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.

Vietnam revisited!

First trip to Vietnam, we so loved chaotic Hanoi and our junk boat overnight trip to Halong Bay. This visit I joined hubby’s golf trip to Da Nang. We stayed at the fabulous 5 star Pullman Danang Beach Resort, 15 mins from Danang airport. It’s set amongst lush vegetation and the most stunning white sandy beach. Service and food is fantastic. The buffet breakfast stations are amazing, let alone the various coffees you can order, and you must try their liquid nitrogen icecream and cocktails. I’m still dreaming about their food. Continue reading

Vamos a la playa!

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I was so excited to learn that the Beach House & Kiosk, a former cringeworthy café, not far from my Brooklyn hood, had been kissed by a frog and turned into a Princess. All credit of course goes to ex Elements café owners Scott and Nicola Barrett. These guys have a great rep and they’ve struck gold yet again.

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