Sunday, December 30, 2012

Monterosso Almo, Ragusa

On the 26th, DH and I visited Monterosso Almo (Ragusa province) to see the Living Nativity.  Seems like the entire town gets involved.  You wander through quite a few streets looking at various displays of townpeople showing what life was like in the 1600-1800s (or there about) .... cobblers, rope-makers, broom-makers, pottery repair, stonemasons, bakers, cantina and a whole lot more ... ending up at a cave where the Holy Family with Magi and shepherds are placed.  Last year, the infant representing the Child was fussy when we visited the cave; "Mary" was having no success calming the child ... Mom ended up taking the child away and a statue was put in the crib. 
This year our group was one of the first to go through ... so DH and I explored while we waited for the bus to go back home again.  We wandered up to the upper part of town ... this is looking back down on the older section of town where the Nativity is being held.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday lights - Via Roma

Looking down Via Roma during the Santa Lucia festival ...
Santa Lucia is the patron saint for Belpasso.

Her feast-day is 13 December.
She is quite popular in Sicily. 
She is also Syracusa's (south-east corner of the island) patron saint.   Every year Sweden sends a girl to Syracusa to portray Sta. Lucia during the festival in Sta. Lucia's honor.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Unique nativity

Nativity set in a tire at one of Belpasso's annual displays

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Haven't seen this for quite some time ...

DH woke me up early this morning to go check out the balcony... it was snowing.. and sticking.

Monday, December 3, 2012

thinking outside the box

Someone had a good idea to paint the normally bland and boring TV antenna and give it some character.  Would have missed seeing this entirely if I hadn't climbed a staircase to look in a shop window while in Taormina.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


DH, a friend and I took a Sunday drive up to Taormina (on the eastern coast of Sicily about an hour and a half from our apt).  Wonderful little town ... a bit of a resort area. so there are frequently lots of tourists from cruise ships wandering around the town.  This is looking down one of the walking streets back through the old city wall which goes back at least to the early 1400's, and may be much older.    Taormina is famous for its marvelous Greek Amphitheatre ...but it was closed today.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dominick the Christmas Donkey

Just a funny song ... Brucoli is a small village well south of Belpasso.

This is not my video .. I found it on YouTube.

The YouTube link is


Sunday, September 30, 2012

spices at the market

Perfect timing ... I need to buy fresh spices for holiday baking!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Seen at Milo Wine Festival

At the Milo Wine Festival ... selling sweets out of your home ...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It REALLY does exist!!

Homer Simpson's legendary brew ...  a fine German brew (or so I am told)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall is here ... it's a rainy day

Il Catanese

DH and I saw this last weekend while at a local festival.  The puppet is known as "Il Catanese" and represents a citizen from Catania, Sicily,  The elephant is the symbol of the city and is a reminder of Hannabal crossing the Alps with his elephants.  The puppet is about two and a half feet tall from shoe soles to top of the feathers. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nice garden display ...

Saw this while out and about with DH on a drive ....
too much traffic to be able to stop for long.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

At the beach near Giardini-Naxos

Went to the beach two weekends ago with some Sicilian friends ... first time either DH or I have been to the beach in nearly four years.   The beach is lot different than the ones in San Diego ... lots of small rocks rather than sand.  Both DH and I are going to get water shoes before we go again.
I'll need to put on sunscreen as well ... ended up with a second-degree burn.... lots of small blisters.  Oh well ... so life goes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Buying figs in Belpasso

We passed this vendor on the way to work -- haven't seen him before two weeks ago.  Most local vendors set up near the top of town or on the main road coming down from the top.  Others drive through town either in the morning or evening with small (very small) trucks and loud speakers letting people know what is being offered.  This one is closer to the bottom of Belpasso.

The figs were pretty great!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let's see what looks good....

Checking out the offerings of a new produce vendor we saw.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weeding the roof

Lots of ripe prickly pears (fruit of the beavertail cactus) round.... birds eat the fruit and leave some of the seeds in our rain gutters (which are filled with volcanic ash and dirt).  DH was able to remove some of the cacti ... but not all. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pretty car!

 ... bet there are lots of horses in this one.

Monday, July 30, 2012

More on the eyelashes ...

Another photo of the eyelashes ...

Cute eyelashes!

Seen at the mechanic's lot ...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coffee makers in cars ???

Fiat plans to add in-car espresso makers to its new 500L cars.... only the European editions though. 

I have to wonder about the logic behind the idea ... haven't driven much in the rest of Europe, but here in Sicily drivers have enough distractions without adding in this.  Granted, the announcement said that the espresso maker would only work when the car was stopped .... that's just a challenge for some one to figure out a way  around it.

Here is the link for more information:

My Scenic is a goner!

The after-math of a rainy night and wash-outs on a narrow road. 
 Mechanic told my husband it will cost more to fix
than to buy a different car. 
 Farewell my little Renault Scenic.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Brot seller in Berlin

Nope ... I haven't (quite) fallen off the ends of the earth ... though between work, school and most recently, going on holiday ... one would think so.  Got lots to share ...

Visited Berlin (Germany) last month with DH, DS and a co-worker (who lived 11 years there .. our own personal tour guide!)  Saw this guy at a couple of the tourist spots we visited.  Carries all that he needs to sell wonderful German sausages to passers-by. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Noto's flower festival

Noto (in the province of Syracusa) has a flower festival the last weekend in May.  Using flowers, seeds, beans and other organic items, artists create mosiac designs on one stretch of street in the city center.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Honoring St Agatha

St Agatha is Catania's (nearest major city) patron saint.
The main Duomo (cathedral) in Catania is dedicated to her.
The last time DH and I visited the Duomo,
 the altar was banked by flowers in honor of St. Agatha.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

etched glass

Etched glass in door I wandered by one evening ...
wonder what the people inside are doing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Check out the face!

This is over the main entrance to the Mother Church in Ferla.
I keyed in on the face at the bottom ... didn't even notice the one at the top.
Wish I knew the meaning is behind the emblem....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Etna's at it again!

DH was at home when this happened -- he could see the lava as it flared up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Surprise ... surprise

A surprise storm came through last week (suspect it was the leftovers of the storms which caused s much damage while crossing the states) ... this is our balcony about 20 minutes after the storm started.
Lots of wind, flooding, roads damaged and businesses were closed for a few days to clean up.  The round dish is the cat's preferred water bowl.  Normally Indy constantly pesters us to let her out on the balcony ...
that wasn't the case until the snow melted away.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sailing ... sailing ... I think

A tropical storm went through last week ....
less than an hour earlier, I had driven through this intersection
 and there was only a couple inches of water.
  Now just about every car in the photo has died due to water intrusion.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Carnivale float

The back of another float at the Aci Reale Carnivale this year.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fresh orange juice!

Freshly squeezed tarocco (related to blood oranges) juice!  Good stuff!

The first year I was stationed here before, DS was only 8 that year.  He strolled into the kitchen while I was squeezing orange juice and asked what I was doing.   I told him I was making orange juice.

Instant response ... "No you're not!. I know what orange juice looks like!!"
Took some convincing ... but he finally tried the juice .... and liked it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Here comes the carriage!

This 18th century carriage is coming up to the procession's starting point.  
The dignitaries will be picked up in a minute
... then the procession will officially begin.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


A coachman awaiting the start of the St Agatha procession.
He is dressed in 18th century style attire.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Maltese Knight

St Agatha is the patron saint for the city of Catania
and her feast day is 5 February.
DH and I saw this Maltese Knight while waiting for the procession to start.
The Knights were one of many groups in the procession.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birra ?

this is why I generally carry my camera ...
the tray was just sitting on the counter, waiting to be used ...
I like the glasses and bottle of wine in the background

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hello Birdie ...

Magpie (bird) looking (and finding) bugs ... lots of bugs.
Magpies are super common  here and in southern Spain ...
Indy hates them ... they like to dive bomb her

Friday, February 3, 2012

Calcio rules!

Sign at the Belpasso Calcio Club (soccer club) office

Sunrise on Groundhog Day

woke up really early this morning ... watched the sunrise while Indy drank bird-flavo​red water (from the bird bath)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"People of Liberty"

Posted in the main piazza here in Belpasso ...
 Berlusconi was the Italian Prime Minister until recently.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Store shelves on Saturday

Cold shelves in a local store ... trucker strike is having quite an effect.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gas strike - day #7

A friend waiting for gas during this week's trucker's strike .... DH and I heard a rumor last night that a gas station (not the station in this picture) we go past most days got a delivery last night and was going to open at 7:00am this morning (he's normally not open on Sundays).  So we were up and on our way by 5:30am to sit outside his station and see if the rumor was true.  Another friend joined us in line ... and a few others that drove by joined the line as well.  It was TRUE!!  At 7am, he opened -- there were only about 5 cars in line at that point .. but everyone started calling to let others know gas was available.   The attendant said he got about 2000 liters of gasoline last night ... DH heard this afternoon that the station we gassed up was empty by 9am.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Etna's gift

Etna's ash and grit covers our terraza.

Etna's cooking again!

Etna's off and going again!
Lots and lots of ash blowing around ... 
it shows here as the gray  covering the left and middle of the photo.