Its been months since I’ve posted anything. Work is so busy these days, I barely have time to look up as I’m focused on building clientèle for a new sales position. But working so hard in the dead of winter and trying to stay warm in temperatures that had dropped below -30’C last week has me pining for the beaches of Sicily.
I still have some blogs and video to finish of our month in Sicily which was the crescendo to our return to reality. As the temperatures rose dramatically and the sea warmed up like bath water it was the perfect finish to spend a month lounging seaside on some of the most spectacular beaches we have ever been too. Wish I was there now!
One such place along the coast of Realmonte was Scala Dei Turchi (Stairs of the Turks) in southern Sicily, Italy. It’s a beautiful limestone formation of staircase shaped rocks that rise from the base of a lovely, albeit busy beach. The natural stairs loom over the crystal blue waters below making it the perfect place to sit and gaze outwards to the sea while contemplating life’s blessings.
Parking can be an issue here in the height of summer as is the case with most of Sicily and Italy for that matter. We found space at a large parking lot across the street from a view point and they provided a ride in a golf cart down to the entrance of the beach which was also the entrance to restaurant ‘Lido Scala dei Turchi’. It was hotter than Haiti’s as temperatures approached 40’C and the beach was crowded so we decided to take in the site first and then headed to the beach in Porto Empedocle where we spent the rest of the day lounging and swimming.
You can reach Scala dei Turchi by car from Agrigento heading towards Porto Empedocle. There is a parking lot in front of the Lido Baia dei Turchi or continue up to the top of the hill where we found a lot. If you are coming by public transport you can get here by train getting off at Agrigento Central Train Station, go to the bus station in Piazzale Rosselli and take the bus going to Realmonte. Once in Realmonte there is a shuttle service to Scala dei Turchi.
We had a lovely day at Scala dei Turchi and the beach at Empedocle taking in the spectacular views and warm waters. Watching our video (click on the photo/link at the top of the page) and the sounds of the beach takes me back, all I need to do is put on my Speedo, turn up the heat and close my eyes! Could someone get me a Peroni!
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.
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 ofTolmin, 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 Castlewe 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.
After a few days in Naples we were on the move again for our ‘rinse and repeat’ tour of Italy with the kids boarding another FrecciaRosa high speed train for a few days in Rome. This was our fourth time in the eternal city and we were just as excited to be backat our favorite city in the world, just like visiting an old familiar friend.
The day after Caserta we left our apartment in Naples and caught the train to Napoli Centrale (also confusingly referred to as Girabaldi), it’s central train station where we bought tickets for the Circumvesuviana line to Pompeii.
Back to getting caught up on my blog posts: so I last left off with Sandra and Vyse leaving us and heading for Paris while the kids had just joined us in Naples.
The next day we made a last-minute decision to hop on the train and head to Caserta to visit the Royal Palace. It was about an hour train ride out of Naples, a scenic, relatively quiet and relaxing journey. We had left a bit late in the day so we were on a rushed tour but in retrospect we would have planned to spend a whole day here as it was astounding!
On our last day in Vico we did a day trip into Sorrento for some sightseeing and shopping that was enjoyed by all. The weather was outstanding, we had lots of variety from walking through the beautiful grounds of a hotel/villa to sampling local foods and shopping for souvenirs. We were looking at Sorrento as a place to base ourselves for touring the Amalfi Coastbut picked Vico, it seems to be downplayed on sites like TripAdvisor but all of us really enjoyed it. We returned with the kids to Sorrento on our itinerary with them, we spent the day at a beach club and some sight seeing. They also really enjoyed spending the day in Sorrento. Here is a link to the Sorrento, photo gallery.
Next on our spreadsheet of plans was a driving tour of the Amalfi coast and Vyse was back at the helm navigating us along the tricky, twists and turns on one track roads hugging the cliffs of Amalfi. Our first stop was to the town of Ravello where we were blessed with the last parking spot in the lot closest to the town.