Yesterday I took myself out on a perfect date in Hong Kong. After a nice quiet breakfast at Starbucks, I got on the MTR and made my way to the Causeway Bay train station, arriving and exiting the station at Exit F. My plan was to wonder and do some souvenir shopping at the popular Jardine’s Market and walk around in Hong Kong’s Times Square shopping mall.
Saturday was a great day of exploring as I started my first weekend of touring the island of Hong Kong. I made my second attempt at taking the Tram up to the Peak after skipping it on Thursdays national holiday when I saw the lineups that were over two hours long.
It’s only been a few days but I think I’m starting to fall for Hong Kong! It’s a truly international city, a major port, global financial center and the gateway to Asia. It’s a bustling, affluent city that provides many opportunities for a well-heeled crowd of international business professionals and company owners. Its dense population lives among the skies in one of the many amazing scrapers that fill the city landscape.
Last weekend we made a trip out to see my daughter and her boyfriend at their new home in Kamloops, British Columbia. It’s a city where the north and south Thompson rivers meet, about an 8-hour drive from Calgary and perfectly situated in south central BC. It’s about 3 hours from Vancouver, an hour from the Shuswap Lakes and an hour and a half from the Okanagan Valley.
Our stay in Milazzo was awesome and we were sad to leave but excited to be heading to the famed tourist area of Taormina, Sicily. We decided to stay in the nearby town of Pozzillo, tucked away from the tourist zones it is a picturesque fishing village surrounding a small harbor with stunning views of the coastline from Taormina to Catania.
After leaving Cefalu in the morning we drove along the coast to the northeast tip of Sicily for our stay in the city of Milazzo, Sicily. At first, we were a bit underwhelmed with the industrial look of the city and its busy commercial port but once we dug a little deeper we fell in love with this less notable Sicilian town. It is however known as a great base to explore the Aeolian Islands with daily cruises leaving from its downtown port everyday but there is so much more to be had here.
Good Morning Sicily! We awoke from our first night in Campofelice di Rocella and it was already getting hot early in the morning, we were having a spell of high 30’s/low 40’s but luckily our bedroom had air-conditioning or we would have melted. We couldn’t even leave the windows open at night because we were surrounded by orchards and all kinds of creepy crawlies that would try to make their way in despite having screens on some of the windows. Janet would spray the perimeters each night with insecticide and in the morning I’d have to sweep the carcasses away before she got up so she wouldn’t see what was trying to bunk down with us. If she saw the bodies she’d be screaming all the way to the nearest Hilton and that wouldn’t be good for our budget.
We spent an incredible month, actually 5 weeks slow traveling around the entire island of Sicily. We had a lot of time so it was a real luxury to be able to pace ourselves, to dig deep into the Sicilian culture, to see the whole island, to live like a local and truly experience a lot of what it had to offer.
Our Slovenian adventure had come to an end and now we were excited to start the last leg of our 10-month odyssey in the south of Italy on the island of Sicily. At the crack of dawn, we dropped dad off at the airport in Ljubljana for his journey home and continued towards Venice, Italy where we would return our rental car and board a 2 ½ Hr flight for Palermo, Sicily.
After returning from our adventure in Tolmin we took a day to relax and visit with family. Our hosts where the most incredibly hospitable folks and took such good care of us, typical of the Slovenian people we met throughout. Our last few days were spent visiting a few cities; Celje and Ljubljana between a day at the most beautiful national park, Logarska Dolina. (Don’t miss the video of our visit to Ljubljana’s Old Town at the bottom of this post)
We returned to Smeteoz after dropping the kids off at the airport in Venice, Italy and spent another 9 days with dad in Slovenia. Our next tour began with a journey to the beautiful town of Tolmin, Slovenia nestled in the Soca Valley at the confluence of the emerald blue waters from the Soca and Tolminka rivers. Tolmin is situated on the southern tip of the Julian Alps and very close to the Italian border, an idyllic Slovenian mountain town.
And so our Slovenian journey continued with the kids; After an amazing day visiting the Postojona Caves and Predjama Castle we returned to Ljubljana in the evening to pickup dad at the Airport. He arrived on time and was excited to see us all, looking forward to showing us the country where he was born. We returned to our apartment and made plans for the next week over a bottle or two of Slovenian wine and got caught up on what was happening back home.
Slovenia is but a dream now, we just arrived home and my plan to keep blogging in the moment didn’t work out as we had no Internet and were on the move everyday. It was actually a blessing in disquise as it allowed me to be more in the moment and savor everyday than looking through the lens of a blogger. The country is incredible, hospitality to the max, clean, green and beautiful and if you get a chance you should go. Here is how our time in Slovenia unfolded;
Leaving Palermo this morning we arrived in Gatwick, UK and are sitting in a pub called the Parson’s Pig reminiscing about our incredible 10 months abroad spanning over all four seasons. By plane, train, automobile and ferries we managed to slow travel through 10 countries, visiting over 183 cities, towns and villages while staying in 51 different accommodations (45 plus 6 housesits). Lord knows how many miles we logged but here are the countries we visited (mostly in order):
Catching up on blog posts from over a month ago…Slovenia and Sicily to come. Leaving Florence and arriving by train we were back in Venice with our kids. It was much warmer than when we last visited in February during Carnivale but no less crowded and already feeling a little overwhelmed with the mobs of tourists and heat surrounding the city.