Goodbye Bonnie, Jim, Laura, John, Ruth, Joseph, Susan, David, Nina, Neil, Igor, Alex, Jeff, Tom, Karl, Bernd and Georg!!! See you hopefully soon and keep in touch!
The whole group arrived safe and sound in ESH hotel in Rome!!! Great job!!
We had our last supper - which was very funny
Yes and we had some awards.....
We met an international group of people in Catania, Sicily in the Hotel "Paradiso dell'Etna" directly on the bottom of the volcano to start the Sicily to Rome tour.
Canadians, Americans, Germans, Australians, Austrians mixed with an German-Italian Tourguide team - anything better possible??
We will be the first 5 days on the Sicilian Island. Rain stopped, weather forecast is good, bikes are ready - so let's go....
Last riding day of this wonderful tour, unfortunately! We left Pompeii under a cloudy sky but after a few miles the sky cleared up and we could enjoy a wonderful ride!
the "fast" group had a last picture stop high above Sperlonga....
... with a beautiful view over the Mediterranean Sea
John an Laura
Good group, quick decisions - 9 am ready to go at the bikes. That`s what we did.
Drove along the Amalfi coast, had fresh squeezed fruit juice, a little souvenir shopping in a ceramiche shop, lunch in Amalfi and we visited the Cathedral of San Andrea, stopped in Ravello and headed back over the mountain range of Monte Latari. Another big day. The weather could have been better - but a bad day riding is better than a good day working....
Cathedral of Amalfi
We left the dramatic coast of Basilicata and headed north along the SS18, high up above the coast direction Pompeii. 2 highlights today: Paestum and Pompeii.
We have a big day and a tight schedule. As it gets dark by 5.30 pm and we wanted to bring the group to famous Pompeii to a guided tour we have to be there at latest 2.30 p.m. We will see whether it works.
As you can see - we were not so lucky with the weather. We started in pouring rain.
First stop was at Paestum. Founded around the 7th century BC by the Greek and originally known as Poseidonia.
- 3 major temple in Doric style
- Ampitheatre, on Unesco World HeritageList
On september 9, 1943, Paestum was the location of the landing beaches of the U.S. 36th infantry division during the Allied invasion of Italy. German forces resisted the landings from the outset, causing heavy fighting within and around the town. Combat persisted around the town for nine days before the Germans withdrew to the north.
We planned a picnic - but the rain prevented a lot of work for Guido. We had delicous Antipasti at Caseificio Barlotti - on of the most famous Mozzarella producers of Campania.
Guess who found the place???? I bet you know by now, because he told you sooo often!
the old Roman town, buried under ash and mud during the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvio in 79 BC. The vast ruins provide a faschinating insight into how the ancient Romans lived, impressive temples, a forum, one of the lagest known Roman amphitheatres, luxurious houses with frescoes and mosaics, fast food shops and last not least a brothel
we were happy to see this special exhibition running only another 2 days
Antonella our guide did a good job
Mount Vesuvio in the background
Since Karl had already been in Pompeii, Domenico and him went together to Herculaneum, another town that was buried by mount Vesuvius during the same eruption of 79AD.
Two routes today, one group decided to follow the coastline of Calabria until Maratea and the other one took a detour through the inland of this region, with nice curvy roads and almost no traffic!
We are leaving Sicily today, crossing the Messina Strait by Ferry (the bridge is not finished yet) and riding up the Calabrian coast. Our destination today is Residence Tirreno in Tropea
that how it looks like if an Italian tourguide is trying to do a group picture
this picture is actually done with another camera
Italy we are coming....
after our "slow food" excess in "Tischi Toschi" downtown Taormina yesterday evening - the food was excellent the wine even better - everybody requested a "light lunch" maybe a sandwich....
that`s what we ended up with....
... Grotte Azzuro - the place to be in Scilla
John and the castle of Scilla
Jim and Bonnie
David and Sue high above the Calabrian coast
Mount Etna - the mountain of the mountains - 11.000 feet high, still active, snow in winter, one of the greatest vulcanos in Europe. In 1669 a disasterous eruption devastated parts of Catania, in 1910 a violent eruption created 23 additional craters, and 1917 the lava fountain reached 2.500 feet. The last 2001 blast swept away parts of the cable car and reached the Refugio Sapienza.
Coffe on the way up at Refugio Bruneck at Michele
Nina our Australian girl
which direction we gonna go???
Jim and Bonnie
the lower slopes are extremely fertile - dense groves of oranges, mandarins, lemons, olives, pears almonds and pistachios. The villages around the vulcano are well known for their culinary arts - pistachios of Bronte, honey of Zafferana, strawberries of Maletto.
Neil - both Neil and Nina went up to the top of Etna
the brothers - Alex and Igor
From its location on a rock plateau, Taormina looks out from its balcony over the sea to Mt. Etna. Many famous foreigner constructed villas in the city. Taormina became famous for international jet set.
Taormina by night
Baia Taormina - our beautiful hotel along the coast kept open for Edelweiss only!!!
Thanks a lot to the management and all the staff.
Today we are crossing the island again through the Nebrodi and Madonie mountains - the Sicilian Apennines. Cork oat trees, beech woods, wild olives, juniper, 150 species of birds - falcon, bussards, ravens, golden eagles, grey herons - and about 70 species of butterflies. The Monti Madonie, reaching 1.979 metres, include the highest elevations in Sicily Apart from Mount Etna
Wild, lonely, quiet - beautiful.
Targa Florio - a memory on the days when they raced on public streets
like real Italians on a sunday morning
Gangi, founded in the 14 th century is clinching to the hill, overlooking the Etna. You can buy a property in the old town for 1 € but you have to renovate the house within 3 years for at least 50.000 €. A local program to preserve the old town.
We got the key for the Norman castle of Sperlinga from Nino at the bar
curves, curves, curves
in the lava fields of mount Etna
there are also a lot of "lava trees"
Forza d'Agrò - the film set of " The Godfather"
We crossed the Island today through the mountains and the Mafia villages Prizzi and Corleone. The most notable recent event in Corleone was the arrest in 2006 of Bernardo Provenzano, "Boss of the Bosses", who had been hiding for more than 40 years. This gave rise to much celebration. "Liberation Day" on April 11 (the date Provenzano was captured) and naming a street "11 Aprile" shows just how much the arrest has affected Corleone.
Morning briefing at the Hotel in Agrigento
This picture is specially made for Tom`s wife
The Greek "Kephaloidion", a charming fishing village.
1131-1240 Cefalu Cathedral - gold coloured, a jewel of Romanesque architecture, built by the Norman King Roger II. The eye is immediately attracted by the fabulous mosaics with the figure of Christ gaying down from the apse.
what a beautiful little town. We went for a city walk with the group and we regretted not having more time to spend here. "The boys" skipped dinner in the hotel and enjoyed one of the restaurants at the harbour.
Sicily is full of history - and we have some "history freaks" on tour. So we tourguides have to keep up, which is sometimes challenging but also interesting.
the list of invaders in Sicily is looong: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Spaniards, Normans - erveryone introduced a different language, religion, culture, architecture and of course new kind of plants and food. That why Sicily is so different from the rest of Italy.
our first stop today is Villa Romana del Casale - a stunning Roman Villa - built by a Bill Gates of the 4th century, buried under mud in a 12th century flood, it remained hidden for 700 years before the magnificent floor was discovered in the 1950th.
3.500 sq of unique mosaics covering the floor of the Villa.
Not the hunting scenes, not the remarkable scenes of Odysseus made it famous....
... the bikini girls - a big surprise when this mosaic was discovered! By the way, 2006 the Bikini celebrated the 50th birthday
Agrigento - Valley of the Temples
a Unesco World Heritage Site. It incorporates a complex of temples and old city walls from the ancient Greek city of Akragas. the whloe area was surrounded by a 13 km long wall - safety against the enemies from the sea. 200.000 people lived there. In contrast to that - now - 52.000 inhabitants of Agrigento built the most ugliest skyscapers in whole Italy.
Hotel Colle Verde
the hotel has not only one of the nicest receptionist on tour, but also a terrace overlooking the temple area. The temples are illuminated at night - what an unreal scenery, you feel like beeing in Greece!