Taormina, Sicily – bucket- list for sure!

A quick stop in Messina, en route to Taormina was had. My screenplay opens in this city on the 15th August so I just had to be in alignment with it. Being the Feast of the Assumption, town was closed and quiet but nonetheless, I wore white to pay my respects to the Virgin Mary. Continue reading

Scopello, Castelammare del Golfo and Palermo

Wow oh wow is all I can say about Castelammare del Golfo. This is a must. We got there early right before the crazy beach lovers on a Sunday morning. Parking was easy and we walked right down from the top of the town to the bottom where the action was. Views from the top were stunning. Walking back up there was this gorgeous park smack bang in the middle of the hilltop, seaside city.  We weren’t here for long but it was so worth a stop. Continue reading

Marsala to Trapani, Sicily

We drove from Agrigento for an hour for a quick stop in Marsala. Given Marsala is significant for well Marsala yes but Garibaldi and his redshirts, I just had to visit this place to pay him tribute as an Italian. Marsala also features in my screenplay so it just added to my Sicily research. Continue reading

Modica to Agrigento – Sicilia!

Choosing which places to visit was challenging as of course I wanted to go everywhere.  I can fortunately say I choose well as 9/10 places were fabulous. Sadly we left Ortigia, Siracusa and headed for Modica; famous for chocolate. OMG it was such a beautiful town, inland set on a hill. That day our car thermometer hit 40 degrees! Continue reading

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