Catania to Marzamemi- Sicilia!

Hiring a car in Sicily just gives you freedom to explore, with GPS of course (even though it was painful at times many roads are under construction!). When you fly into Catania not all rental car booths are in the airport, so we took awhile to work out ours was a 10 minute walk, with luggage outside the terminal. Then we stood in line for awhile (it was chaotic), and were advised by a French dude we needed a number. Hubby inadvertently grabbed the wrong ticket without realising you had to choose the right rental car place, so we waited for another 30 minutes. He then was getting upsold/upgraded to a large car thinking it was the same price. Yeah right. Mrs CFO stepped in and said ‘please just give us what I booked. Small Fiat 500 is just perfect. So this palava cost us 2 precious hours of dicking around so our visit to Catania itself was off the cards. We just headed straight for Siracusa.

NB – from my Italian/kiwi Ferrari thinking hubby driver – drive the 130km speed limit. Do not sit in the overtaking lane. If you overtake, get back in. If cars are up your rear, get out of their way and let them pass. Then you have no problems. Drive like an Italian!

Staying on the Ortigia island was just the best but parking was a nightmare. NB do not stuff around with trying to pay for parking on this island in the height of summer. Low season the parking building or parking on blue lines will be fine (as long as you can find a parking machine). We wasted precious time and in the end opted for hotel valet parking which was so worth it and took the stress away, so we could explore this gorgeous place. Just look at my top two lines of photos to see the beauty. Enough said. It was drop dead gorgeous.

Our hotel Ortigia Suites was amazing with a rooftop terrace and the most amazing hotel breakfast I’ve ever eaten to date – cooked by Mamma and daughter, there was everything from fresh fruit, breads, tortas, bruschetta with various toppings, pastries, eggs and very good coffee. Just loved it. Our hotel room was a suite/apartment with a lovely foyer/kitchenette and free mini bar (non alcoholic), and so spacious and quiet. The staff were sensational.  Highly recommend.

As we’d had no lunch and ate cheese balls (instead of potato chips) – ugh, we were starving. Most restaurants don’t open until 7pm. We meandered down a laneway and found a lovely restaurant called Comu Na Vota. They were so accommodating and let us eat early. This earned them a tip. Our fried seafood platter and seafood risotto were delicious and they gave us a complimentary mandarin and lemon sorbetto to finish. Perfetto.

The next day our car was waiting at the end of the street and we headed for Marzamemi. Now this wasn’t originally part of my research and I was grateful to my fellow instagrammers for their pics as this quickly got added to our itinerary. I would just plug in the town/city name and just go with the GPS and it would take you near to the centre of the town. Italians, like the French are obsessed with the beach so we luckily we got there early and found an open serviced park.

As soon as I started exploring the town I was busy snapping away and it wasn’t until I got to the main square, I got why this place was so magical. It was just so full of colour and vibe with the bright pots and coloured chairs and wee streets and boutiques. It was still waking up so not much was open but it captured my heart and was so worth it.

Next week stay tuned for more of Sicily.

Bella Roma!

This is my 3rd visit to Rome and I’d have to say the best visit as having hubby in tow, just made it that much more special. Being older and not backpacking, and having money to enjoy food, wine and shopping helps, as well as having more of an appreciation for the architecture and beauty. Continue reading

First Emirates experience!

When we fly longhaul to the US or Europe, we’ve generally chosen Air New Zealand, premium economy or business (using our upgrades). However this time we thought we’d have a change up and try Emirates. I got us a great early bird business class special.  It was sensational and exceeded our expectations. Let me tell you why. Continue reading

Lido revamped!

Given Lido has just reopened post earthquake strengthening, they killed two birds with one stone and took the opportunity to do a beautiful soft refurb. The exterior front counter is covered in a gorgeous, pink copper metal and the walls are painted a peaceful turquoise with matching coloured booth seating in place. They’ve also had a change of ownership, so I thought it was worthy to write a new blog. Continue reading

Moss Cafe

Last year, my gym friend Rebecca told me about a café that catered for glutards and paleo followers.  I never caught the name of it and forgot about it. MossCaff is situated in the ASB centre in Hunter Street. I recently saw a post of a coconut latte from a fellow Instagram friend and boom, foodtraveller as enticed. Continue reading

Leuven Belgian Beer Cafe

Knowing my current penchant towards waffles, when trying a delicious cider here on a Friday night, outside under the heater, my colleague suggested we come back for waffles on my last day – boss’s shout! And so we did. I came with high expectations. Continue reading

Yoshi sushi and bento

Yoshi Sushi and Bento; say that fast three times and someone will think you’re speaking fluent Japanese! My foodie instagrammer friends and I, often influence each other about new places to frequent, and this one popped up on my feed.  As they highly recommended the chicken karaage as being a goodie, I couldn’t go past it, so headed to Press Hall to check it out. Continue reading

Capitol in the Capital!

I love this wee café/restaurant perfectly situated on the corner of Cambridge Terrace and Marjoribanks Street. It’s very Parisian and the people watching is out of this world.  Step inside with me. Continue reading

Local Brooklyn Indian restaurant

Recently I got my swagger on and headed to Swagat, the new local Indian restaurant in Brooklyn. I was joined by Emma, Marc and baby Penelope, who are big lovers of Indian food. Since it opened, I had been observing the clientele and all hours of the day it was frequented by Indian businessmen, friends and families, so that spoke volumes. Continue reading

Coffee and pizza

Raglan Roast Coffee’s mission is to “make coffee, that’s great, fast and affordable” – and boy are they en point! They started with an old coffee machine at the back of a kite surfing shop, 16 years ago. They have matured and now working with the best coffee brewing and grinding equipment, producing amazing tasting coffee. The secret? Roasting daily to ensure their coffee is in primo, fresh condition. They have 8 locations in New Zealand; 3 in Hamilton, 1 in Nelson and 4 in Welly. Continue reading