Monday, October 6, 2014


Our flight back to Switzerland would take off from Catania. Tired of too much moving, we decided to spend the last few days in complete relax. We found a nice spa on top of  Etna. "But no climb up" I said. Yeah... as soon as I called the hotel (Hotel Corsaro, our best stay for this holiday) the person I was talking to at the phone (Davide) told me "you guys have to go up, they just re-opened the central crater". Damn...
The central crater. Every now and then you could peak at the start of this 28 Km hole. Impressive, really.

But the stay was indeed quite relaxing. We left the hotel only for the hike. The hike was not tough at all. Actually most of it is with motorized vehicles, you first get up with a cable car and then with a truck(!). A real tiring hike would have made me appreciate the spa even more. Also, you get to leave only at 10:30. then you spend ages in the cable car queue. Finally you queue for the truck. The clouds go up much faster.

Entrance of the cable car: it felt like the old good times lining up for certificates in Italy.

That's it. Our holiday ended with half a day at Taormina (Frankly, not the highlight of this trip).

I, the wind and the South crater, the most active currently.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Eolian islands

All the seven islands at once. Can you spot Alicudi?
The second part of our Holiday in Sicily took us to the Eolian islands. One of our main reasons to  visit Sicily was to see the vulcanos. I vetoed visiting both Stromboli and Etna. I told Jasmin to choose one. Stromboli won. We decided to stay on Lipari, the most connected of the islands.

And another nice view from the Hotel Villa Diana

From there we visited Vulcano, Panarea and Stromboli. Visiting the islands it's easy, there is plenty of organized tours once you are there. Prices are all kind of the same, so there isn't really too much choice.

Jasmin playing with the phone on another crater (Vulcano island).

Stromboli was the island that we liked the most. Certainly the volcano helps. But maybe it's the hippy atmosphere that we appreciates. Oh and if you happen to visit the island you should not miss the gelateria Lapillo. The best ice cream of the entire holiday.

All we could see of the mighty Stromboli.

By the way, we could not climb up the Stromboli, to our disappointment, because of intense lava activity. Lava is pretty rare on Stromboli, so it's not unfair to say we were unlucky. But now Jasmin wasn't happy anymore, she wanted more of the volcano... and I had to lift my ban. Next stage: Etna.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

First time sicily. Starting from San Vito lo Capo

Our first stage of the long due Sicilian holiday is in the surrounding of San Vito lo Capo. We rented a car at Palermo airport for three days. We stayed at a place about 8 Km from San Vito called "Villa Verdasca", stunning view and good breakfast. Staying a bit away from San Vito had pros (cheaper) and cons (hard to find parking in San Vito), but the at the end the balance was positive, so I feel like recommending it.
the view from the Villa Verdasca B&B

The first day we went straight to the main beach of San Vito. This is one of the most popular beaches of Sicily. Take a look at some pictures and judge yourself. What you will probably not be shown in the pictures is the herds of people that you are likely to find there. We found a few square centimeters of space, but very little privacy (smoke, noise, etc are all there to annoy you). Also if somebody tells you that that beach is white, that somebody has probably not yet seen a white beach.

Annoyed by the high density of people we take the car and go to baia Santa Margerita (everything is Saint something, down there), a lovely sequence of 7 (I think) calette, some sandy, some rocky, some both. Few people, no infrastructure other than a small electric train that for the joy of the kids would save you the twenty minutes walking from the first to the last of the calette. This is what we were looking for.

The day after we went to the Riserva dello Zingaro. Fanstastic place, it deserves a visit. Basically you get to walk in the Park, up and down the rocky coast, and every now and then you have a gorgeous place for a bath.

We then moved to Palermo, left the car and stayed there for one day. The air in the street of Palermo was so bad (as in 'polluted') that I got my small asthma attack. The city offers some beautiful sightseeings (we did the classics, nothing off the beaten track), but ourside the touristy places it is in a quite bad shape. Palermo is a city ruled by cars and scooters (hence the air...). It reminded me of this movie, Johnny Stecchino, when Roberto Benigni is told that the problem of Palermo is the traffic...

In Palermo we had a bit of night life, but my best memory is the one of the Pizzeria Frida. It's super well rated on the web and it deserves is. The owner is so kind and professional. They offer this square pizza that is a bit different from italian classic pizza, but it's definitely worth trying. I loved it. +1 for Pizzeria Frida that made my Palermo stay so nice.

Oh, and of course in Palermo I totally feel like recommending the "B&B la terrazza sul centro". Great service, great view for breakfast!

The beautyful view from the roof toop of our B&B in Palermo.