Sicily: Hotel Food

We travelled half board and had breakfast and dinner at the hotel.

Some reviewers on Tripadvisor were commenting about the frequent repetition of some dishes, but I cannot possibly see what`s wrong with that when there is so much choice, and everything is so delicious!

The breakfast bar includes all the usual item including a vegan counter, champagne (see that before, but you`d pay a small surcharge – here, it was free) and cake:

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Dinner was three different meat and two different fish dishes, two soups, five pasta (incl risotti) with additional oils with various flavours, two counters of salads with a huge selection of dressings, three of cooked antipasti (warm and cold), lots of bread, one couter with raw fruit, two with cakes and one with icre cream:

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Further full lunches, snacks and drinks were available at really reasonable prices at the pool, and we treated ourselves twice to their amazing house salad (EUR 6.oo), which came with five rolls and so was enough for two people.

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We like to go out for food when abroad, but actually, we didn`t (apart from the trip to Mount Etna, which included a lunch), apart from a few ice creams and a sandwich (which was easily beaten by the ones in the hotel!)

Really recommending Hotel Olimpo, of which there will be pictures of the lovely views and sceneries shortly…

Sicily Day 3: Mount Etna and Wine Tasting

If there was one excursion we were going to do, of course, it was going to be Mount Etna. The Trip was a mixture between a jeep tour and trekking, in a small group of 7. After discovering Mount Etna, we went wine tasting at Gambino Winery:

Mount Etna from Piazza in Taormina (Day 2):

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Discovering Mount Etna for ourselves – but I have to say, it was (comparatively) cold up there (at a height of 3000 metres):

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Wine Tasting in the most beautiful setting ever – of course, I don`t expect anyone to find these photos very informative, but the whole setting was so pretty, I have to share:

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One more drink at the pool before an early night:

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Sicily Day 2: Discovering Taormina

Taormina was a 20 min bus ride away from us. It was recommended that we go either before 11am or after 3pm, because in between, the half-hourly bus would be so full that it would just drive past.

I had read in advance that Taormina is a shopper`s dream or nightmare, and I must admit that I wanted to buy at least 10 dresses at dizzying prices (and therefore treated myself to just one, which fully consists of midnight blue lace). I still don`t know when to possibly wear this, but I`ll sure find an occasion for it! (as Truth of the Matter was once again: I found the Italian women incredibly well dressed, but on second thought, I had to admit that almost none of their outfits would be suitable for me to wear at home without getting weird looks, as in Britain, I would just stand out too much.)

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Me, posing on the piazza (from here, you could see Mount Etna, which I will show in my next post):

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Of course, the G7 Meeting had taken place here just 2 weeks prior to our arrival, and we still saw some of the remnants:

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Prettier things in other corners:

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A nice break in a wonderful beer garden, were “proper” seats were rare and nibbles complimentary:

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And no, no amphitheatre for us. But been told it`s worth it.

Sicily Day 1 : Discovering Letojanni

Letojanni is a small place, which we have chosen for the hotel, which was just magnificant. It was on a hill (you go down to Letojanni with an escalator), and the views are simply stunning from just about everywhere you are.

Letojanni itself is, to my liking, uneventful. A beach promenade with restaurant and some dark skinned men selling jewellery and colourful clothes, but if you want to go shopping or clubbing, you will need to take a bus (20 min!) to Taormina. This probably means that, even in the high season, Letojanni will not be too busy. You can do excursions to other places, there is a few places to drink, and the prices in the hotels were good and the environment pleasant. There were two bars (two sister hotels connected), so you had a choice (one had life entertainment which I didn`t always like!!).

I`m going to show you more pictures of the hotel, but today a first impression from our first walk through Letojanni.

View from our balcony (Hotel Olimpo):

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A first stroll through Letojanni:

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Memories from Crete

I can`t believe this holiday was more than 7 months ago (September last year) and I have still not posted any pictures of it. I wasn`t going to, for it was our third time to Agios Nikolaos, Crete. You kind of run out of things to photograph, but I have progressed since our last visit (in both equipment and composition of my photograph), and I have quite a few followers here, who are interested in travel pictures.

Our previous visits were always July, but last year, we went in September, when the weather was just about to turn – it was no longer as hot, but, apart from one shower of rain, still beautifully warm – we spent most of our time at the beach or pool (as said – third time!), no longer needing shade and swimming in the sea, and the other half still took a proper sunburn for not using sun lotion!

Our first walk round the place… bush rose petals being swirled around by the wind, and me against a white wall, once again scarily looking like my mum.

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This is where we went in the evenings, when the sun was gone, but when it was still too early to go out and enjoy the night life:

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And here`s the reason… When in Southern Europe, I`m forever photographing cats – and those ones were beautiful, glossy, and very well cared for. In Chania, on the other side of Crete, we met a couple from Birmingham who purposely took ham from the breakfast buffet and then went out looking for cats. The woman invited us along, but here`s my husband`s limits…

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A day out in Elounda – beautiful place, which I definitely recommend fitting in!

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Fisherman in Agios Nikolaos plus cat (who we actually saw bagging a head :-):

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… and we actually had a day of rain:

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Drinks by the pool… I never drink Campari Orange (or any other cocktails apart from Capirinha) at home, but abroad, I somehow fancy things like that…

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One beach pic – just one:

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This is where we spent most of our time, actually – relaxing, being warm, drinking chilled white wine and swimming in the sea…

(as ever, holiday booked with EasyJet Holidays. Good bargain at this time of year, and notably less busy, though still nice and lively…)

Edinburgh: A Sunday out in Town…

There was a Vintage Fair on the Grassmarket on Sunday, and we took the opportunity to go out and visit my beloved Edinburgh again. Sadly, I don`t have enough reasons to go there these days. The fair was nice, a good mixture of clothes and jewellery, bric-a-brack, vintage cars and bikes, performance and some (obviously not vintage!! :-)) food stalls.

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I took the opportunity to take out my “new” “velvet” coat in sea blue (courtsey of a friend who bought and never wore it) and bought a cute little red polka dot dress for a fiver. Dita von Teese, eat your heart out!! I bet ou wish you`d seen it first! And yes, I totally wore that to work!!

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The Royal Mile – that`s cobbled streat exactly one mile long that`s leading to the Castle…

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A gorgeous little coffee stall under a cherry tree opposite Waverley Station

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Lisbon Part V

We always pay a visit to Mercado Da Ribeira, one of the most amazing food markets I`ve ever been to. There`s flouwers and fresh fruit, veg and fish at the back, but most people come here to select some of the delicious bites and dishes from the exquisite international stalls or bars to eat them here and there, with free WiFi with no password being a wonderful intentive to stay on for an espresso and maybe a tiny little piece of cake, each being a piece of art.

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This was a special day and the first time we actually sat at the bar and had a cocktail. I had an Aperol Spritz which included about half a bottle of Prosecco just to myself, and my other half asked for “something with rum” and received something called “Winter Warmer” which was off the menu and raaather stroooong…

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Here we sat for quite a while, took our time, speaking about our life together and posting pictures on social media while slowly getting dizzy…

From here, we first went home to offload some of our stuff, as we`ve been for some shopping…

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And here, I managed to take my personal best pictures of the Ascensor da Bica, mainly due to lack of other people.

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Dinner was in one of our favourite restaurants in Alfama – no pictures. It was busy, and we didn`t want to hang about occupying a table, but Lisbon is not short of places to just go for a drink, so we finally got to try this beautiful wine bar, which was always looking rather nice to us, and where we stayed for quite a while… 🙂

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It was amazing how quiet and civilised this place was, given that almost everyone, who was there, was drinking. This would definitely not have been the case in Scotland!! Scots and alcohol are sooo loooud!!

On our way home we got approached by a man offering us stuff to smoke – a very common sight in Lisbon. They usually stand at Praça do Comércio guising as sunglasses salesmen, but once you`re looking, they open their jackets or hands and show you what else they`ve got… This guy here was rather annoying – he followed us into a side street even though we had already said “no”, and I actually had to become quite cheeky to get rid of them.

And when we walked up the Ascencor da Bica, a fab thing happened. It was 11p Monday night, and it was quiet, but one pub was still open, with a Pope, a witch and a minion standing in front of it laughing. One said Hi, we said Hi back, and the next moment, we were inside and some guy was swirling me around the dance floor. I hadn`t danced salsa in ages and surely gave it a go, and when I finally got a break, my husband was holding a glass of beer and wearing a yellow feather boa!

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At midnight, an international tune was heard and a whole carneval party of what was all locals (apart from us) was singing me Happy Birthday in Portuguese! The door closed, but we stayed till 1am when the beverages were definitely overwhelming me. As for the rest, I don`t think the party was quite over yet 🙂

The lady who is facing us here is important – she was the only one who spoke English, and she has an Air B&B flat in the area. She speaks English and invited us to Santo Antonio day on – 10 June!! That`s so soon!! And she`s gonna take us!!

In bed by half past one.

No photos of the Tuesday, when our plane home went at a very convenient 3pm. My birthday was spent tired, hungover, having discussions with 4 airport security about canned sardines, and definitely not fresh enough for another selfie.

Home at 7pm. Once again, three days away in this wonderful city felt so jam packed with good vibes!! I just love it so much! 🙂

Lisbon Part IV: Random Impressions

Another old door and some interesting graffiti. I need to finally write about Porto and the graffiti we found over there…

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More Tram no 28 – its so iconic, I just can`t stop photographing it. I`m forever waiting for my best shot ever…

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Got photobombed when I tried a selfie with it. Seeing that they celebrated Carnival (although nothing as big as at home!) totally put me in the mood, and I felt silly enough to just walk into a shop and walk this huge pink bow to walk about with (insert: what became of it now…)

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Chestnuts in the street and sardinhas in shops (NB: The ones which were confiscated have arrived yesterday!! Exactly two weeks after the airport post box was supposed to have been emptied, I was getting really concerned that it got lost!!)

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Arcades at the main promenades and a beautiful display in front of an Italian restaurant. Sardinha Road.

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Brazilian band playing at the beach.

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Funnily, they were already playing there when we last visited in November.  The weather was particularly lovely then, and the band so good we bought the CD. I`ve got it in my car and should get it out again tomorrow…

… for summer is just around the corner… lol…