Ferry to Tunis, Tunisia – April 2, 2018 – Palermo, Italy

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By Tom Allin

Sometime in the last couple of months I was looking at a map of Sicily.  Eventually it came to my mind that Tunisia was only an inch a way from Sicily and Sicily was only two inches long so the distance between Sicily and Tunisia couldn’t be all that much.

Next my brilliant brain comes up with the idea that if Tunisia is close to Sicily there probably is a ferry between the two places.  I googled “ferries Italy Tunisia” and damn if there isn’t just one but more than one ferry making this trip.

I asked Nancy if she would like to visit Tunisia and her answer is, “Why not?”

So this evening about 10:00 pm we finally get in the correct line to exit Italy and drive on to the ferry.  Departure time is 2:00 am – appears to be a lot of waiting time built into check in time and departure time

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Our Drive to Salerno – May 4, 2018 – Maratea to Salerno, Italy

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By Tom Allin

We are headed to the famous Amalfi Coast and our first overnight stop will be Salerno.  But first we have an all day drive due to various stops we want to make between Marateaand Salerno.

As you will note in the photograph the weather wasn’t bright and sunny rather it was cloudy and we did encounter some rain.  However, it was another very good drive.

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Certosa di Padula; Part III – May 2, 2018 – Padula, Italy

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By Tom Allin

In our time in Italy we have seen a lot of choir seating, doors, and various sculptures that are ornately crafted and carved.  For some reason the woodwork in the Certosa di Padula caught my eye more than other places we visited.

The church door was created in 1374 out of Cedar of Lebanon.  It is decorated with scenes from the Annunciation of Mary, Saint Lorenzo and more.  The set of doors got a lot of use: prayers were said twice a day and once during the night.

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Certosa di Padula; Part II – May 2, 2018 – Padula, Italy

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By Tom Allin

As we entered each area of the cloister there was a detailed map and description of what you would see.  That was the good news.  The bad news is most of the time Nancy and I couldn’t understand where we were on the map.  But what the heck we enjoyed everything we saw.

The church has one nave with cross-altars.  We walked into the nave and our cameras started clicking.

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Pollino National Park – May 1, 2018 – Southwest Italy

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By Tom Allin

Our next stop is Maratea, Italy.  However, we are not going the most direct route but instead decided to drive east through Pollino National Park and then back west to Maratea.  Pollino is the first Italian National Park we are going to visit for some light hiking and hopefully a bird or two.

Pollino is Italy’s largest national park.  Being incredibly smart we knew we couldn’t explore it all in only a partial day visit so we decided to go to the top – Mt. Pollino and then look out to see as much park as possible.

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Tropea – April 28 – 31, 2018 – Tropea, Italy

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Due to our unexpected sight seeing tour around Mt. Etna this morning we arrived in Tropea after 8:00 pm.  Normally this wouldn’t have been a big issue but we had no room reservation.  Neither of us was for pitching the tent and using our sleeping bags.

I pulled over to the side of the road: (a) in front of us was a restaurant, (b) then a pedestrian only street, (c) then a one-way street coming at us, (d) people everywhere and (e) did I mention we had been on the road for ten hours and it was dark like in night dark.

Of course we were illegally parked.  However, unlike the U.S. no one honked at us.  Most likely they assumed it was an Italian driver driving the Texas licensed 4Runner and everyone knows Italians only park where it is illegal!

Long story short on our second try we found a great place to stay.  OK, it was on the second floor or three flights up and outside of the high side of our lodging budget but it is now 8:45 and we want a room.

The following morning after a great breakfast we went exploring.  The views were great but damn I forgot my binoculars.

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Mt. Etna – April 28, 2018 – Sicily, Italy

 

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By Tom Allin

Edmund knocked on our door early this morning to let us know they were off to the
airport and on to the Italian Adriatic Sea Coast. We weren’t up as early as these two
but I think we out of the hotel and on our way by 10:00 am.
Our plan was to drive along the coast to Messina, take the ferry to Villa San Giovanni,
and follow the coast north to Tropea. All went well for the first 45 minutes. Then
Google Maps told me to leave the highway which I thought strange but it has happen
before and sometimes with good results. I was a little slow in recognizing we are:
(a) no longer along the coast, (b) the road is only two lanes, and (c) Mt. Etna is no
longer on my left but more straight ahead.

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Archaeological Museum – April 27, 2018 – Syracuse, Sicily, Italy

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By Tom Allin

OK, we have done an archaeological park, a Roman villa with outstanding mosaics so
it only makes sense today to do an archaeological museum. It’s a short walk from
the hotel – like across the street and down no more than a block.

As we were paying for our tickets about 50 young students began their tour of the
ground floor. The lady issuing our tickets wisely suggested we go down to the
basement floor and take a look at the coins – let the students get ahead of us. Me, I
am not big on looking at coins – spending yes.

Anyway, we head down stairs. First thing I noticed was the vault door we had to
walk through and the second was the glass door is locked and we have to wait for
museum employee to unlock the door and let us in. Once inside it is very apparent
why the security – lots of gold and silver coins. Each case has a magnifying glass for
your use because some of these coins are very small. Small in these coins may be a
third of the size of our dime and maybe smaller.

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Villa Romana del Casale (Roman Country Villa) – April 26, 2016 – Sicily, Italy

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By Tom Allin

We got off to a relative early start this morning in spite of the typical Italian doubleparked car that almost had me hemmed in. With Edmund giving me directions I
backed out with an inch of open air on each side of the 4Runner.

It was a scenic two-hour drive to Villa Romana del Casale in central Sicily. The Villa
Romana del Casale is considered to contain the best in-situ Roman mosaics in the
world and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As some have already
deduced all you have to do is say Roman mosaics and Nancy and I are off to see them
no matter where they are located. The Roman mosaics are an art form I knew
nothing about until we began seeing them in Italy and the two of us immediately fell
in love with them.

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Evenings and Birthday in Syracuse – April 25 & 27, 2018 – Syracuse, Sicily, Italy

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By Tom Allin

Not all our time with Anna and Edmund was looking at old things. We spent three
evenings in Ortygia, which is the original settlement of Syracuse. Ortygia is located
on a small island to the south of Syracuse. We would take a five to seven minute taxi
rides each way and had what I tasted as very good meals.

Anna volunteered to introduce Nancy and me to several desserts and drinks –
sometimes in the late afternoon and others after dinner. I don’t remember the
names of the desserts but I do remember what they look like and have continued to
order when I see them in a pastry case.

Our drinks and the free bar food. This was at the small café shop next to the
entrance to our hotel.

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