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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12 von 12 or: A Day in the Life

Once again, it is the 12th of the month, which is asking for 12 pictures of it for my blog, and once again, it`s not exactly the ordinary day the project is calling for:

Bang on midnight, our plane (return from holiday) was landing in Manchester. Passport control is now electronic and no queues whatsoever! Flying away from Manchester, I had quite a funny experience involving my passport, when the young lady who checked in my luggage asked for my visa, because I was not a British citizen. I said I do not need a visa, because I am still an EU citizen (if anything she will need a visa soon, but I didn`t say that!), but she was obviously very new to the job and therefore very conscientious, so she phoned a colleague and asked advice with regards to a traveller with a Dutch passport. We interrupted at least twice, but she kept saying it, so when she hang up, I asked what made her think, I was Dutch. So she showed me the bit on my passport, which said: “Nationality: Deutsch”. Oh Dear…

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While we are sharing an overpriced, sugary lemonade from a vending machine (which was sooo good as ice cold and much craved!), for the first time in history, our suitcase came rolling out first:

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Our bus to the car park already stood waiting outside, and half an hour later, we were on the road, driving over four hours into the light:

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Just before 5am, we arrived to greet our two beautiful cats – here the last of many photos we received of them on WhatsApp:

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and an exceptionally beautiful note from our two cat sitters, who left us lots of food they brought, including some home made apple cake and a lovely yoghurt dip, which will be consumed at work tomorrow, as a salad dressing:

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I love my friends! 🙂

Quick shower and hair wash, so I didn`t have to after getting up, and after only 2 more hours of sleep (managed to get about 1.5 hours in the car, which is a lot for me!!), I am afraid it was time to get ready for – WORK!!

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Don`t ask me what possessed me! Mobiles are banned, but here is a photo of my lunch which consisted of the aforementioned apple cake, the juiciest of apricots, which I only got the day before from tiny little shop selling absolutely everything in Sicily, and some salted sunflower seeds, which we also got in Sicily. Our chef managed to eat some together with cake icing and insisted that the sweet/salty combination was as alluring as salted caramel, but I think I`d rather die wondering…

After work, for an absolute beauty essential: Eye brow threading! Now that Leith Walk with its large Indian community is a bit out of my road, I go to the drug store. Glad this magnificant service is now so widely offered – not so many years ago, it was really only available in Indian beauty parlours.

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A quick visit to my favourite German discounter,

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neverending amusement about some of the headlines (bottom one!!!)

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I had to cook my own dinner again

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tidied away our luggage, and now I deserved some puter time 🙂

Till the next time! 🙂

Palliative Care Training

The other day, I had the privilege to attend a Palliative Care training course. I`m saying privilege because I did not really need it, but that is another story.

One thing that came out was semantics. Apparently, Palliative Care is now often paraphrased to make it sound less harsh – professionals may speak about ongoing care or supportive care or continuing care. This however can lead to the family being confused about what kind of care (and outcome for their loved one!!) they can expect.

I know an example from my own life, from when my father was sick. His Catholic faith was very important to him, so there were repeated visits from a priest, and he eventually agreed to receiving the 5th Sacrament. This used to be called “the Last Rites” but is now re-termed Krankensalbung, or “the sacrament for the sick”. Like the term itself and unlike the English equivalent, the German Wikipedia site makes no reference to this being a sacrament for the dying, and that `s what his wife very fiercely insisted on. She was still talking about Christmas and all the holidays he had promised her after the sacrament was given, and when the priest addressed this with her later, she did not allow him to ever come back. Doctors were equally coy about his prognosis, and although I could read between the lines, I wished they had used clearer words to help her accept it sooner, too.

Another thing that was brought up was the lack of communication between patient and family. Often, the patient says to the practitioner “I know that I`m dying, but I don `t want them to know.” And then the family comes and says “We know that he is dying, but we don `t want him to know,” or “we don `t want him to know that we know.” I think that`s so sad, as it probably leads to so many important things not being said. This short film about the topic made me cry.

On Looks and Love

Every time I, naturally as curly as my avatar, turn up anywhere with straight hair, there`s lots of comments because I look so different.

They are usually positive, but today, someone said she really prefers me curly. “Me, too,” I replied. “But my husband prefers them straight, and because I never do this at home, whenever I go to the hairdresser, that `s what I ask for.”

The other woman, an elderly colleague, just couldn`t get over how sweet this was. But is it? To every 8 weeks or so wear a hairstyle I don `t really like for a couple of days because it pleases him? It`s not like I permanently dye them blonde or lose weight or get a tattoo or do something else that is… permanent or drastic.

PS: He wore a kilt for our wedding, even though he first said he hasn`t worn one since he was 5 and would feel ridiculous in it now. This was my surprise, and the most lovely one of them all…

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…)

What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

“When Mike first meets Pat (in the first 10 seconds or at most 10 minutes after they first set eyes on each other) Mike`s Child senses exactly what Pat`s Child is up to.

Since the Parent is older and presumably wiser in some ways than his offspring, it is his duty and responsibility to control his Parental behaviour. Only if he brings his Parent under control of his Adult can he accomplish this.”

Eric Berne, What do You Say after You Say Hello