Let’s talk Sicily

Mt Etna erupting with Catania behind in 2001 - courtesy of photographer Carsten Peter

Mt Etna erupting with Catania behind in 2001 – courtesy of photographer Carsten Peter

What do you know about Sicily? Probably more than we do.

The furthest south we have ever been in Italy is the Amalfi Coast just south of Naples. But not this trip because this trip we are spending a week in Sicily – the island known for Mt Etna and the Cosa Nostra.

We fly into Catania which lies in the shadow of Mt Etna (which is still classified as an active volcano). From there we drive south for 2 hours to Noto where a villa and our friends Gill, Andre, Josh and Jordan are waiting.

We have a week to discover our corner of Sicily. What should we do? Where should we go? Make us an offer we can’t refuse.


One step closer to Italy

Holiday ShoesOver the weekend we took the first steps towards Italy. Our suitcases came out of the cupboard and we started to think about packing. For me that involved a lot of T-shirts and shorts and not much else.

For Jean it began closer to the ground. Darling, you’re packing how many pairs of shoes?


And then winter arrived


This gallery contains 2 photos.

After an incredibly mild start to winter we were brought back to reality as a southerly front straight from Antarctica arrived in Wellington. Think six degrees, biting wind, hail and driving rain. The only place for any sane person (or dog) … Continue reading

The calm of a winter morning

Watching DawnOur weekends usually start well after the sun has come up – but not last Saturday. Sister Tina has been staying with us for the last few days and she was catching a flight at 8:30am. This meant the house was awake early on a July winter morning which was windless and warm.

After farewelling Tina we enjoyed a coffee on the deck watching the dawn slowly arrive across the harbour.

Bella meets our bath

Bella in the bathLittle Bella has never really been fascinated with our bath – up until this evening when she jumped in. Luckily the bath was empty but even then she discovered that jumping in the bath is a lot less scary than jumping out.

So she sat there, and sat there, and sat there until she was finally rescued. But not before the obligatory photo had been taken.

Plans are afoot

Positano from Villa Greta's roof terrace

Positano from Villa Greta’s roof terrace

Our Italian holiday is less than a month away and we are in the final planning stages. Rome, Tuscany and Sicily are all places we will visit but our base will be Positano.

Ahhh, Positano.

We have booked Villa Greta for a week in August to coincide with the Festival of Our Lady of the Assumption on August 14th and 15th, which is one of Positano’s most important festivals. To quote the Positano.com website:

The festival both honors the town’s protector and commemorates the ancient legend of how a ship carrying a Byzantine icon of the virgin Mary was beached in the bay of Positano. Not until the sailors gave the icon to the local inhabitants were they able to set sail once more.

On August 14th, the celebrations begin with the so-called “Alazata del Quadro” (“The Lifting of the Painting”) in front of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta.  In the evening, a spectacular procession of illuminated boats heads to the “Mamma e Figlio” rocks by the beach of Fornillo before returning to the Spiaggia Grande beach and the Cathedral.

On August 15th, the festivities continue late into the night and conclude with a magnificent firework display over the sea, which lights up much of the Amalfi Coast.

We will be watching from the terrazzo of Eden Roc hotel – one of the best vantage points in Positano.