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April 2007 - Sicily

Italy | Sicily | Agrigento | Valley of the Temples

April 29, 2007

Buon giorno, We had a big day today. Pam, Steve, Al and I left the marina around 8:15 and drove to Agrigento to visit The Valley of the Temples and the Regional Archaeological Museum. These Greek temples are actually on a ridge overlooking the valley. The setting is absolutely spectacular. They're Doric temples dating from 5th century BC. They were partially destroyed by the Cathaginians in 406 BC, Christians in 6th century and earthquakes. Nine of the original temples are still here. Temple of Zeus was the biggest and had giant figures known as telamones it it's construction. Temple of Concord is the most preserved similar to the ones we saw in Paestum. We had fun tromping over the grounds and we especially enjoyed the wide variety of wild flowers and flowering trees and bushes. In the summer I expect the grounds will be hot, dusty and brown.

Italy | Sicily| Selinute|The Acropolis |Temple of Hera

Italy | Sicily| Selinute| The Acropolis |Temple of Hera

After a visit to the museum we headed for Selinute (another archaeological site)and lunch. We had a particular villa in mind for lunch but after much difficulty found it after serving hours. The kitchen closed at 2 and we arrived at 2:15. We were turned away even though several tables had yet to be served. We finally found a sandwich at Selinute. We visited the temples there. Only two are partially standing. Temple E on the eastern hill has been partially rebuilt and for the first time we were allowed to walk on the inside of a temple. Being on the inside gave us a whole new perspective on how huge these temples are. This was the same temple we saw from the sea as we sailed down to Scaicca the other day.

We arrived back at the marina about 6:00 and made plans to go out for dinner. We found a quaint restaurant on a back street off of a piazza, thanks to Pam and her Michelin Green Book. Hostaria Del Vicolo was lovely and the service and food excellent. Everything we ordered was fabulous and the presentation delightful. But hands down Steve's meal was the best. I suppose he deserved it after the horrendous day he had driving. For our first plate Al and I had a warm insalate tomato, shrimp and calamari. Pam had a shrimp pasta but Steve had a marvelous pickled swordfish in salt and sugar. For our second plate Pam and I had a filet of veal and leeks. Al and Steve had risoto. Al's with shrimp and mushrooms and Steve's was slightly different (more spicy). Dessert... Pam and I had fantastic cannoli, Al had a chocolate pudding in orange sauce and Steve's was a very rich chocolate (brownie kind of thing) in a marvelous sauce. Even our espresso was fun as it was served in colorful cups with little lids. What a wonderful end to an exciting day! Today we woke to rain and wind from the wrong direction so we decided to lay low, buy supplies, and plan a big hop tomorrow to Syracuse. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily | Sciacca | view of harbor

Italy | Sicily | Sciacca

April 28, 2007

Buon giorno, We had a pleasant evening. We left Marsala about 7:30 and motor sailed to Sciacca, Sicily. (about 38 nm) Al was getting frustrated because no matter what direction we headed the wind was on the nose. Finally we just sailed off course and eventually ended up back on course. Without the wind we would have been pounding into 1.5-2 meter seas and going about 4.5 kts but with sails we could maintain 6.5-7.5 kts. It was a bit cooler on the sea today but that's what jackets are for. We arrived in Sciacca about 1:15. We moored down from Pam and Steve. They rented a car and went to Palermo today. After lunch we climbed the brightly tiled steps to the top of the city. The city is busy renovating it's historical buildings especially the churches. They've built beautiful piazzas and walkways overlooking the sea. There is a big fishing harbor next door with nearly 100 huge fishing trawlers. There is volcanic activity under the city and the ancient thermal springs and vapors have been used since Roman times. 1930's a bath house/spa was built to accommodate the Sicilians and tourists who come to "take the waters". It sprinkled for awhile but not enough to stop me from my swimsuit cockpit shower. It's so much easier than emptying the shower and then dealing with the moisture in the boat afterwards. As Al says, "Another day in paridise." Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily | Marsala | Porto Garibaldi | gateway to Old Town

Italy | Sicily | Marsala | Lilybeo Necropoli Romana

April 27, 2007

Buon giorno, We rocked in our anchorage all night. Light winds from the land and swells from sea. Just enough rocking to make it tiresome :-( We pulled anchor about 8:30 and motored 10 nm to Marsala, Sicily. The legendary landing of the Thousand on May 11, 1860 led by Garibaldi took place in Marsala. He came with 1,000 volunteers to liberate Sicily from the Bourbons and by the time they reached Messina the volunteers numbered 20,000. We're in the marina tonight so we're hoping for a good nights sleep. Lots to see in Marsala. We left our boat at 10:30 and didn't get back until 4:30. We walked the old part of town and had a pizza picnic in a lovely piazza. We had hoped to visit the archeological area and walked the entire perimeter before we discovered it was closed.We did visit the museum housing artifacts from Marsala. Recently a man dredging found an oar ship dating back to Phoenician/Roman Punic Wars. Marsala is also known for it's sweet wine but haven't tried any yet. We plan to catch up with Pam and Steve again tomorrow in Sciacca. We want to visit Archaeological Park of Selinunte (6 temples)and/or Segesta.(one temple). It's hard to believe we've only been cruising again for 23 days and we've seen and done so much! Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily | Isola Favignana

April 26, 2007

Buon giorno, We left about 10:15 for Isola Favignana, Sicily about 12 nm from Trapani. We had a nice sail NW 7. We put up main, mizzen, jib, and mizzen staysail. We were sailing 4.5 kts the whole way. We arrived in the anchorage (Pta Longa) about 1:00. Al and I decided to take the dinghy to shore and walk across the island to the village. It only took 15 minutes to reach the town and marina. Al almost bought a small freshly caught tuna from a fisherman. He negotiated the cleaning and settled on 5 Euro's. He reached for his wallet and realized he'd left it on the boat. He only had 2.50 in coins so no deal :-( The old tuna factory is being redeveloped as a multipurpose complex. The fisherman are going back to the old way of fishing tuna and are using the big anchors to hold their nets. At first we thought the town was an ugly cement city until we made the corner by the marina. Some cute restaurants, shops and hotels. Sig. Flario bought the island 150 years ago and made Favignana the center of tuna canning industry. Palazzo Florio and gardens above the harbor is in nice condition. We found several nice churches. The Fort of Santa Caterina sits on the highest point of the island and used to be an ancient Saracen warning station and later was a prison. We walked for a couple of hours then came back to grill some pork chops (no tuna tonight). Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily | Trapani | Cliff Castle

Italy | Sicily | Erice | village above Trapani

April 25, 2007

Buon giorno, We took off early with Pam and Steve to walk through Trapani, Sicily. Very little was open as it is a holiday today. They celebrate the 1945 Liberation. We thought they should give us our mooring for free. Trapani is a beautiful city pennisula so we had a view of the sea everywhere we walked. We bought some smoked tuna from a vender. He was a great salesman. He kept handing us samples to try. Who could resist after that?

We caught the 11:00 bus to the bottom of Mte S Guilano and then took the cable car up (2,480 ft) to the medieval village of Erice. The views overlooking Trapani, the countryside, and the sea were spectacular. We visited a Norman castle, the gardens and the Duomo. It was just fun exploring the narrow cobbled streets and alleys of the old town. In Greek times the village was known to mariners for its temple of Aphrodite (goddess for sailors) We stopped for a beer and later for lunch. We had an insalate di polpo (octopus) for our antipasta. Then I had cuscus di pesce a traditional favorite in Sicily and Al had spagetti with calamari and zucchini. Yum especially with a nice bottle of wine and great company (Pam and Steve). We couldn't get away without dessert so we shared a cannoli :-> We rode the cable car down again but then walked about 45 minutes back to the harbor. Time for a nap... Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

April 24, 2007

Buon giorno, Another beautiful day motoring along the Sicilian coast. We traveled through an area where the dolphins were feeding. We arrived in Trapani about 2:00. It's a busy commercial port but secure. We had a wonderful reunion with our friends Pam and Steve from Knoxville. We met them in Portugal last August and cruised the Balearas Islands and Sardinia with them last fall. We haven't been ashore yet too busy yakking. Tomorrow is a holiday. The Sicilians celebrate the 1945 Liberation Day. We plan to visit the city and maybe take the cable car up and visit the village of Erice. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily | Castellammare Del Golfo | Fishing nets drying in harbor

April 23, 2007

Buon giorno, We left our lovely anchorage about 8:30 this morning heading for Capo San Vito about 32 nm. We changed our minds about 11:15 and came to Castellammare Del Golfo. We anchored inside the harbor near the breakwall. They appear to be working on the marina and it was quite noisy when we arrived. The guide made it sound rather quaint which it was but nothing spectacular to go visit. I guess we're getting spoiled. Perhaps things are more lively on the weekend or in the summer. The harbor's pontoons are all empty and only fishing boats are moored along the walls. The old town has cobblestone winding streets and alleys that climb up about 1.5 miles quite steeply. We were walking along the top of the town looking for groceries and at one point we crossed a street that went straight down the hill to the harbor and there sat Artemis at anchor framed at the end of the street ;-> The workers had gone home when we arrived back at the boat so we have this lovely, now quiet, harbor all to ourselves. We plan to grill some Spada (swordfish) tonight. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily |Palermo| Arnella Marina anchorage

April 22, 2007

Buon giorno, We made coffee and had some breakfast. We left the yacht club about 8:00 and moved 1.7 nm to an anchorage outside of Arnella Marina. The couple who helped us at the Yacht Club from Milan told us about it as it's not in the Cruising guide. We put the dinghy in the water and went into town looking for a church. Well we ended up an hour and a half later back in Palermo at a neat old church, Saint Ignatius all'Olivella. We had a unique surprise during mass. At communion time the guitar vocalist sang Michael Joncas' Eagle's Wings in Italian. He did alter the melody a little to fit the Italian words but it was most definitly Joncas' work. After 11:30 mass the wind was blowing from the east and Al was worried about the boat so we high tailed it back. Artemis was fine and not much wind. We changed oil and transmission fluid. (that's always a job) Went exploring with the dinghy looking for somewhere that would take our used oil. We visited Marina Villa Igiea (our Milan friends said Artemis would cost 200 Euro's)so we didn't even try going there. The weather is suppose to be nice the next few days and the anchorage is protected for all but south winds. It was so warm and quiet we took cockpit showers. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al [top]

Italy | Sicily | Palermo

April 21, 2007

We are motoring/sailing 32 nm to Palermo, Sicily. By 11:00 we were beating into a gentle northwester while being pushed along by leftover meter and a half swells from the NE.(of course the forecast called for Force 4 from the NE) Oh well, it's the Mediterranean. We arrived in Palermo about 2:00 and pulled into the Yacht Club Marina. The manager said no room, You must leave in 4 hours. The boat next to us encouraged us to spend the night and leave early in the morning. So we went exploring.

Italy | Sicily | Palermo| San Domenico

Italy | Sicily | Palermo| Politeama Theater

Italy | Sicily | Palermo| La Mareorana

Italy | Sicily | Palermo| Cathedral Palarmo -Duomo

Italy | Sicily | Palermo| Basilica SS Trinita La Magione

Palermo is a magnificent city, we had no idea. The architecture is wonderful, ranging from Arabic to Norman, Baroque and Art Nouveau. We've been told by far it's the best in Sicily. We walked for hours gawking and snapping pictures. There was a huge celebration at the Duomo (Cathedral). The piazza was full and had big screens like they use at St. Peter's in Rome and the cathedral was full too. So we were unable to get inside but the exterior is magnificent. We walked to the portal of the city and Palazzo Reale. We visited Massamo's Theater and walked through fantastic open air market on Cappo. We were told to visit arestaurant in Piazza di San Francisco and it was a must to have mevza and a beer for 4 Euro. Mevza is a specially spiced, thin sliced, beef sandwich with ricotta type cheese spread on top. Yum. We plan to move about a mile away tomorrow and drop anchor outside of a small fishing harbor and then come back to see more of Palermo. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily | Cefalu | Old Harbor

April 20, 2007

Buon giorno, We got up early Fri. to explore Cefalu further. We walked along the shore and visited the old harbor and the gates to the city. The anchorage looks quite nice, too bad we were unable to stay there. There must be a church on every corner in Cefalu. We were only able to go inside the Duomo. We walked slightly out of town to a Conad grocery store as we found them to be the best priced in Nettuno. We stopped at a roadside vender for fruit and vegetables. The Sicilian tomatoes are "to die for". The ones we bought today were about 1.5 inch in diameter and you can bite into it like an apple. They are so firm and sweet. No wonder some people call a tomato a fruit. We stopped into a Sidis grocery store and found it to be much nicer than the Conad. Oh well it was a nice walk. The best find was a vender selling fish. We bought a fresh, large, tuna steak for 5 Euro's! We met a tourist group from USA and visited for a short while. People are always amazed that we are living this dream (as are we). It started to rain so we headed back to the boat.

La Rocca (The Rock) beckons but it was not to be in the rain. We found the Dutch boat that was anchored last night moored next to us. Evidently they had an uncomfortable night. Nice couple. We shared recently visited harbors, sites and cruising experiences. They've been in the med 3-4 years and are headed to the Canary Islands this fall. We had a "barbecue in Cefalu"! Our tuna steak was fabulous. We started to roll a bit in the harbor so the Dutch boat moved it's bow over a bit so our spreaders wouldn't hit. Today we washed the Sahara desert off our boat before we headed out. When it rains the boat gets covered in sandy splotches.

Italy | Sicily | Cefalu | town and La Roche on the left

Italy | Sicily | Cefalu | Artemis in Marina before it filled up

April 19, 2007

Buon giorno, We motored to Cefalu, Sicily today about 52 nm. It's about half way down the northern coast of Sicily. It was a quiet day and with lots of hot water I decided to do laundry. Some dampness in the air so it didn't all dry by the time we reached Cefalu. I hung a line inside to finish it as it started to sprinkle. A new weather forecast came in as we were arriving calling for Force 5 out of the east and rain so we decided to go into the harbor. The anchorage is meant for settled weather. We arrived about 3:00 and moored easily. The berth including water and electricity was 25 Euro's.

Italy | Sicily | Cefalu | Cefalu Cathedral ( Duomo)

Italy | Sicily | Cefalu | lovely town

We saw Mount Etna this morning but pretty hazy over Sicily so not a clear view. Dolphins were feeding near the boat around 7:30 AM. Lots of ship traffic heading for Straits of Messina. Cefalu is below a huge rock known as La Rocca - once a Temple of Diana (Artemis). We walked into town about a 15 minute walk past the lighthouse. We found another neat, old town with narrow, winding cobblestone streets. It was busy, with lots of shops, restaurants, churches and a fabulous Norman Duomo. It was meant to be the principal religious seat of Sicily but it never came to be. This magnificent building has an awesome mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in the apse.

We're seeing lots more flowering bushes and potted plants. It's definitely spring time. We found a bakery so fresh bread for dinner and a Tourist Info. Center so we know where to go tomorrow. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Isola Volcano| Rented 4 wheeler for the day

April 18, 2007

Buon giorno, We had a quiet night at anchor last night and we decided to stay another day here in Isola Vulcano. We rented a 4 wheeler for the day for 35 Euro and explored the island. It was great fun and fantastic views. We traveled a winding hairpin turn road down to Celso at the other end of the island and saw the lighthouse. The only way out was back up the winding road we had traveled down. We drove back to the town and checked on Artemis and our dinghy. All was fine.

Italy | Isola Volcano | active volcano

We stopped for a quick lunch, parked our 4 wheeler and then walked to the top of this active volcano. The climb up took much longer than coming down. I can't imagine how hot it must be climbing up in the summer. We were glad we were only carrying our cameras. Most people had huge backpacks, hiking clothes, jackets and walking sticks. Not necessary. The total hike took an hour and a half. The volcano continuously smokes giving off toxic gases. The yellow residue of sulfur given off by the gases was all along the side of the crater that is smoking. We can only imagine the tremendous amount of power it took to blow the rocks out of the crater.

Italy |Isola Volcano | Artemis at anchorage

Great views of Artemis sitting all alone in the bay. We drove by the sulfur mud pools. It smelled so bad you'd want to "puke" and people were in them!! We've heard it takes weeks to get the smell off your body. YUCK! We're sure glad we didn't sell the 4 HP engine. It's so much easier to put on and off the dinghy than the 15 hp and for short trips that's all we really need. The days are getting longer which makes it much more enjoyable. It's easier to get up and get going in the morning. The temperatures are mid 70's on land and 55-65 while cruising. We took showers in the cockpit today. We'll head for Cefalu (50 nm) tomorrow. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Isola Volcano

April 17, 2007

Buon giorno, We left Tropea at 8:30 this morning. We motor sailed the 46 miles to Isola Vulcano arriving about 5:00. This the southernmost island of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily. It's composed of extinct craters that first appeared in 183 BC and one active crater which is smoking as I write. There are bubbling mud pools and hot mineral springs bubbling up from the seabed. So people are in swimming. The anchorage smells like burnt matches but not too bad. It looks like a lunar landscape. This is our first anchorage of the season so we're hoping for a quiet night. We plan to head out early tomorrow for Cefalu, Sicily about 50 nm from here. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Tropea |

Italy | Tropea | Needed a rest climbing 200+ steps

April 15-16, 2007

Buon giorno, We are still in Tropea and plan to leave for Sicily or a nearby island, Isola Lipari tomorrow. We had a lovely day yesterday. We climbed the 200+ steps to the city early and scouted out churches. Mass at the cathedral wasn't until 11:30 so we had a couple of hours to explore the narrow streets, shops, and restaurants. We found a fantastic Panetteria and were tempted by the delicious looking pasteries. We settled on just two cream filled rolls :-> Everywhere we looked was another photo opportunity. Mass was delightful with a congregation that sang and a baby girl was baptized. Al questions how I can sing along. Well I simply sing the notes and skip most of the words. After mass we visited the Cathedral Museum. We had calizone and risoto balls filled with mozzerela, ragu, and spices. We found 6 of the 12 churches. We could only go in 3 as the others were boarded up. They are being protected from further damage but the statues and paintings have been removed to the museum.

Italy | Tropea |

Italy | Tropea |

The views were fantastic. We walked through a cemetary and then took the steps down to the sea. We had a nice walk back to the marina along the seashore. In all we spent a good four hours walking and when we arrived back at the marina there was a party in front of our boat. The 15 cruising boats that wintered in Tropea have a Sunday afternoon barbeque and we were invited to join in. Most of them were Germans, a couple of English boats and a Swedish boat. Lollo from Sweden would make like conducting music and say Oom-pah-pah when we talked as she felt the rhythm of our language was that of a polka. The fantastic part is they all spoke English so we had a nice time visiting and trading cruising stories.

Today we spent two hours getting a Costituto. We were lucky to have the help of lovely Francesca. She works for the marina and speaks excellent English. She went with us to the Port Captain and interpreted our situation to him. We went to the town again and visited a discount store for supplies. Walking back to the boat pulling our grocery cart we encountered a grocery truck that clogged the narrow winding road to the marina. He was lodged between the stone wall and guardrail on a hairpin turn. No one could pass not even someone on foot! So up the hill we had to go. Fortunately an Italian gentleman offered us a ride (10 minutes up and down hills). Thank God otherwise we may still be walking. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Tropea |Tropea harbor

April 13-14, 2007

Buon giorno, We were up early and pulling away from our berth in Maratea at 6:30. We had a long day ahead of us as our destination Tropea was 80 nm away. (about 13-14 hrs at 6 kts) It was another beautiful, sunny day but no wind. Beautiful ride down the coast line until 1530 and then we were reminded that today was Friday the thirteenth! The winds and seas began to pick up quickly. We had 30nm to go to way point and no where on this stretch of coastline to head for other than Vibo Valentina or Tropea. Vibo was more into the wind so we continued heading for Tropea. It reminded us of our trip leaving Lake Superior with winds on the nose, lots of water on the decks and in the cockpit. The winds eventually came more off the beam but lots of it. We had steady 30's with gusts to 43. We had about 25% of the jib out and I double reefed the main. The last 20 miles we put the jib away and motored with double reefed main. The seas built to 3-4 meters short and steep.

We arrived at Topea after dark about 9:00. We were a bit nervous as the cruising guide mentioned silting in the entrance with a normal depth of 5 meters. Well after our grounding experience in Camerota we weren't too sure as to what we would fine. The gas dock was just inside the entrance and a German couple was taking their cat for it's nightly walk, saw our lights coming in and were there waiting to help at the gas dock. They helped us find a mooring inside, along with another couple we had much needed help getting settled. The harbor was totally calm until we arrived and then the wind began to howl. Al took a nose dive over the life line but caught like an acrobat and swung back aboard. Amazing what one can do under stress. The keel was hung up on some mooring lines but we with help were able to push off and motor around for a second pass at the berth. It sure felt good to be safely tied and moored. Now for a beer but no we weren't to have peace yet.

The wind started blowing E off the headlands, pushing us against the boat next us. We put on a spring line so we could pull away. Finally about mid-night we took some Advil and climbed into bed. We slept/dozed until about 10:00. After breakfast we went up to check in and thanked our cruising friends for their help along the way. Both boats had wintered here and had only one storm inside the harbor all winter. Hmmm...the Pribyl's arrived!

We checked in 35 Euro's a night and we were asked for our Costiuto for the first time. This is a document we had heard about and had tried to obtain three different times. A non EU boat "must" carry one in Italy stating people on board, when entered Italy, and ports visited in Italy. We tried in Sardinia last fall, again in Nettuno, and lastly in Gaeta. Our friend Jayne in Gaeta had the Port Captain come and talk to us. He said we didn't need a Constiuto as Italy is not using them any more. So we have to wait here until Monday to see the Port Captain. We had heard some ports in Sicily have asked for it so we really do want to get one if at all possible.

Italy | Tropea | Walking back down the hill by road to the marina

Tropea is a beautiful, new facility,tastefully done,and friendly staff, with the old town 200 steps above. We were going up the road to the old town pulling our grocery cart when the girl in the marina office stopped and offered us a ride :-> What service! It was a good thing we had a ride as the markets would have been closed by the time we walked there. It started to rain so we headed back to the boat. Decided to go by road rather than trying to bring the grocery cart down all those stairs. We figure we can visit the town after church tomorrow. So for today we have showers, laundry facilities, and a boat that needs the salt water washed off of it. We can have internet here so we'll try some SKYPE. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Camerota | small fishing harbor

April 12, 2007

Buon giorno, Sunny and no wind. We want to sail and it looks like tomorrow we'll get a chance to. We left Agropoli around 8:30 heading for Camerota. Calm seas so we worked on a little tan. We arrived about 2:30 but the harbor entrance had silted in and we couldn't get inside so we headed for Maratea about 15 nm away. Our spirits were lifted as the dolphins came to play about 4:00. We enjoyed watching and taking pictures for about 45 minutes!! We arrived at Maratea about 5:30 and took on some diesel before berthing (1.17 Euro a liter). This is a nice little fishing village. The harbor backs up to the snow covered mountains (about 1500 meters). A statue of Christ with arms out stretched stands on a high peak over the harbor. People are friendly and a berth was more reasonable at 35 Euro. The winds are suppose to be from the west 15 so we are planning a longer run down to Tropea (79 nm)tomorrow. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

April 11, 2007

Buon giorno, Another glorious day in the Mediterranean. We left Amalfi about 9:30 after paying 90 Euro's for two nights. Sig. Esposito was very helpful and he gave us a local wine when we left. (No label) Once again no wind so we motored most of the four hours to Agropoli. We arrived at 1:30 and was motioned into a berth. (45 Euro). After getting situated we negotiated a ride to Paestum with the Dad who spoke English. He held up 4 fingers and Al said quattro? Si and he showed 4 fingers again.

Italy | Paestum |

Italy | Paestum |

Italy | Paestum |

Paestum was a real treat. There are three massive Doric (Greek)temples in excellent state of repair built in the 5th and 6th centuries, Temple of Hera I, Temple of Apollo(some say Neptune), and Temple of Athena. They've also excavated many buildings, roads, and walls. We've not seen anyruins as awesome as this! Our driver picked us as planned and took us to a mini market for a few supplies.

Italy | Agropoli | Agropoli harbor

When we got back Al paid him 5 Euro's as he felt it was worth it. Well he looked confused and his father stepped in and said, "No not 4 E 40 Euros quattrodici!!" Now we were confused. Al needed to go to the bank to get enough to pay him. Live and learn. In reality having made the trip it was worth 40 Euro's but we would have looked for a different way to get there first. We had showers on board and grilled pork chops for dinner. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Amalfi coast

April 10, 2007

Buon giorno, What an absolutely amazing place! We would recommend the Amalfi coast to anyone looking for picturesque Italy. Put it on you list of places you must visit someday. We took a bus ride up to the town of Ravello this morning. The 1 Euro bus ride itself was worth staying another night in Amalfi for. The narrow, winding road drops straight down to the sea. No room for big cars here! The driver is beeping his horn every few minutes and at any moment you expect the bus to scrape the walls of the cliff. Al was by the window and he said many times the rail was almost touching the bus and he was looking over 400 ft. down to the sea.

Italy | Ravello | many gardens

Italy | Ravello | gardens

Amalfi sits on the coast and Ravello is two thirds of the way up the mountain. We toured two villas and their enormous grounds. The gardens were already spectacular and the flowers and trees were not yet in full bloom. We were at Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. Everywhere we walked had fantastic views of the sea, the ravines, the hillsides... We had lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant overlooking a ravine that ran to the sea.

Italy | Ravello

The church in Ravello had a floor that slanted up as you approached the altar. We were told this was so as you approached the altar you became closer to God. The pulpit was ornately designed colorful marble on a pedestal of lions. This afternoon we wandered the winding streets and staircases of Amalfi. Some of the passageways are so narrow we couldn't walk side by side. Everything is so clean and no graffiti. Zillions of bright colorful shops. Many selling brightly painted ceramics much like Sorrento. We went into the cathedral off the main piazza and it's quite lovely. The cupolais colorful ceramic tiles.

Italy | Ravello | terraced hillsides to the sea

The hillsides are terraced for vineyards and citrus trees. Lots of the huge lemons (bigger than grapefruit)from which they make lemoncelo. We met a nice couple from Ottawa and a family of hikers from England. Later we met three Americans on a 50' sailboat called "Loose Change" because the owners last name is Nickels. We grilled beef ribs and simple enjoyed the evening aboard. As Al's dad, Grandpa Pribyl would say, "There's so much beauty here. You can't absorb it all!" Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

Italy | Isola d'Ischia | Porta di Casamicciola | Sally ready for Easter Mass

April 9, 2007

Buon giorno, We had a beautiful 5 hr. trip to Isola d'Ischia yesterday. The last two hours we had West winds 10-12 kts so we turned the engine off! It was sunny and warm. We arrived at Porta di Casamicciola around 4:00. 100 Euro's ($135)for one night! Yikes! We went to Easter mass at a cute little church by the marina. The music was lovely and the congregation sang. It felt more like home except for the Italian. Now that we can follow along during mass using our English missalettes we are understanding more of the words. This morning Al went up to the piazza and brought back fluffy croissants for breakfast.

We decided to leave for Amalfi about 8:30 and wrapped a mooring line around our prop. Fortunately we were along side another boat and I was able to get ashore to tie us back to the quay. I called for help on VHF and we put another mooring line on to hold us while Al freed the prop. What happened was they had given us a port mooring line which dropped free and the starboard mooring was actually two mooring lines tied together. We think one of those two lazy lines caught while dropping so when Al went in reverse it wrapped. The Amazing Sea Breathe to the rescue again. Al went below which was nerve wracking with all the ferries coming and going. After a good hour it was unwrapped. We were afraid we were going to have to cut it and the ormeggiatori kept say "No cut the line". So Al kept working at it, finally unlooped the one mooring line and unwrapped the other.

Italy | Amalfi | Amalfi harbor

We left for Amalfi about 10:30. What a gorgeous day sailing and motor sailing. The Amalfi coastline is spectacular from the sea. It must be amazing from the land! The towns are nestled in the gorges between the high land. Huge rock nncliffs drop to the sea. We arrived about 5:00 and Sig. Esposito helped us moor. Amalfi is at the bottom of gorge running down through steep cliffs. The Cathedral is built into the rocky hillside and has a ceramic cupola. We met a couple on 54' Amel from Venezuela, Daniel and Laura. Their boat flies a British flag. Great people we had a fun visit aboard. Now we see how the other side lives...washer, drier, dishwasher, two freezer, huge refrigerator, two heads, four sleeping areas... But bigger berthing fees, roller furling jib, stay sail, main and mizzen, and bow thrusters. We haven't even been ashore yet and we're in love with Amalfi. It is so picturesque and at night it is fabulous. We plan to stay another night. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

April 8, 2007

Buon giorno, Happy Easter. We left Gaeta about 11:00 today heading for Isola d'Ischia. It's sunny and quiet so we are motoring. We have a mooring reserved at Porta di Casamicciola thanks to Jayne Koehler our new American friend who called the marina for us. She's from near Green Bay, has lived in Italy over 22 years and speaks fluent Italian :->

Italy | Gaeta

We joined the Good Friday procession through town, which ended in a piazza where we lit candles and the cardinal gave a homily and prayer for peace. We hiked around Gaeta again yesterday. It is quite a picturesque place with the old medieval town high up on the promontory. We sure could get turned around on all the winding streets and stairways. Al had his first bad experience with the Italian boaters. He put his boat in reverse to come into the berth next to us and the guy helping on the dock said he was looking forward. He nearly rammed us (within 6 inches). Thankfully we were on board and I happened to see the boat coming in. Al was on hand to fend off and the marina personal pushed with his dinghy. Needless to say Al got pretty excited and I don't think the owner will forget any time soon. Al was all smiles once the boat was along side and we could hold it off while they moored. The guy from the marina mockingly wiped the sweat from his brow and shook his head. We enjoyed a quiet evening until we discovered both bilge pumps had quit working when we checked oil around 8:30. Five hours later Al gave up and we went to bed. We got up early and replaced the bilge pump and got the other one working finally. What a mess. Anything that could go wrong went wrong... Finally three hours later we had everything put back together but had missed 10:30 mass so we decided to head out and catch 6:30 mass tonight. We hope everyone has a blessed, happy Easter. We didn't see one Easter bunny over here so everyone eat an Easter egg and lots of chocolate for us! Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

April 3 - 6, 2007

Buon giorno, Our life raft finally arrived Wed. afternoon (470 Euro's to repack). We truly appreciated Claudio, Sylvia and Paride's help with both our dinghy and the life raft. All was not lost waiting as we had two fun evenings out with Don and Kathy while we waited for the raft. On Monday they took us to a fantastic Pizzeria about 15 minutes from Nettuno in Lavinio. We had great mussels and bruschetta for anti pasta. Then we ordered unbelievable pizza for 4.25 Euro's a pizza. It was oval shaped 20 inches by 14 inches and loaded with picante sausage, salami, mushrooms, cheese and tomato sauce. We've been eating leftovers for days.

Then on Tuesday we drove about an hour to Frascati, cute, picturesque town up in the hills outside of Rome. We had fantastic pepper steak in a typical Italian restaurant, lovely atmosphere.

Italy | Gaeta | Artemis in Gaeta harbor US warship Mount Whitney beyond

Cruising 2007 We left Nettuno early Thursday April 4, about 8:30 and had a beautiful motor sail down to Gaeta arriving about 6:00. We are moored on the end of the quay in full view of US warship Mount Whitney. We listened to taps as they lowered their flag last night. This morning Friday we went walking in the old town of Gaeta. We walked the promenade along the water front and visited the Campanile Duomo (cathedral). It has a fabulous unattached bell tower made of brick, stone, and a roof of colored ceramic tiles. We wandered up to the Aragonese castle that turned out to be an Italian Military Base so we couldn't get in. We walked lots of narrow passageways, winding steep stairways, and forested lanes up to the medieval village built on the promontory. We found a Park and walked through an ancient fort following the trials to the top of Monte Orlando. Here there was a Mosolum and spectacular views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountains.

Italy | Gaeta | View from Madonna Piazza overlooking harbor

Further down we came across a piazza with a 50 ft Madonna overlooking the city and harbor. We continued walking the park road and came upon the American Naval Base. We talked with a young soldier at the gate from Waterford, Michigan. When he found out we were cruisers, he asked if we had arrived on the "little blue boat" down at the marina. I guess we were noticed when we arrived last night flying our American flag. The view from the base had "little Artemis" just beyond the American war ship tied to the quay. Comparatively speaking I guess we are small. He was quite surprised that our "little boat" had sailed across the North Atlantic.

We eventually found our way back to Artemis for a very late lunch of cheese and fruit (2:30). After over 4 hours of walking and climbing we could barely move. I guess we're out of shape after the long winter break. Later we walked up to the town for a few supplies. Again we walked narrow winding passageways and tunnels through buildings. We found many fruit and vegetable stands, meat/cheese markets, bakeries all intermixed with cute little shops. Strawberries and Sicilian tomatoes was all Al was interested in. This would be a lovely place to winter over with plenty of things to do. We plan to move on tomorrow. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

April 2, 2007

Buon giorno, from Grandma Sally and Grandpa Al in Nettuno Italy. Yes, our first grandchild, Josie, was born around 7:25 A.M. (2:25 PM Italia) Saturday, March 31. She is 6 pounds 6 ounces and 19 inches of love. They get home from the hospital today and Patrick promised us a live SKYPE visit with our grand-daughter and pictures on our website. We can hardly wait to get home in May to hold and snuggle her!

Italy | Nettuno | Artemis and our new dingy

We had a much nicer week and weekend with only one day of rain on Friday. Al, Claudio, and Paride drove to Aprile on Wednesday and got our dinghy. Halleluiah! We went out with Don and Kathy for pizza to celebrate. They only charged us 40 Euro duty so we were exceptionally happy. All was well with the dinghy except for one broken oar paddle. This was not a problem as we still have the old oars from the one we lost off Cabo de Gato, Spain last September. We were able to find the same model AB dinghy we had lost, 350 cm.(one of the last two made back in 2000) MSI in Annapolis sold it to us for $900 plus $100 in shipping to Minnesota. It cost us another $200 to get it to Nettuno, Italy. I guess it was worth a bit of aggravation to get a $3000 dinghy for $1200! We took her for her maiden voyage on Thursday and she holds the waves and just flies. It's a much faster and safer ride than the "Prairie Chicken". (the 240 cm Zodiac inflatable we bought in Spain).

We are still in Nettuno as we are now waiting for our life raft which was suppose to come back on Friday. We've been told it'll come today, Monday and Claudio will come down to get it for us. We'll see...If it does we'll leave tomorrow the weather looks good. We went through our Cruising Guides with Don and Kathy and got some cruising tips. Yesterday we received olive branches instead of palms for Palm Sunday. Lots of people walking the marina front. It's definitely Spring. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

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