We’ve been hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting (class 5), horseback riding, and hiking some more! We leisurely floated downriver, eaten gourmet meals and drank superb Chilean wines, taken in a cultural visit for the ladies to compare recipes and even played some traditional field hockey just as the locals have done for 100’s of years. My biggest thrill was the helicopter ride over an active volcano at sunset, how very civilized!
What a great place to call home for a few days, the activities offered at Hotel Llao Llao are incredible. We’ve kayaked the lake, biked to the lagoon, tried our hand at archery (target practice) all before taking a tango lesson.
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!
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!
At Feudo Principi di Butera we enjoyed a guided visit of the estate and cellar, followed by a light lunch with typical products of the area paired with 4 different wines. Continuing on to Noto we took a guided tour of the stunning baroque architecture.
We visited the well preserved Valle dei Templi with our guide and enjoyed a fantastic pasta dinner and sunset.
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.
Roma prime real estate – a top floor apartment here sells for 15 million euros.
Got our hands dirty and learned how to make pasta today!
Denell and Andrew are in Italy with a small group this month, stay tuned to follow their adventures.
“Amalfi is beautiful – just like in the movies and our hotel is right on the cliff seaside.”