discovered by my sister in law Bridget near to Weymouth.  Invited to travel with them in February half term 2018. The site is great, set on a large area, with grass and hardstandings, a stable next to the CL area, with horses in the fields and very small sheep! There is a shower block, with shower, toilet, washing machine and tumble dryer all free to use.

We went to Nothe Fort, on a very windy, cold but sunnyish day.  This is a facinating place to visit as it is a fort set into the cliff side with wonderful views across Weymouth and Portland Bill.  The Fort is full of military memorabilia and makes for an interesting day out.  Unfortunately I cannot find the photos I took, probably lost them along with my brain, except this one!

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Next day we went to the historic town of Dorchester and had a wander around, stumbling upon the Dippy the Dinasaur exhibition on loan from the British Museum in London.


Some pictures of the CL

Cirencester October 2017

Yes 2017!  I have been rather lapse with my blog, missing bits out and putting other bits in so now I have finished my assignment I am playing ‘catch up’.

We went to The Caravan and Motorhome Club site in October half term with my sister in law.  It is a really nice site with so much within easy reach. There is the town of Cirencester itself and the cotwolds on the doorstep.

First stop was Bourton on the Water a beautiful cotswold town and a trip down memory lane in the Motor Museum.

Next day we travelled into Swindon and after admiring the lego in the mall we headed to The Railway Museum.

Another fun short break.

Corfe August 2017

In my bid to play ‘catch up’ here are details of a short break we took in August of last year to Corfe.  We stayed at a site called Norden Farm within walking distance of Corfe at the invitation of friends of ours Rosie and Tony who were staying there for a month during the school holidays with their grandchildren. This is a truly massive site, but really good value considering it was the height of the season!

First day we had a wonder into Corfe with the dogs, there is a lovely path off the main road, where the dogs could run towards the castle.

I can’t remember having been to Corfe before and it is a very quaint village, with little front doors, and stone cottages.

The following day we walked back into Corfe with Rosie and Tony and their two grandchildren Lois and Dexter, stopping in the pub for a drink!

The next day Larissa came to visit for the day and what a day we had, packing a picnic and driving to Studland Beach.  This is a wonderful beach  and it was packed.  Tony and Rosie had driven down earlier with friends and Tony had gone to Poole to collect his boat.

I am not usually a beach person, but I really enjoyed myself, and the boat ride was fantastic, the views amazing.

Larissa needed to get home reasonably early due to work commitmants and so we set off before the others calling in a layby on the way back to have an ice cream and take in the views across the valley towards the beach we had just been on.

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The perfect end to a very good short break.  Are you going to be there this summer Rosie and Tony?

Tilly and the Buttons

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