Monday, February 19, 2007


Last night we went to Carnivale in Acireale. It was amazing! We had so much fun. Carnivale takes place up until Fat Tuesday, which is the night before the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday.

People were wall to wall, some dressed up in costumes, much like American Halloween, and tons of little kids running around, all dressed up. They were the ones you had to watch out for. I've never seen so much silly string and confetti in my entire life! There were also amazing floats. Some where made out of paper made out of paper mache, others were made out of flowers. Some had whimsical themes while others were political jabs. Here are some of the pictures from the evening.

Kathy & I with our new masks

Les & David looking for their next silly string victim...

Les, Kathy & David after a silly string attack!

George W. Bush - they were announcing something as this float went by, all I could understand was Americano...

Locked and loaded...

You should have seen the little kid when he was done with him...

Les & I at the end of an awesome evening...and yes, that is confetti on the road

Carnivale was so much fun, I can't wait to go again next year!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Siracusa and Ortygia

This past Sunday we took a trip to Siracusa and the island of Ortygia with our friends, David & Kathy. We had a blast! It was the perfect sightseeing day. Good company, good weather (for the most part) and no crowds! We weren't sure if it was the time of year or the threat of rain that kept everyone else home, but it was amazing.

Our first stop was the Basilica di San Giovanni. We had hoped to go to the catacombs there, but they were closed. Not much is left of the basilica, as you can see - just the outer walls. I was told it is the oldest Catholic church in Sicily. The catacombs are underneath what remains of the basilica.
Basilica di San Giovanni

Next, (after getting raviola & caffe') we visited the Santuario della Madonna Delle Lacrime. It was opened in 1994 and is by far the most modern church I've seen in Italy. We only stepped inside for a moment, mass was in progress so I only took a couple pictures of the exterior.

Santuario della Madonna Delle Lacrime

Our next stop was the Parco Archeologico della Neopolis. It is an archaeological park with all sorts of ruins. Very cool!

Teatro Greco

Cave with a waterfall behind the Teatro Greco

Orecchio di Dioniso (Ear of Dionysius)

Grotta dei Cordari (Rope-makers' Cave)

Necropoli dei Grotticelli (Hellenistic and Byzantine tombs)

Dandelions with the Anfiteatro Romano in the background

Anfiteatro Romano

After we explored the Parco Archeologico we headed to the island of Ortygia. It is connected by bridge to Siracusa. We parked near the ocean and climbed up to the top of the seawall. It was awesome to smell the ocean again. I've missed it.

View of the Ionion Sea and Siracusa from the Island of Ortygia

Tepio di Apollo

Fontana di Diana

As we were wandering around the inside of the Duomo I noticed several massive Doric columns. It was strange to see inside a Catholic cathedral. I pointed them out to my friend, and once we were outside we looked it up in her guidebook, and sure enough, those columns were the remains of a Greek Temple of Athena.

Duomo, built around the original 5th Century Greek Temple of Athena

After we saw the Duomo we found the Fontana Aretusa, a duck pond with an interesting mythological history, and nearby we visited the aquarium which had all sorts of fascinating fishies. We decided to head towards home after the aquarium. We ended the day with margaritas at the Applebees on base.

Once home, I resumed working on my final paper for class. I finished it Monday evening, and in doing so finished the first class in my MBA program! It was extremely challenging, but I'm looking forward to my next class, which luckily doesn't start for two more months. I will enjoy the break immensely.

Hopefully this next weekend we'll be out and about taking in more sights on this amazing island. Viva Sicilia!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


For those of you who have been wondering if I am still alive, the answer is YES! I've spent most of the last month cooped up in my office studying like crazy. Yes, that means I'm back in school - I've started working on my MBA online through University of Phoenix. It has been a challenge, but I'm just a little over a week from being done with my first class!

In between reading, writing, and trying to get my online "team" to work together Les & I have managed to get out a couple of times and see some sights.

I need to go back a little more than a month to start. The day after Christmas we finally went up to the town of Mineo. We can see Mineo from our upstairs hallway window at home. It is a little town perched up on a hill, like a lot of other Sicilian towns. On this particular visit I left my 18-55 lens at home and took my new 75-300 lens out for a test drive. Yep, my parents ROCK! It was an awesome Christmas present. So, needless to say, all of my pictures are big on the zoom.

Just a random donkey in the streets of Mineo...actually, we later found out that they were doing a live Nativity Scene later that evening.

A Traditional Sicilian Pony Cart

Detail of the painting on the pony cart

Throughout the late part of December and January we got a lot of rain. When the clouds finally lifted this is how the beautiful Mt. Etna looked. These were taken on January 4, 2007.

The view of Mt. Etna from the road to Catania

Another of Mt. Etna with Orange Trees in the foreground. The oranges, especially the blood oranges are awesome!

On January 20, 2007 we took a tour to Agrigento, my new favorite place in Sicily. Agrigento is home to five Greek Doric temples that overlook the Mediterranean. It was truly breathtaking to see structures or pieces of them still standing that are over 2000 years old!

Tiempo di Giunone

Tiempo di Giunone

Tiempo di Giunone

Almond Blossom with Tiempo di Giunone in the background

Tempio della Concordia - undergoing restoration, can't wait to see it without the scaffolding

A bit of the Tempio della Concordia that wasn't shrouded with scaffolding

That pretty much covers anything exciting that we have done in the last month. Hopefully in February we'll get out more!