Bio

Veronica14

Ten years ago I visited Sicily for a wedding, and accidentally fell in love with one of the groom’s three hundred cousins.

I plucked up the courage to leave my family and friends in London, give up my job, sell my house, car and collection of seventies disco albums, and move to a fishing village in northern Sicily with a population of about two hundred people (several of whom do still have their own teeth).

Everyone, Sicilians included, keeps asking me how I could do it.

I really have no idea, so I started this blog to try to figure out the answer.

Occupation

Pretend Sicilian Housewife.

073 brightly coloured cover version 2

Location

A fishing village on the north coast of Sicily. We have two schools, one doctor, a post office full of marauding old people and dozens of fishermen who sell fresh fish on the beach.

They have my husband’s number on speed dial and phone him from the sea when they catch something he really likes. He waits for them on the beach (smacking his lips) when they come ashore.

The fishermen sometimes plonk outboard motors on the back of these but they also use the oars to sneak up silently - it depends which type of fish they are after. Fish have seasons, like fruit and veg, apparently.

Interests

Cooking pasta for 30 people at a time to impress my mother-in-law, aka The Godmother.

Putting laundry away QUICKLY before anyone realises I haven’t ironed it.

Avoiding sunburn by smothering myself in SPF 100 till I look like a Geisha.

Special Skill

Travelling around Sicily by car.

road_hole

 

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154 thoughts on “Bio

  1. trivia question: don’t know if u already explained this elsewhere in your blog (just stumbled so haven’t read through yet) : why did u have to sell the disco albums ? πŸ™‚

    with or without those albums…your story sounds very fascinating..and thanks for stopping by earlier on my blog

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    1. Ha ha!! The only reason I sold them was because my husband hated them. But I insited on keeping all the African music, nothing could make me part with that – and it has regularly been driving him nuts ever since! I am sure if I play it to him often enough, he’ll eventually learn to love it as I do πŸ™‚

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      1. Cool ! BTW I would love to have the life you are having (living in a an Italian village of pop 200 part, not the marrying an Italian lawyer part – my wife might not like that ;))

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  2. I would imagine the pingback already informed you, but I really enjoyed your post I just reblogged for a myriad of reasons – which is why I reblogged it! Thank you very much – hope its fine with you.

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    1. Thank you so much for nominating me!! I am so excited and really happy to know you enjoy my blog that much!
      I am preparing my replies and taking ages over it. It’s that philosopher quwestion, it’s set me off on a philosophic attack of navel gazing that I just can’t drag myself out of! But I think I’ll be ready soon….

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    1. Hello! Yes I do speak Italian, though I don’t write it very well. Most of my friends refuse to believe this until I send them an email, then they roll about laughing! πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for nominating me for the inspiring blogger award. I feel very flattered! I will start preparing my post with nominations soon…
      I liked your post. I do tend to get very dark in my creative writing sometimes like you, though I try always to include a messagre or lesson, or a positive note. Did you see my post about refugees in Sicily? That was an example of me getting very serious. Ranting, perhaps. My sense of humour tends to come through in everything so people sometimes don’t realise how passionately worked up I can get about things that are important to me!

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  3. LOVE that I stumbled upon your blog today!!! Your photos and stories are spot on.
    I am a first generation Sicilian American. My parents came to the States in the early 70s, they fell in love with the country and never went back. We’d always go back for a visit. BUT. My eldest sister, actually also in her early 40s, is now living in Sicily! She moved back to my parent’s home town in 2007. Like you, she fell in love with a Sicilian man while visiting family.
    Your blog made me laugh with such joy and reminds me of the conversations we have about Sicily.
    Great writing. πŸ™‚
    I’m following!

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  4. Hello! I loved your post about driving in Sicily, I visited Palermo and Sciacca and I do relate! I really like Sicily and I find it really interesting to see a foreigner’s impressions, as you seem to notice more quirks than we will ever be able to. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Since I have very quickly fallen in love with the way you write, I am hereby following you! And there’s nothing you can do about it. Well … there probably is, but please be kind.

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  6. I love the way you write! My partner is also Sicilian and comes from Mascali on the east coast. I first visited Sicily in 2010 and fell in love with the place. It is one of the main subjects of my own blog and I laugh so much when I read your blog because it reminds me of all the conversations I have had myself…keep writing! πŸ™‚

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  7. My dream is to visit Italy, it would be too much to even think about living there. My grandparents came from Bari, I live in a small town in the US called Barre, and just 1/4 of a mile from where all the Italians settled in town. I am drawn to Italy and for now will have to visit through your blog. I hope you don’t mind. πŸ™‚

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    1. ramnlinann – Barre MA? If so – hat’s where I grew up – I am sure we know each other. My mother’s family came from Oliveri, Sicily. Ha – we are probably related somehow πŸ™‚
      I am enjoying this blog too and we’re visiting Sicily in September.

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  8. Hey, I got given the Sunshine Award, and as you know, the point is to spread the sunshine and choose 10 bloggers to pass it on to … just letting you know, you’re one of my 10! Thanks for having such a wonderful blog, it lights up my day when a post appears in my reader πŸ™‚

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  9. Oh no, I thought you were ‘cured’? How awful. 😦 Are you back on treatment?

    BCA said in an email that they are taking new patients from May. I hope it’s true, their English was a bit patchy. I’ll be phoning them tomorrow to see what’s what.

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  10. Hi! I just came across your blog and it does seem very funny! πŸ™‚ I went on holiday to Sicily once, and really, between the driving (which I gave up after 5 minutes and let someone else do it), the police gawking at the beautiful women, a hotel trying to get to me stay in their room with “half a bed” whatever that was supposed to mean, and other amazing things, it sure was an experience. Otherwise, the food was amazing, the beaches so lovely, the people very lovely too. Oh yeah, Etna was kind of smokey, smelly and shaky then erupted one week after I was there. I will be reading more adventures through here! xx

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    1. Ha ha haaaa! The “half a bed” offer sounds intriguing!!! I wonder if they were offering to let you sleep in one half of the bed, whilst they slept in the other? that would be a fairly innovative pick-up line.
      I have to say I have my own staggering collection of maginificently wierd anecdotes gathered over the years of holidaying in Italy. Now that I live here and am in a routine, the wierdness level has plummeted, rather to my regret. Though sometimes I wonder if I have simply become as eccentric and bonkers as the Italians!
      I friend’s daughter went on a school trip to Etna a few weeks ago and there was a minor eruption going on actually while they were up there! The kids had small pebbles of solid yet incredibly hot lava raining down on their heads. Apparently they absolutely loved it (despite the stink like rotten eggs) and the teacher had a terrible job rounding them up when it was time to go home. My friend’s daughter brought home soemthing like 10 kilogrammes of multicoloured rocks.

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  11. I’ve just discovered your blog and I must tell you that it is simply stunning. I adore your photography and your writing is so vivid and insightful. What can I say I’m a fan.

    I have been blogging for about a year on Unwilling Expat about life in Sicily (http://unwillingexpat.wordpress.com/) and a little longer on Talking in Tongues about whatever I am doing, reading or listening to (http://rochelledelborrello.tumblr.com/).

    I thought I’d introduce myself and invite you to come over for a look at my blog since we are both writing about Sicily, but in our own distinct ways.

    Do you know of any other stunning Sicilian based blogs? I’m interested in getting to know anyone else in the neighborhood, as writing here in Sicily can be a little lonely.

    Thanks again for your beautiful blog!

    Rochelle

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    1. Thank you for your very kind comments – I am glad you like the blog!
      I have visited yours and liked them both.
      I’ll have to come back to you on other Sicilian expat bloggers! I have met lots of Sicilians abroad (mainly in America) through this blog, and a few “Desperate (Foreign) Housewives” like us on these hot and dusty shores, who send me hilarious messages but sadly don’t have blogs of their own.

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  12. Love love love this blog! Just found it… as a 2nd generation Sicilian American who’s actually visited Sicily I completely understand most of your references. Very enjoyable

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  13. Fascinated to find your blog!Although I’m also English living in Italy, I think Sicily is a world apart from Tuscany. Somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but I’m not sure I could live… look forward to reading more.

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    1. I do very frequently wish I lived in Tuscany, too!
      Sicily is fabulous for holidays and I would strongly recommend a visit, but you’re right, it’s hard to live here, especially for a foreigner.
      I’m glad you enjoy the blog. Have you found Pecora Nera’s blog? (He comments here a lot). He’s up nearer you, and I bet you’d enjoy his blog too.

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      1. Thanks for following me! I look forward to reading more of your blog and one day visiting Sicily. Yes I follow pecora nera’s blog and find it very amusing. I also love ‘the owl and the pulpit’ which is about Southern Italy, I don’t remember where… A mixture of art/architectural history and hilarious but horrifying stories about her Italian relatives…

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  14. I stumbled across your blog when I googled “fashion in sicily.” I wanted to see what kind of fashion is popular there. I am trying to buy gifts here in the US to bring them next week and after reading your blog, I figured out anything is better than the t-shirts with the random sayings! Thank you for the good laugh!! I absolutely love your writing. It brings me back 20 years when I was last there even at the age of 13. My family (Aunts/Uncles/Cousins) live in Bagheria and I will be visiting next week! Thank you and I look forward to reading so much more of your blog.

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    1. My experience is that Sicilians absolutely love gifts of coffee (extracted from exotic beans that maybe are not be so available there like coffees from Hawaii or Costa Rica or Jamaica). TJMaxx or similar carries great coffee at a reasonable price. Sicilians love nuts of all sorts especially those not so readily available there like California walnuts and Georgia pecans. They also love dried fruit. My cousins went wild for Michigan dried cherries. Costco is great for nuts and dried fruit. Also if you happen to think of it, buy a nice whiskey or cordial at the duty free shop before you get there. I bought some Grand Marinier in the Vucciria and am sure I could have saved good $$s by getting some at the duty free.

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      1. Great gift suggestions – food always goes down well with Sicilians.
        Some other gifts I’ve given that were really loved were butter shortbread biscuits (and other types of biscuit) and various herbs and spices that you cannot get here, particularly dill (you have to tell them to season fish with it or they don’t know how to use it!) and spice mixes for curry, which some of my friends use to make great risotto.
        Of course, nearly all the Sicilans I know would also be delighted to receive any garment with sequins on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  15. Hi – sorry to contact you this way but have lost details of my facebook account – are you on google + if so get in touch. Anyway just wanted to let you know have started watching the sicilian cop show Montalbano – no doubt you’ve seen it but if not then do cos its fab. Sarah

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  16. Just found your amazing blog! My grandparents were from Sicily – Dad’s side from Ragusa and mom’s from a couple of small towns within the province of Enna. They emigrated in the early 20th Century. I love the history, language, and culture. I hope to visit Sicily one day. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  17. Thanks! Unfortunately, it has been 100 years since they emigrated and I haven’t a clue as to the identity of my distant relatives. I have done genealogical research work and I have the home addresses, etc. of all 4 grandparents… So it would definitely be interesting to go. I’ve been to the UK on some extended holidays but didn’t have the chance to visit Sicily. One day, Deo volente…

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    1. Have you written to your grandparents? I bet they would be excited to hear from you!
      My sister has been researching our family ancestors and has spoken to a few relatives we had never heard of… all a lot of fun. She is hoping to go and visit them one day.

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  18. Hi Veronica,

    Very nice website!

    i have a friend (in Australia) who found your site with the photos of the beautiful Sicilian ceramic Moorish heads. He would like to purchase one as a gift for his wife but despite several hours or online searching he has been unable to find any online shops that seem to be selling them.

    I wonder if youwould you be able to offer any suggestions or advice of how he might be able to find a seller who would be willing to ship such an item to Australia?

    Many thanks in advance for any suggestions that you might be willing to provide.

    You can reach me at the address I provided on registration.

    Kind regards.

    Robert

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  19. Thanks Verionica! Yes, I did email the address on the page but it bounced immediately. Thanks for the link to the pottery with passion folks — I managed to find that one last night and sent it to him. It does indeed look like it might suit the bill. If you think of any more,would be greatly appreciative if you could pass them my way. Thanks once again for your help. All the best from Australia! Rob

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      1. I am Frank, from Spain. You were my English teacher in London about 20 years ago. My agenda reminded me of your bΓ­rthday and it was quite easy to find you in the Internet. Sorry for having posted very similar messages twice. I am afraid I do not have a lot of experience in blogs.

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      2. It’s so nice to hear from you!
        I know it is quite a palaver to comment on blogs first time around, so thank you for persisting. πŸ™‚
        What are you doing these days? I would love to chat more. If you click the facebook button “f like” (on my blog) then you can send me a private message on facebook. I would be very pleased to catch up with what you have been doing.

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  20. Hi I am really new here on the wordpress blog site. So much so that today is my very first day and your site is the very first I visited. So, may be that’s an honor or something. Your site caught my eye cause I am a huge fan of anything I even rank the Godfather series as my favorite. but I know that’s not you.
    Well, may be you will and I can be friends and chat some on Italy. I would like it very much. ciao.

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      1. Hi. It is so nice meeting you too. I am kind of excited in getting my first message back from someone. This is a neat new experience for me. So thank you for responding.
        I might but I have no idea what to write on. I suppose most every subject there is already has someone writing on it. So, I might not be that interesting. Lol! Any suggestions?
        Listen, thanks again for making my day and I will be back to visit again. Take care and love your blog too.

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      2. I think you’ll probably get sudden blog inspiration from looking at other people’s blogs.
        Lots of people write blogs based on their hobbies, like cooking or gardning or phography, where they can share their special knowledge or lovely photos (always popular on blogs). Personally I love blogs by people who live in foreign places and describe their local customs etc.
        I’ll be publishing some posts in January where I will pass on blog awards (when you get blog awards, you then pass them on to others) so there will be links to some really wonderful blogs which might inspire you!

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  21. Hello! I wish I had the gumption to up and move to Sicily like you did. I’m curious, are you fluent in the Sicilian/Calabrese sub-language? If so, aside from living within 80km of Palermo, how did you go about doing so? It’s such a radically different thing from ‘proper’ Tuscan, yet there exist few materials for learning it! Thank you for your time and please, keep blogging! πŸ˜‰

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    1. Hello!
      Glad you like the blog. Whereabout do you live? Are you in Italy currently?
      I have concentrated on learning Italian as everyone speaks that here, whereas people speak Sicilian to a greater or lesser extent, but not in official settings. Having said that, it’s impossible to live in Sicily without picking up some of the langauge, so I do understand a little bit. My son is currenly undergoing an intensive study course in Sicilian, by memorising the entire oeuvre of Pappa Pig in Sicilian on YouTube!!!
      I recently wrote an article for Times of Sicily which talks about the language and has links to sites and an association which offers Sicilian language courses. (In the commments there is a link to an American association too). Times of Sicily is for expats in Sicily, and if you’re interested in Sicily it is a fun and friendly place to start networking.
      http://www.timesofsicily.com/learn-sicilian-peppa-pig/

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      1. Grazie per la risposta!
        I’m just an American living in California with heritage via New York via Siracusa. I briefly visited Italy, but not mia cara isola, unfortunately.
        I had to peruse some .co.uk’s to discover Peppa Pig, but that (getting absorbed in some media instead of freaking out about compound verb tenses and suchlike) seems to be a great method of picking up the less tangible, aural/verbal side of a new language.
        I learned French at uni and was always told Italian is a pretty easy jump, but I’m a lot more interested in true Sicilian because of the minority language status and family history (I grew up around a bunch of ashamed Siracusani who wouldn’t speak it around or teach it to the young ones because 1) “You speak English in America” and 2) What they thought was Italian was Sicilian which led to embarrassment with “Northerners” during the westward migration from NYC.
        I’m definitely going to take a look at the Peppa Pig videos, and Prof. Cipolla’s book caught my attention! Grazie mille for the references.
        A piΓΉ tardi!

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  22. I took your advice and visited like a bazillion different blog sites. I would never have thought there could be so many. I even discovered a tag box where I could try and locate a subject to write about and it was covered with people already writing on that topic. Then I made a comment on one persons blog and they explained to me that I could use that box for almost anything. Like looking up a city or village and most likely someone’s writing about it too. It’s overwhelming all of the possibilities.

    Some of the subjects and conversations people were having. A young guy like me could get an education that public school couldn’t give. Lol! I mean everything is here. It’s like no limits and that’s somewhat over powering.
    So, I still don’t have an opening line or topic. But thank you for your advice. I have been trying to follow it best I can. I do appreciate your taking your time in order to help me get started. I hope that when I do get it going you will be there too to make more things happened. Ok?

    thanks again.
    James

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    1. Yes, entering “Blogoland” was an amazing eye opener for me. I have learned so much, not just reading other people’s blogs but from people who comment on mine.

      Remember you don’t have to think of a topic that nobody else has written about. I am sure that’s impossible anyway.
      I know a good few other expats in Sicily who write about living in Sicily and we enjoy each other’s blogs specifically because we write about the same subject. Whatever you write will be unique because of your own personal take on it.

      Please be sure to send me a message when you write your first post! πŸ™‚

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  23. Hello! what a great blog you have. Thank-you also for visiting mine. My wife and I have long thought of buying a small home in Sicily having had enough of the daily commuting grind around London. Perhaps an old townhouse in Cianciana or Alessandria della Rocca. My wife is from another Latin country and I am at home in the warmer climes of Malta or Egypt. Our attention was caught as I guess so many others by watching Inspector Montalbano.

    You and your blog are very much an inspiration and I’m going to greatly enjoy catching up with your posts.

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    1. If you do decide to go to Cianciana I can put you in touch with a lovely Irish woman who lives there and can warn you about every potential pitfall that might ever befall you! Sadly she has fallen into the whole lot of them herself!!!
      Cianciana is probably the most cosmopolitan town in Sicily. She says it is great fun living there.

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      1. Thanks so much. We are looking very closely at it whether now or in a years time. Really it is deciding what to do in the U.K. Do we “move” to Sicily or stay for a few months each year. Do we go for one bigger house or try and get 2 smaller ones and rent one out. We’re not looking at anything grand and would be doing it for the life-style rather than any money. Currently we live very close to London and in an idea world it would be 3 or 4 months in the country and 6-8 months in Sicily.

        With some of those €5,000 houses, I can only begin to imagine the setbacks along the way!!

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      2. I don’t recommend selling your house in the UK unless you are certain you will never ever want to go back, and you also have a very good pension which you can live on even if the euro/sterling exchange rate turns against you.

        I would rent it out but keep on the UK property ladder. I made the mistake of selling and deeply regret it. My ex house in London is now with three times the price I sold it for 10 years ago, whilst my Sicilians house has probably halved in value over the same time period. A house in Sicily is not an investment, it has to be regarded as a depreciating asset or at least a high risk one, like buying a car which halves in value the moment it rolls off the forecourt. I won’t get started on the issues with buildings insurance in Sicily. Basically, if there is a fire or earthquake, your asset is lost, no compensation.

        Buying property in Sicily to rent out for tourists is never going to be a profitable investment but it can give you a bit of income if you have a holiday home you don’t use all year round. Don’t even consider renting a property in Sicily out to full-time local tenants. The rental yield on a flat in England can be twn percent if you choose wisely but in Sicily you would be lucky to get 3%. And then you will pay half that in income tax and other taxes.

        I used to be a financial analyst BTW, can you tell?!! πŸ™‚

        Another BTW, I am starting a project soon with a Sicilian guy to set up a resource of online advice like this for foreigners interested in moving to SIcily or buying holiday homes. We aim to cover legal procedures for buying houses here etc etc. The process is nothing like the UK system and contains some potentially catastrophic pitfalls if you don’t know what you are doing.
        Once I get it ready the info will be on this site:
        http://www.timesofsicily.com/

        This article is by Bernadette, the contact I mentioned who bought a house in Cianciana, who gives you a little taste of the tribulations involved!
        http://www.timesofsicily.com/handful-pomegranate-seeds/

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  24. I’ve reactivated my account to follow your blog, I love it! i stumbled upon the old one when researching for my Sicilian language essay. Like you I fell inlove with the island and abandonded everything to spend two amazing summers there, and so I met my boyfriend!

    did you ever visit Balestrate per caso? a wonderful place in the summer!

    sinead x

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      1. I really reccommend it even for a nice evening away! there’s some great lidi on the beach and the Marina Holiday Hotel is wonderful for an aperativo or dinner in Da Cla restaurant! My boyfriend worked there for 2 years, 5 stars!
        xx

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  25. I found your blog via the ‘driving in Sicily’ debate. I found that the driving was no problem as long as I kept up with everyone else and disregarded any previously held belief that there were any rules of the road that had to be obeyed. That said, driving in Sicily was much better than Naples. I’m never driving there again. I was virtually pushed off the road by a granny doing about 90 on the hard shoulder. Well I assume it was a granny. I could see the top of her head but little else which I assume was a similar situation for her!

    We visited sicily last year, staying near Siracuse. We so enjoyed it we are coming back with a family party and staying near Scicli. There was some attraction to the area because of Inspector Montalbano and to be honest the only time we met any English travellers was in Ragusa and Scicli.

    I do have a question and as you are on the ground so to speak, do you know if the motorway between Siracuse and Gela has been completed? Just trying to organise transport etc.

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    1. Wow, they’re worse in Naples? thanks for the warning! I shall NEVER EVER drive there!!!!

      I am glad you enjoyed your trip to Sicily. I am planning to go to Syracuse this Spring, as I’ve never been there.
      As for the motorway, I am not sure if it is finished, but I will ask my Hubby as he usually knows these things. Watch this space – I’ll post the final answer here as another comment. πŸ™‚

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  26. I read your blog about and want to say that I found it to be just simply wonderful writing. Engaging, informative and funny. I really enjoyed what I’ve read. I am amazed at your courage to follow your heart and mind and live what most would see as an unimaginable adventure. Cheers to you.

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  27. Hi!
    I’ll repeat what many have already said, you are a truly remarkable person. In these days, your life path and decisions aren’t what is considered a cliche.
    Even if I’m from Serbia, Belgrade, I’m also very attached to Italy. I’m a professor of Italian language and literature. πŸ™‚
    Just planning a trip to Tuscany for late August. I hope that next year I’ll visit Sicily.
    It would be my pleasure to follow your posts.
    Have a nice day!

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  28. Just subscribed, but some time back read your hilarious post with pictures of the perils of driving in Sicily. We are spending 2 weeks in Sicily beginning the 19th of September, progressing from east to west, but spending the majority of the time in the Baroque southeastern area, planning to park “far from the madding crowds.” I am hoping that the irony in the majority of your posts has peppered the one on driving! It can’t be worse than Rome, (which we have survived twice), and will not even go within 100 km of Palermo with the car! Keep up the incredible entertaining work!!
    Jan Walcott
    Lake Bluff, IL 60044

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    1. I am sure you’ll have a fantastic time in Sicily and I am glad to hear I haven’t scared you off!
      You’re right, they seem far less lunatic on the Eastern side of Sicily. If you do end up driving over this way, I recommend having a stiff drink or three beforehand to steel your nerves with Dutch courage. It will help you acquire the right driving style to mingle with the locals. πŸ™‚

      Like

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