United States Travel
- 2024 Breweries
- 2023 Breweries
- 2022 Breweries
- 2021 Breweries
- 2020 Breweries
- 2019 Breweries
- 2018 Breweries
- 2017 Breweries
- 2016 Breweries
- 2015 Breweries
- 2014 Breweries
- 2013 Breweries
- 2012 Breweries
- 2011 Breweries
- 2010 Breweries
- 2009 Breweries
- 2008 Breweries
- 2007 Breweries
- 2006 Breweries
- 2005 Breweries
- 2004 Breweries
- 2003 Breweries
- 2002 Breweries
11 April 2017
Erice - another hilltop/mountaintop fortress town. Erice, at nearly 2,500 ft above sea level, is above Trapani, at the Northwest point of Sicily. Photo of Hanna below stretching her calf muscles before the long hard climb to the top.
First photo below, above the Mediterranean Sea, great views - Hanna is amazed.
Refuge castle villa just below the top.
We still had time left on the parking meter and leftover pizza in the car, so we decided to have some lunch before heading to Palermo. Hanna doesn't appear to be impressed by cold pizza.
Our Palermo walkabout begins - Hanna especially like the palm trees that don't grow so much in Denver where she grew "old", I mean up.
Meridian laid out in Cathedral di Palermo. A tiny hole in the roof allows sunlight in at high noon and indicates on the floor graphics the time of year.
Hanna's birth month, February, Aquarius.
The ceiling frescoes.
A very cool fountain...Fontana Pretoria (circa 1573).
Gerri's favorite Greek God of Wine and Festivity, Dionysus.
10 April 2017
Our breakfast at the apartment the last morning in Agrigento. The owner came to our location and prepared it for us.
It's Monday, at the tire shop. Great service - they even had the exact replacement tire for the one which was destroyed.
A stop at Scala di Turchi - marble cliffs shaped by wind and water.
Then a stop at an old family run salt harvesting farm where drying marshes are used to extract sea salt directly from the Mediterranean.
Finally in Trapani itself.
All three of us enjoying the views...
Some kind of ancient navigation tool? Our guidebook had no help.
Gerri's attempt at artistic boat photos...
Gerri loves when there are zodiacal items...
Sunset in Trapani.
Definitely a pizza night tonight.
8 - 9 April 2017
Driving onto the next town - oh no, flat tire!
This wasn't just a little puncture wound, it was a full blow tire destruction. There appeared to be some sort of electrical component Gerri ran over in the road - a piece of electrical wire was hanging out of the hole from the object within.
Drove with the donut spare for about 50-60 miles to get into town. We ended up staying an extra night here to get an new tire installed on Monday.
A much needed wine after all that un-needed excitement.
The next morning we rode a bus out to some awesome Roman ruins - Valley of the Temples.
From the temple site, looking back at the "modern" city on the bluffs.
Gerri the tour guide...Hanna kind of listening, but just as much interested in the plight of ants.
This sculpture was a modern addition to add to the ambiance.
Agrigento goats - reintroduced to the grounds adjacent to the Temple. They lived here in antiquity, amongst the temples, but had faded away until being brought back.
Remains of an Atlas sculpture.
Hanna making mischief.
The "U"'s - big blocks had been lifted into place by the Romans upon the constructions using large rope slings - the U shaped indentations were on both sides of the blocks.
Wait...was today supposed to be a pizza or pasta night?
6 - 7 April 2017
After picking up Hanna at the Catania Airport around noon, we departed for Catania. We arrived there in time to eat dinner after checking into our abode, and go back to the abode for some rest.
Picture here is our first real Sicilian pizza - some good pizza.
The next morning checked out a morning market for some breakfast munchies and to see how the locals get their fresh food.
Then onto sites around Syracuse (Syracusa if you're Italian).
And then we walked out to the far end of the island part of town and checked out some preserved fortifications.
Sights around the fort.
Back towards the center of town - local sports fisherman. We watched a guy reel in a starfish.
A well deserved snack...or two...
Followed by a visit to Syracuse's Cathedral. As we learned time and again, Christian cathedrals were often built upon sites of previous Roman constructions. This particular Cathedral not only built itself upon a Roman site, but also incorporated much of the previous temple structure.
Continuing our narrated walking tour, we found ourselves at another Piazza (Plaza).
This fountain was just one block from our apartment.
Finally dinner time. Fried seafood appetizer. For the main, tonight is pasta since last night was pizza.
Finishing with a shot of limoncello...Hanna just took a little sip then passed the rest off to Gerri.
Tim enjoyed the walk back past a fishing boat marina.
Tim meet Tim - "TIM" is a communications company we see all over Italy.
5 April 2017
We arrived in Sicily (Catania, Italy) the night of the 4th of April. Hanna was to join us the same night, flying in from Spain, but, as happens, she had some travel issues. She'd overlooked bringing her passport along to the departing airport and had to return to "home", reschedule the flight, and catch a new one in the morning.
We had a bit of our own issues, arriving later than expected to the hotel. On arrival at Sigonella Naval Air Station, we had to sort out getting a cab from there to the commercial airport 16 km away, where our rental car awaited. The cab fare was 40 Euro, so we prowled around looking to share the fare with someone else and found a young couple going the same way. We ended up taking them to their hotel after getting our rental car. Finally we arrived at our hotel 90 minutes later than expected, but then had to sort out parking as the usual pay parking was closed by then. The hotel dude wasn't all too happy as their desk is not 24 hours. He'd tried to contact us earlier, but without email connection, and the phone card we bought the next day, he wasn't making contact. Anyway, we smoothed it over with him and checked in.
Picture below is us having our first Italian pizza - it's a bit underwhelming since we promised Hanna we'd wait till she joined us before having a real first pizza. So anyways, Hanna on her spring break from University in Granada Spain will travel with us for 6 days around Sicily.
4 - 5 April 2017
Back to Rota to try to catch a military hop to Sicily (Italy). On our overnight before tomorrow's attempted flight, we found a real local "watering trough". 12 different kinds of Vermouth; 0.80-2.00 Euro each for most of it.
They even had an assortment of Tapas plates.
That's all the pictures we managed to take before departure. We were able to make the hop the next day on the "Patriot Express" - a chartered large commercial jet flying to Sicily, and then onto points East. Free of charge.
Oh yeah, we heard one of Gerri's classmates from Michigan Tech - ROTC was coming on the flight into Rota with his family for a 9 day vacation in Spain-Portugal. We said hello to them for about an hour, they stayed, and we jumped on the plane as it continued to Sicily.
2 - 3 April 2017
Last stop in Portugal Vila Nova de Cacela, Portugal. A tavern owner in the last town directed us to this spot for its great views of the Atlantic Ocean - he didn't mentioned the neat flea market happening there.
Back to Spain! Land of the Tapas plates!
Stopping outside Huevla Spain, at the spot where two rivers merged, just before the Atlantic - this is where Christopher Columbus departed on his first voyage of discovery. The monument was erected in 1892, the 400th anniversary of the "discovery" of the America's.
Just beyond this bridge is where the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria weighed anchor and departed from left to right, on their way to what Columbus expected to be Asia accessed from the West.
A fast food version of tapas - what Tim terms "House of a Thousand Sandwiches" - not the real name, but this chain, all over the parts of Spain we travelled, has 100 different mini sandwiches to choose from.
And now in Seville Spain (the setting for the play "Barber of Seville").
In the middle of our walking tour (not our horse and carriage tour)....shout out to our nephew Troy Simpson for the I-Pad Gerri is using; he scored it in a crane game on a cruise with us a couple years ago.
The first time we've seen "flying buttresses" - structures that support tall walls of churches, that allow them to soar without being outrageously immensely massive at the bottom. Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral has the most recognizable examples of this design. This cathedral is Seville's Cathedral of St. Mary.
Bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Mary - largest Gothic church in the world.
Bird captured in flight...
Gerri's birthday dinner...tasty Tapas and Sangria.
The next day in Seville...inside the Cathedral of St. Mary's. An interesting feature is the side aisle ceilings being the same height of the inner aisle (the nave) - most old cathedrals we have visited have shorter side aisles - the flying buttresses allow this design.
Same cathedral, Christopher Columbus's tomb - the guide information said his remains may or may not be still within - secrets lost to antiquity or purposely obscured due to the shenanigans of those in power over the centuries.
Views from St. Mary's bell tower, near the top, Geraldi Bell Tower, 330 feet up. We wound up and up, round and round, along with hundreds of others, up the spiral steps.
Royal Alcazar. One of the residences of Spain's Royals, oldest Royal residence in Europe still in use.
Gardens of the Royal Alcazar - the locals are allowed free entry to enjoy it.
1 April 2017
Here is the river in front of our Tavira hotel, low tide (tidewater part of the river, close to the Atlantic).
The guidebook explained that these rooftops are a characteristic of this area - a result of the shortage of big timbers with the previous ravaging of their local forests in the time of their construction (17-18th century?).
Gerri walking ahead...
Modern day cross walk markings in the form of mosaic stone work of the past.
31 March 2017
Okay, back to the blog - as we write this, it is 25 April, "Father it has been 16 days since my last blog entry...". We've been busy, and but also experienced some marginal internet connections at many of our recent lodgings. Oh well, back at it here now in the best internet we've had, here in our modern Rome apartment (there's even Netflix, that's how good the internet is! - so that distracted us from blogging last night).
Photo below - leaving Lisbon today (1 April) - no April fooling.
And now in Evora, Portugal where we stayed a night. To the right, behind the women in the bench, on the wall, is a listing of recently deceased members of the town - we watched at least one townsperson catching up on the latest postings.
Roman aquecduct and reservoir remains.
The city of Evora appeared to have been working hard to revitalize their inner old town area to once again make it attractive to tourists (and probably more importantly their own natives).
Having our midday snack stop up in the high part of town with Roman ruins.
This monkey won't steal our stuff.
Receiving a wine tasting at a downtown tasting room associated with a restored winery outside of town (Ervideira Winery). The host spoke English well - the other woman was one week into the job, and was the French speaking specialist, but also spoke some English. The host was imminently well versed in all the wines. One of their wines is aged underwater in a cavern, in the bottle, and tended to by divers.
Queijada de Evora, a local pastry specialty (Tim: "I think I saw something move in there").
Evora's town coat of arms - a knight on a horse walking over two beheaded Moors - no further comment, it's just history on display.
Our lodging - Vitoria Stone Hotel - we don't always stay in places that look like this.