Zafferana Etnea’s Volcanic Past

Departing early we made our way to Zafferana Etnea to find our local mountain and naturalist guides. This town has frequently been rebuilt after the volcanic activity in the region and the latest threat was in 1992 when the volcano threatened to erupt yet again. We began our journey through this incredible landscape in the lava cave and continued up the 2500 meter cable car ride to reach the summit craters and the big caldera of Valle del Bove.

After lunch, we were lead to the scenic Monte Serra vineyard, nestled on the slope of an extinct volcanic crater located at about 500 mt (1,640 feet), a true landmark for the area. Back at the bottom of the vineyard, we headed into the traditional “palmento”, a spectacular lava stone vinification hall dating back to the 18th century, one of the best preserved on Etna. What an incredible day!

Siracusa Gastronomic Walking Tour

We started our evening with gastronomic and cultural discoveries as our guide walked us through the secrets of ancient Siracusa. We visited authentic family Tavernas hidden in little streets of Ortigia. This perfectly combined wine and food as we walked through the most breath-taking monuments of old city. Piazza San Rocco, Piazza Duomo, Santa Lucia church, Piazza San Giuseppe, Jewish district, Piazza Archimede and many more. We stopped for dishes from traditionally cooked fresh fish and typical Sicilian appetizers to unrepeatable homemade Sicilian pastries accompanied by fragrant Siracusa wine and liquors!

Cefalù

The streets of this ancient city are so narrow I can hold up the walls on both sides. This made it easier to defend the city as tanks were too large to drive in. The cathedral is the main gathering point and markets, restaurants and shops surround it. We stopped at one of these restaurants for Andrew’s daily treat!

We’ve been swimming in the Mediterranean, making new friends and enjoying great wine and cuisine, can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Day 11 – Disembarkation

We bid farewell to our crew and disembark the mighty Ioffe.

With some time to spare before heading to the airport we explored this town known for its ice-capped mountains and tundra valleys, home to caribou and Arctic foxes.  We learnt of the ancient Thule people and the lives of the Inuit.  What an incredible journey…..a trip we will always hold close to our hearts!

Day 10 – Baffin Island

Today we sail across the mouth of Frobisher Bay and hit the coast of Baffin Island.  Steep sided outcrop….we zodiac into the Charles Francis Hall Bay to try our luck sighting more polar bears and walrus. No such luck, however we did find these beautiful chunks of iceberg resting on the shore and floating through the bay.  Tonight we sail to Iqaluit where we will finish our sailing!