All posts tagged: Travel

Syracuse, Sicily – Day 3

After mucking around in Ortigia for two days, we finally got us a sim card and a rental car. We were all set for a road trip. Since we needed to get use to drive on the right side of the road, we decided to go to some places not too far away. First stop was the Archaeological Park of the Neapolis. Both Syracuse Greek Theatre and Roman amphitheatre are part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Syracuse Greek Theatre was built in the 5th century BC. It is one of the largest in the world with nearly 140m diameter. All the seats were cut out from rocks. The theatre overlooks Syracuse, so the view is spectacular. Roman amphitheatre is a small disappointment for me. I guess it just looked very abandoned. The amphitheatre was primarily used for Gladiator contests and fights. However, seeing both sites in the same park was a bonus. We got to see how different the theatres were built for different purpose. Another interesting place in the park is a ear shaped huge cave called “Ear …

Syracuse, Sicily – Day 2

After a good night sleep, we were ready to go and explore. Syracuse has plenty to offer, places to see, things to do, shops to shop, and yummy food to eat. Since we wanted to be based in Syracuse when we were in Sicily, it’s always a good idea to get familiar with the place.  🙂 After breakfast, we walked to Castello Maniace which was built in the 13th century by Frederick II. It is at the far end of the Ortygia. The castle was a royal residence initially.  After Frederick II, it was used as a prison for half century. Later on, it was turned to be a fortress and restructured for military use to defend the harbour. The castle was named after General George Maniakes who conquered Sicily from Arabs in 1038.  Unfortunately, some parts of the castle were under construction during our visit. We couldn’t see the whole thing. However, we still can see its marble portal entrance and baroque style architecture, and the beautiful view from the castle. If you stay at Syracuse, …

Syracuse, Sicily – Day 1

Finally, I have to talk about Syracuse. Somehow it holds such a special place in my heart. Maybe I had had so many different versions of it in my imaginary world. Maybe I had been looking forward to it for too long …We arrived in Syracuse, Sicily, in an afternoon. The taxi driver dropped us off at the back of the building where we rented our apartment. “Here we are.” I told myself. “Finally!” The apartment we booked was in Ortigia. It was right at the water front with a tiny little balcony. The little balcony was just big enough for two chairs. Still, we appreciated it so much that we enjoyed every sunset there with a glass of Sicily wine. It was such a magical place. The famous Fonte Aretusa was very close to our apartment. The myth behind it is beautiful Nymph Arethusa was trying to escape from the love of Alpheus. Goddess Diana turned her into a spring. Then, Alpheus transformed himself into t a river to join together with the spring forever with Arethusa. The …

So Long, Cyprus

This is going to be my last post about our trip in Cyprus. It was a short stay. I didn’t even get the chance to see north side of the country. Hopefully, we will get to see it again one day. For the last day, we took our rental car on the road again. The destination was Limassol. Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus, and it is on the southern coast. When we reached the city, we could see many newly built seaside resorts. I have heard it’s one of the most popular destinations in Cyprus. Now, I understand why.  It has beautiful beaches, modern lifestyle and ancient history. The historical part of the city is well preserved. Although it was the end of September, the temperature was still about 28-30 degree. If you ever want a late summer holiday, I think this is the place. Kolossi Castle On the way to Limassol, we stopped at Kolossi Castle. It’s about 14km from Limassol. It was built in 13th century and rebuilt in 15th …

Taormina, Sicily

Taromina is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s one of the places that can offer pretty much everything you want for a holiday, view, beach, food, entertainment, nice accommodation and shopping experiences. No wonder Taormina is such a popular travel destination in Sicily. We only planned to spend one night in Taormina. We drove from Syracuse to Taormina. On a side note, we were so impressed by the motorways in Sicily. They are fantastic to drive on. We were a bit worried when we were planning the trip. If you want to travel from one place to another in Sicily, the roads are good. If you want to drive in the old town, that’s a completely different story. To me, it’s nerve-racking because of the extremely narrow streets. There are so much to do in Taormina, beaches, food, shopping and sightseeing. I think I will just talk about two highlights during our visit, the Greek Threatre and Castelmola. Teatro Greco (Greek Threatre) One must-see in Taromina is Teatro Greco (Greek Theatre) from 2nd century A.D., the second largest Greek …

Cyprus (continued)

Today, I want to take us back to Cyprus again. One cannot visit Cyprus without looking into their ancient history which can be traced back to 10th millennium BC. We probably all know Cyprus is divided into Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot.  This time, we only had time to have a brief visit to few places on the Greek side. After a day at Larnaca, we rented a car and drove to west side of the island. The first stop was Kiti. Angeloktisti Church, Kiti This small church is the one attracted us to Kiti. The church was built in 11th century over the ruins of  an Early Christian basilica. The name of the church means “built by angels” in Greek. The story behind it is ancient Kition moved to Kiti to escape from Arab invasion. They wanted to build a church dedicated to the Virgin. However, one day, the church foundation was moved to a different location overnight. Although the villagers didn’t know why, they decided to change the church location. As a miracle, …

Tropea, Italy

Hello everyone! Greetings from someone is back to work but still dreaming about travel in Italy. 🙂 I hope you have had a great weekend! I thought about what to share today of my trip. I realised that I can’t wait to tell you about Tropea. Although it was a really short stay, it’s truly one of the highlights on this trip. I have decided not to follow the order of our trip, just a different approach. Anyway, let’s get on with it, shall we? Tropea was our first stop after we left Sicily (don’t worry, I will have posts about Sicily in no time!). We booked the accommodation months ago. I don’t recall why we chose this penthouse apartment. After we dragged our suitcases through the stone streets and many levels of the building (there was no lift), the property manager opened the apartment door for us. His behaviour puzzled me for a second. He went straight to the balcony and open the glass door for us. Most of the owners would show us where …

Larnaca, Cyprus

I guess I need to start from Larnaca. After all, it was our first stop for this trip, and we truly enjoyed our stay in this city. Nice warm weather, beautiful sea and beach. On the second day, after a lovely sunrise and warm freshly baked breakfast , we thought it would be a good idea that we just hung around in Larnaca. It would give us some time to adjust and recover a bit from the long-haul flight and jet lag. Certainly there were things to see and do in this beautiful city. Agios Lazaros (Church of Saint Lazarus) Be honest with you, this is the first Greek Orthodox Church I have ever seen. The church was built in 890 mainly with limestone blocks when St. Lazarus’s tomb was discovered. It was built over the tomb, and we still can go down to the sanctuary to see it.  The remains were moved to Constantinople and then to Marseille long time ago. The gold covered iconostasis is magnificent and breathtaking. I have never seen anything …

Good morning, Larnaca

After a 14-hours flight and another three hours one, we finally arrived at Larnaca, Cyprus. After check-in and a quick dinner, we hit the pillows long and hard. Then, jet lag kicked in. However, Sometimes it’s a good thing. We woke up at 5am and decided to have an early morning walk on the beach. So quiet. The city was still sleeping. There were few people swimming in in the sea. Some were walking the dog or jogging alone the seaside. It’s probably the best time of the day to enjoy the city before the heat and heaps of tourists like ourselves wake up. We walked on the beach. The city is waking up. More and more people emerged on the street, jogging, cycling, fishing. “Kalimera!” They greeted each other. The water is crystal clear and calm. We sat down and waited for the sunrise. I admit I haven’t had a chance to watch sunrise in such a beautiful place for years. I had forgotten how beautiful it is. Apart from the time we spent …