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“Do tears not yet spilled wait in small lakes?”
― Pablo Neruda “Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.” ― Albert Schweitzer
“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.”
― Tennessee Williams “You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
― Sylvia Plath “The mountains are calling and I must go.”
― John Muir “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.”
― Wallace StevensI will love you as the doctor loves his sickest patient and a lake loves its thirstiest swimmer. ― Lemony Snicket I wandered lonely as a cloud…
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
― William Wordsworth
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
― Oscar Wilde “One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
― Stephen Hawking “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― Douglas Adams
This map outlines the route we took during our twenty days in Sicily. We started in Palermo, then traveled clockwise until we got back to Palermo.
The Island of Marettimo was the last stop of our trip. I saved it for the end, because you don’t want to spoil the rest of your trip by visiting the best place first. My love affair with this island goes back over a decade to when I visited in 2001. In my memory it was the perfect Mediterranean island pristine, untouched and ready for adventure. One bar, a couple of restaurants, and a few home stays for visitors. Once there, your options are a bit limited. You can go hiking, swimming, scuba diving, take a boat tour around the island, or go fishing if you are able to sweet talk a local. Most of all, visitors just come to experience a totally different type of living. One completely cut off from the noise and striving of the rest of the world. If you are an island snob, searching for that perfect essence of what makes an island a special place, then you will find it and none of the extra trappings that can get in the way of that special vibe.
We stayed at La Tartaruga Bed and Breakfast, which was perfect in every way.
The old Norman Castle can be seen above the city, even though it’s all the way on the northern tip of the island. Half way up the side of Mt. Falcone, among some Roman ruins, hikers can stop for a rest in this Byzantine church.
The largest of the Egadi Islands, Favignana was one of the highlights of our time in Sicily. You’ll have to excuse the lack of photos, but I was having fun doing other things. Biking around the island, snorkeling or swimming, scuba diving, and enjoying the vibrant town which has countless restaurants, cafes, bars, and bakeries to keep visitors from all over the world satiated. Of all the Egadi Islands, Favignana has the best beaches and is best equipped to handle foreign visitors. Somehow it does this while managing to not lose its charm and character.
Warm Mediterranean water, no litter, and a shallow white sandy bottom make Cala Rossa one of the best beaches in the world. “Sometimes, if you want to be happy, you’ve got to run away to Bath and marry a punk rocker. Sometimes you’ve got to dye your hair cobalt blue, or wander remote islands in Sicily…
― Julie Powell
On a small stretch of road between Marsala and Trapani are the remains of Sicily’s once booming salt industry. Now, due to global market forces undercutting their prices, Saline de Trapani is little more than a family business which provides salt to the slow food movement around Europe.
For centuries, salt farmers have maintained shallow marshes with gates that allow windmills to pump fresh seawater into each marsh where it is kept until the seawater evaporates, leaving behind the salt.
To be honest, Agrigento isn’t much more than a stop over on the way to western Sicily. However it does have the best Greek ruins in Sicily and a unique beach nearby. We stayed in a nice apartment here.
Famous for spaghetti sauce and chocolate, Ragusa and Modica are perhaps the best-preserved baroque towns in Sicily. We stopped in Modica for a quick lunch and to buy chocolate bars for friends back home. We stayed the night in Ragusa, where we explored its steep, pedestrian-only back streets. The place we stayed in Ragusa was just a short walk from the view just below.
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
Syracuse, or more specifically Ortygia, is a mini-peninsula connected to the mainland by three short bridges. It is the historic center of Syracuse and as such, is packed with the aging baroque apartments that once made up the largest city in the medieval world. Eventually, you have to give yourself over to the tangled web of narrow streets and just wander. No matter what, every street comes to an end at a Piazza or the sparkling azure sea.
Syracuse has some of Sicily’s top restaurants. Restaurants here tend to be a bit more international, and feature variations of Sicilian cuisine. Trattoria La Foglia has inventive food, perfect service, and a bohemian-chic style all its own. Le Vin de L’assassin Bistrot absolutely stole the show. You’ll need a reservation and the ability to read handwritten french on chalkboards to access the French-Sicilian fusion cuisine here.
We loved the small apartment we rented. It can be found here. The location couldn’t have been any better (next door to Le Vin de L’assassin).