Anne & Tom's Italy Adventure 2011 travel blog

Boarding the bus by the Palermo Postoffice

Goodby Palermp

Monreale's Cathedral

Vaulted ceiling

The huger organ

A different "Last Supper"

A famous rendition Christ

Much marble

An artistic view

Pointing out the detail

Outside

Bronze doors

The cloister

Shadows - after all photography means writing with light

Inlaid decoration on a pillar in the cloister

Carvings depicting historic events

Starbucks Coffee?

The cloister building

The fountain in the cloister

Mosaic

The kids were celebrating a holiday

Back inside the large bus

Modern bridges built with EU funds.

Hilly countryside

Sicily is the "breadbasket" of Italy and Europe

Just outside the winery

This is considered a "medium" sized winery. It looks huge to us.

Our guide is a manager at the winery

Such gigantic tanks

Bottling of the wine

They produce a lot of vino

This gives you a sense of the size of these tanks

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The aging process

Oak casks

Wine tasting

The array of wines produced

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They did not let us taste the whites

Only reds

Ted and Julie after he "popped the question"

"The Rocca" which we were encouraged to climb near Cefalu

Cefalu by the sea

The church

We had a snack that night

A shrimp cocktail

The church at night

Washday

Good drying

Our balcony is decorated with laundry

Our room in Cefalu

Cefalu

Cefalu with "The Rocca" in the distance. Some climbed it. Blisters prevented...

Exploring

A pottery shop

They did pick up the trash each day.

A lovely arch

Everybody was doing laundry

The Cefalu beach

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Another beach

Fish at a restaurant

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The public laundry - it's not used any more.

A young couple

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A ceramic sun

The church where the wedding was taking place

We saw a lot of weddings in Italy on this trip

The elegant wedding chariot

The sea below the restaurant we dined at that night

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Salute!

Appetizer

A family from our Rick Steves group

Anne is so beautiful!


Entry #14 May 31 and June 1, 2011

Tuesday morning we were up early on our way to Cefal├╣ where we would stay for 2 days. The bus left at 8AM and we all checked to see if our "buddy" was aboard. The buddy system works like this. Besides the person you are traveling with (Anne in Tom's case) you choose another person on the tour who becomes your buddy. When a buddy check is made, you make sure that your buddy is there before the bus leaves or a walk begins. With a 54 passenger bus (a bit of overkill for a tour of 24 people) this is essential to prevent anyone from getting lost. Antonio, our driver, wove through the crowded streets of Palermo and we followed the coast for about an hour. The first stop was in Monreale where Jackie (our local guide from yesterday) met us and conducted walking tour of this city and its Arab-flavored cathedral. It was an impressive church with a gigantic organ, bronze doors and very detailed marble work. The nearby cloister had ornate carved pillars and detailed inlays. One carving is the original that the Starbucks coffee mermaid is based on!

Around 11AM the bus left Monreale and we headed for lunch which was at a winery. A tour of this "moderate" sized establishment made us wonder what a large winery was like. The gigantic stainless steel tanks towered above us and appeared more like an oil refinery than a wine making establishment. The bottling process was a whirr of machinery with Quality Control (QC) monitoring like in any big factory. The cool aging warehouse was huge and the traditional wooden barrels reminded us of the Vino Project we did with our students in the Design of Experiments class at RIT.

Near the end of the lunch which was a multi-course extravaganza, the youngest couple (Ted and Julie) became engaged. Ted did the very romantic thing on his knee with an elegant speech and Julie joyfully accepted. This was a tear evoking event.

The drive to Cefal├╣ took another hour and we stopped just outside the town to get a view of it and the nearby rocky hill, "The Rocca" which we were encouraged to climb on our completely free day tomorrow. Tom still was wearing moleskin for the blisters he acquired from his poor fitting, stiff LL Bean hiking shoes, so we took that recommendation with a grain of salt. Our dinner consisted only of appetizers since the big, late lunch had stuffed us in the afternoon.

One of the things about traveling for a few weeks is the almost constant need to do laundry since the laundry batch size is limited to only a few pieces due to drying space. Our hotel in Cefalu was an exception to this since it has an outside balcony and lots of space to hang the laundry out to dry. So, Tom did a big laundry on Wednesday that we hope is the last on this trip!

We essentially wandered around the town taking in the sights, many of which were down narrow alleys. The ubiquitous ceramic sun seemed to be in all the tourist souvenir shops. We thought it was gaudy. We also discovered the ancient public laundry where Tom faked it (after all our laundry was drying on our balcony). We had lunch by the beach and got to see the bikini clad sun-lovers frolicking, but not too many in the frigid water. Later in the early evening, we went back to the church where a wedding was just getting over. A group of celebrators were arranging a circle of flowers for the bride and groom. An aptly decorated Mercedes convertible waited for them. Tom observed that the a good medical profession would be podiatry since the women seem to all wear very high heel shoes and will in time suffer foot disorders!

We had made a reservation at a seaside restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful meal on this June 1 day in Italy!

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