Lucky Escape

Frank does his routine water and oil check on Emma before we head back down 2000 mtrs towards the sea. Curiously, Emma is completely out of water. Was the steep ascent out of her league too? We fill up with water, top up the oil and get going. We pass through Zafferana where we stop off to visit the local administration one more time, to lean on everyone we can get hold of to proceed with the cleaning of the dry torrent near Passopomo. We get yet more stories as to why nothing’s happened so far, bar closing the bridge, and we do not divulge that we are leaving, instead we make them believe that we will be back to check on them.

We roll on down the hill. In Santa Venerina, we happen to pass by the amazing Riccotta shop, so we stop off there too and get some baked Ricotta as well as a leg of lamb.


When we get back to Emma, we see a tell-tale little rivulet emerging from under the van, running down the side of the road. Uh-oh, do we have a leak in the radiator?

As it happens when you travel, there is a garage just 50 mtrs down the road, and although they only work with cars, a friendly mechanic goes and rings the door bell of the house we are parked in front of, which turns out to be that of a lorry mechanic. They don’t have time to fit us in but recommend someone else 5km down the road. We load up with more water and roll on down the hill.

Emma at the ‘dentist’ – open wiiiide…


uh -ooohhh…





Luckily, Frank had plans to make marmalade and I needed to do a lot of writing, because we are marooned for the next 24 hours while our radiator is taken out and replaced with a new one. We leave 600 Euros lighter but so glad it happened exactly when it happened and didn’t cause more damage. We could have been stuck on the top of Etna with a blown gasket or worse, a seized engine.



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On March 17th, 10 people got injured while watching the flowing lava, amongst them a BBC film crew. Red-hot lava had flowed onto snow or ice and the sudden cooling precipitated an explosion, which covered people in boiling rocks of varying sizes.

We hear more details from a tour guide some days later who, typically for local folks, talks of the volcano as of a person. There were two smaller explosions first. Twice mother Etna said ‘go, leave!’ but the people didn’t react, so then the third time they got caught in a big explosion. They were too close to the lava and no-one had  helmets on!



Nevertheless, Frank is very keen to get a bit closer to the action, so one late afternoon, we take the winding road up to the southern slopes. As our Emma is carrying us slowly but steadily up, 18 km through lunar landscapes, I’m thinking how crazy are we, going up an active volcano, look around you Ruth, there’s lava all around you here, and who’s to say that the explosion now is not suddenly going to be as big as the one that brought all the lava that is visible around me? I feel out of my comfort zone, also about the thought of spending the night on a mountain that is practically alive just under the surface, bubbling away with a ferocious energy. But then I remind myself that I like to move out of my comfort zone every now and then, so I say nothing about it as we wind our way up and up.

When we arrive, the funicular at Rifugio Sapienza is closed. While we amble around the deserted car park, a group of about 20 people arrive and get ready for a night time hike. It turns out they are heading up the mountain to see the lava. A quick look at the group (age range from under 10 to over 60, one person without hiking boots – we think we can keep up with them) gives us the courage to ask if we could join them.

It is about 8pm by the time we start walking up the hill into the dusky landscape. It turns out they are an alpine hiking group, based in Syracusa, who meet every Sunday to tackle some slope or other, so they are all well trained! We soon lose the one person without adequate shoes (she turns back home after about 1km), but we feel we want to stick it out. Soon we have to stop chatting to people, because we need all our attention and energy just to keep up with them as they scramble up the steeply ascending path, across snow and ice, like a herd of mountain goats! When we reach the first plateau, I’m gasping for air, regretting having drunk a pint of water just before leaving, thus causing me a side stitch. The world is not as steady as it normally is; everything is slightly spinning around me in the thin mountain air and Frank’s legs look like they are made of rubber.

Luckily the heard of goats slow down on the flat and are now leisurely strolling towards the next incline. Meanwhile it’s getting quite dark too, so we really need to stay with them as we don’t have any lights with us. How much further are they going to chase up the mountain??? There is no turning back now, we wouldn’t know or see the way! But the view compensates for all troubling thoughts: Catania spreads out below us, a thousand lights shimmering in the distance like sparkling jewels.



After another steep (and equally fast) incline and another leisurely stroll across a windy plane, we head around the corner and the view opens into the Valle dei Bovi. Here we can see the lava flow, although not as much as when I saw it from the airplane. But nevertheless, we are now within about 800 metres of flowing lava and it feels awesome! There is no snow here, so we are safe from the aforementioned explosions.

Here’s a photo of the group. If you look closely you might see a red dot above the heads of the people in the middle. That’s the Lava!



It is very cold and windy though, so quite soon, we turn round and everyone scrambles back down the hill. At 9.15pm, we reach the road again. I think if Frank and I had done that tour on our own, we wouldn’t have been back before midnight! This hike was way out of both our comfort zones. We are absolutely knackered, barely standing straight and not quite sure what has hit us. But it was worth it!

Sadly the photographs don’t give the full effect.





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German Interlude

Much as I dislike spending time away from my lovely man, I am looking forward to my German interlude – teaching Tango, spending time with my daughter Yolanda, my niece Rebecca and other friends, visiting new Tango scenes and my sister and her family.

On March 3rd, I board the flight from Catania to Berlin. As soon as I step on the plane, I start sneezing. It takes me 12 hours to accept that it’s not an allergy but a full-blown flu, when I start to feel faint walking up some stairs during the shopping spree that Yolanda and I had embarked on to find a costume for the themed Tango party the following Wednesday. With Yoli’s help, I drag myself to Ines’s where I fall into bed for the next couple of days. What a bummer, but the Tango Lab will just have to start without me…

Monday morning, I pack my bags and take the train to the Wendland, where the Tango Lab is in an old water mill, in the middle of nowhere. After a day’s rest there, I’m back to normal and immerse myself in the flow of group- and private lessons and dancing in the evenings. The themed party (the 1920’s) is a great success with everyone making a big effort to dress up imaginatively.

Dressing up is not my forte. It usually estranges me from myself, and I don’t like it. This time it had the added weird spin of suddenly feeling like a man in women’s clothes. I’ve never felt masculine, despite people mistaking me for a boy in childhood and even now sometimes address me with ‘can I help you, sir?’ in shops (can you believe it? I mean how big must boobs be before they are noticed???). But wearing this strange wig, and make-up too, somehow catapulted me into a different mode. It was very disconcerting and I was glad to return to myself when I went to bed!


Here is a Facebook photo of the Tango teacher team, taken by Elzbieta Petryka. I’m the one smoking a cigarette, in case you don’t recognize me!

I love the work at Proitze, the series of private lessons are always a real treat, with people opening up and working with great concentration. Thank you to everyone who gave me their trust :-)


We had one calm and quiet day after the Tango lab, before Ines and I set off on a Tango road trip through Germany, from the very north (Lübeck) to the very south (Staufen). We were surprised to find so many people in our workshop in Lübeck who we knew already from teaching at the Tango Lab – it was like coming home! We were hosted and taken care of beautifully, and we even had some time to stroll through Lübeck for a few hours the following day.


Our next stop was with my sister’s family in Köln, where we caught up with news, admired how tall my nephews and niece had grown since I last saw them, and spent a day sightseeing in the city where I grew up. We cycled along the Rhein to the cathedral, scrambled up all 533 steps to the top of the tower and amused ourselves over lunch in an old pub in the city centre.

spot the mistakes

(Spot the mistakes!?!)


The following day, we set off for Staufen, a picturesque little town near the Swiss border, which has a very rapidly expanding Tango community, only in its third year. Through a serious of coincidences, they had come in touch with a collector of Bandoneons who had run out of space in his own house and was in search of a town who would like to host a Bandoneon museum. Within a short time, the bureaucratic hurdles were jumped and the town provided a room. An enthusiastic Tanguero laid a dance floor, others made shelves etc., so now they have a home for their Tango club that doubles up as a Bandoneon museum!

Those who know how to play a bandoneon are allowed to take instruments off the shelves and play them. So I have the incredible privilege of playing ‘La Amiga Negra’, the Bandoneon that Astor Piazzolla used to play when he came to give concerts in Kirchzarten from 1984 onwards. Her bellows are a bit wheezy, but the reeds have a sweet sound and there are more buttons than on my bandoneon. If I can’t produce Piazzolla’s sound, maybe at least I can imitate his facial expression?



In a town of under 8000 inhabitants (about the size of Totnes), with four regular evenings of Tango plus weekends with visiting teachers, the dance scene reminds me very much of the beginnings of Tango in Totnes. In addition to that, the Staufen Bandoneon Museum is a must for every Tango dancer and musician on their way down South through Germany!

We have one more day left before my flight leaves from Basel, so we make a spontaneous decision to visit Guggi and Pascal an their son Aurin on their newly acquired piece of land right on the swiss/german border. A little one-roomed house and a couple of sheds were already on the land, and they now painstakingly restore them. Pulling them down completely would lose them the right to have a dwelling there, so it has to be done one wall at a time. We spend the afternoon pottering in the tentative spring sun, playing with Aurin and helping a little with building work, before heading to their flat in the centre of Basel for the night.



All through my stay in Germany, Etna has been bubbling away, and this week with some rather large eruptions, so that it’s a bit touch and go whether I will get to Catania or be diverted to Palermo instead. The day before, Catania’s airport was closed in order to clean the runways from the volcanic ashes…

But all goes well, we see the flowing lava from above as we pass the volcano. With only one hour’s delay, we touch down on the second attempt and I’m back in the arms of my special man :-)

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Honesty, Courage and the transforming power of Anger

This chapter will bring a concrete, real context to these three lofty concepts.


We’re in search of good quality Olive oil and this leads us once more back to Alcamo, where we meet Vincenzo, a permaculture farmer. Alcamo is a city perched on the side of a steep hill and narrow streets abound, so rather than finding his garden in our Emma, we arrange per telephone to meet him in a convenient car park. Vincenzo arrives with 10 litres of Olive oil strapped to the back of his bike. This is how he likes to distribute his produce. He’s got a car but hasn’t even bothered to renew the insurance because he doesn’t use it.

We are intrigued. In many of our previous blogs, we have talked about our ‘fights’ and efforts to persuade the Sicilians we meet to change their habits if not their views on unsustainable farming or rubbish removal systems, more often than not to be met with a hard rock of resistance, if not derision of our ‘crazy’ ideas. We’ve come to understand some of the obstacles that are in the way of change here and we realise that life in Sicily is hard, especially inland. What brought Vincenzo, who used to live down by the sea, back to his town, and what made him a permaculture farmer, and how is this received by his community? Vincenzo starts to tell us his story….


At age seven, Vincenzo lost his father, a well-known public figure in Alcamo and a respected Endocrinologist, due to cancer of the thyroid. Even though he was an expert in his field, he didn’t relate his illness to the pollution of this town, Vincenzo says. Come and visit my garden and I will show you what I mean.

He leads us down a couple of back streets and suddenly the tightly packed houses give way to an open space right in the heart of the town (not unlike it used to be in Totnes when Heath’s nursery still existed, unfortunately long since turned into car parks and, I believe, now up for grabs to developers). We come past a marble cutter’s place where a man quickly climbs into a white flashy car and shoots off past us. This is my worst enemy, says Vincenzo, with a smile on his face. I instantly feel so uncomfortable that I avoid looking at the man’s face, but Vincenzo looks him straight in the eye. See, when he needs to get rid of used oil from his machines, he just pours it into the ground, and his property is right next to mine. I had my water tested and it is full of oil, amongst other bad substances. I cannot use it on my fields, let alone for drinking. It turns out that testing the water made him realise he had to turn to a farming method that didn’t require regular watering of his fields. We pass the marble quarry, now almost shut down, 50 metres of a sheer cliff, with houses perched on the top. Alcamo has no sewage system. The whole town is built on a porous rock, and people just dig holes in the ground and let their black water seep away underneath their houses, Vincenzo says. Look, you can see where the black water runs down the sheer rock, and then compare it to this place, where clean water comes out of the rock. The colours on the rock are indeed completely different. And look at these long concrete pipes that come down from the houses outside, along the rockface. They are sewage pipes, but they are more than 30 years old and they are breaking, look how they leak. I have called the man from the council who installed these, I took him round on a walk to discuss what can be done to this but he simply shrugged his shoulders. We walk up a couple of steep hairpin bends on a rickety road. When I started farming my land, first I only cared about cleaning my own property but I soon realised that I needed to clean the space around it too, as no-one else was caring for it. This part of the town used to be full of rubbish, abandoned cars, plastic, Asbetos etc. Everybody just came and dumped their stuff here and the area was frequented by drug addicts. But it is the road to my land and to my house, my grandfather’s house in fact, so I started cleaning it up and patrolling it every day. I would interrupt people who were up to no good and just made them realise they couldn’t do things unseen. So gradually they disappeared from here. A couple more turns in the road and we have an overview of what must be the blackest, murkiest pond I’ve ever seen, wedged in between the marble quarry and Vincenzo’s land. This water is so polluted, at the moment only goldfish and guppies survive in it, I have to think what can be done with it to clean it, what plants I can put in it to help it regenerate itself. Just two weeks ago, the mafia boss of the area has been caught and put into prison and Vincenzo hopes that this will open some doors for a more sustainable town planning. This place could become a green lung of the town, once the quarry is properly shut and if the right decisions are being made about this open space. It might of course just be sold to developers, but I have a hope, a great hope, that we will fight for a better solution.

The road arrives at the top level above his house, where we pass a high wall. Vincenzo tells us that behind this wall is a yard full of chemicals – a depository for herbicides and pesticides (later we catch a glimpse from the first floor of his house onto hundreds of plastic sacks full of chemicals, just lying around in the open air). Before we enter the courtyard of his house, Vincenzo points out one more thing: a neighbour has built a house from plastic. With every rain, plastic beads wash off this house, down my road and into my garden. And indeed, we can see thousands of tiny plastic beads in the muddy ruts on the road.

In the ten minutes that it took us to walk from our van to his house, Vincenzo, with a smile on his face, has described his situation and it’s breaking my heart, moving me to tears. He’s trying to create paradise in the middle of hell!

Vincenzo opens a metal door and we are greeted by Vito, his lively dog, a mixture of German shepherd and husky, maybe a bit of wolf in there too. It’s the kind of dog you would not like to be enemies with, but to us he’s friendly and eager to be stroked. Six years ago, I was very depressed about my situation. I was angry about everything. I decided to go on a long walk. Together with Vito, I walked from Alcamo to Petralìa Sottana. He is a difficult dog. Before I got him, he’d been tied to a tree for the first year of his life and he was frightened and angry. When we went on this walk together, he was on a rope that wrapped around my waist, so for several months he was connected to me as if through an umbilical chord. We fought a lot of fights together, he wanted to attack people and animals so we had a lot of arguments. Now he is a lot better.


To me, it seems as if Vito is the personification of Vincenzo’s inner state and their journey together says as much about the transformation of the dog as it does of Vincenzo. I am amazed by the sheer persistence of this young man in the face of all these intractable problems around him and of the softness he has acquired, which nevertheless is unremitting and persistent in pursuing a change for the better of the environment in general and his land in particular.

Natural farming

The yard of his house is a little oasis with a beautiful view down the hill, overlooking his land and towards the sea. A giant mulberry tree spreads its branches. It’s taken me some years to understand why Mulberry trees are always right by the houses in Sicily. It’s not ideal – the berries make a mess on the ground – but if you plant them away from the house, the birds will eat all the berries before they are ripe and you have no chance to harvest them. Near the house, the birds are scared off by cats and dogs.

In permaculture terms, the house is zone zero and the courtyard is zone one. Through a little gate, Vincenzo leads us down into zone two, the food forest. Here are olive trees and almond trees, but above all, a richly varied undergrowth of wild herbs and plants, most of which are edible and have planted themselves here, and he only gently encourages some and discourages others. Last year, a sheep grazed here, helping to spread the seeds through carrying them in its fleece from one place to the other, all the while fertilising the land with its manure. After the food forest comes a stretch of land that doesn’t belong to Vincenzo but to a cousin, someone he has battled with over the years to prevent him burning plastics on his land. I used to get very angry with my cousin. One time I even threatened to kill him with a pickaxe if he didn’t stop killing others by burning toxic rubbish. But slowly, slowly over time, we have come to agreements with each other and now we even occasionally help each other, sharing machinery to remove rubbish etc. It’s been hard work fighting with each other, but I feel good about the changes.

We have arrived at his land, zone 3 in permaculture terms, where we are greeted by an orange tree veritably dripping with fruit. Vincenzo is convinced that the only reason this one is so rich in fruit compared to the others further down the land of his cousin’s, is that he planted a companion plant right by the tree which flowered exactly at the right time and attracted many bees who in turn pollinated the orange tree.

Further down along his land, different herbs are planted in the shape of a large spiral, and everywhere we see the wild versions of cultivated plants, such as the wild beet.

spiral garden

Vincenzo explains that when he sees that another plant has ‘arrived’ on his land, he frees the space around it for a while, to give it a chance to grow, but that is all. This part of my land is still very much in progress. In the long run, I’d like it to be a food forest too, like the one near my house, says Vincenzo, as the three of us pick a huge piece of fluttering plastic out of a hedge, something he says just flies in on the wind, on a daily basis.

We slowly return to the house, meanwhile picking lots of different wild herbs and sampling the various tastes. Vincenzo also cuts us some of his more deliberate produce: a large leaf of Aloe Vera, which, he explains, needs to be about 5 years old before you pick it to have developed the more than 200 different curative ingredients; artichoke leaves, which you can also steam like the fruit (we try this later but omit to peel the stems so it’s really bitter, but still very tasty!); some remaining almonds from the trees, and a bag full of oranges. Apparently an infusion from olive leaves is also very curative…

Vincenzo comes back to the van with us, bringing Vito with him. As we come past the marble cutter’s property, Vito becomes restless, straining at the leash. I’ve made it part of my daily routine to come past here and have a look what my worst enemy is up to. I like to create a presence, so he knows I’m watching him. I could denounce him, I have proof of the pollution in my water results, but I prefer to try and make him see that he is doing wrong and change his habits of his own accord.

This is the part I am most impressed by. There is such creative determination in Vincenzo to not just do his own thing and produce vegetables but to make people see things in a different way. I used to plant vegetables in this patch, he says, pointing to a part of his land, where after a rain black water from the town and otherwise polluted water gathers and builds a fertile if toxic ground, and then I used to go and offer them to my neighbour telling him that if he thinks it doesn’t matter what he puts into the ground, at least he can buy the toxic vegetables from me and eat them. One day, he even takes his toxic vegetables to a large bio market, and, by clearly advertising them as ‘Toxic Vegetables’, raises a lot of discussion and conversations with buyers and producers alike. But now I have stopped planting produce there, this part of my land needs to regenerate itself first. On the other parts of my land, my produce is as pure as it can be in this area.

This of course raises the big question of how clean anyone’s vegetables are, anywhere in this world. One can grow as ‘organic’ as one likes, but what do you do if tap water is too polluted to use on your produce, and even a squall of rainwater brings its problems in the form of microbeads and black water from untreated sewage. As a consumer, how do we know what is in our food? Should we enquire further, or contend ourselves with looking at the label on the supermarket shelf, possibly lulling ourselves into a false sense of security? And if we do enquire further, how do we support those who lobby for a cleaner environment? How do we protect and nurture courageous individuals like Vincenzo who are fighting battles on our behalf?

I could of course sell my house and this piece of land – as it’s in the heart of the Alcamo, I’d probably get a good price for it – and move to a place that is cleaner, where I have more likeminded neighbours and where I could grow ‘cleaner vegetables’ in peace. But this is my family’s land, my grandfather’s house, why should I leave? Besides, this place needs me, it is here that change is most needed.

I take my hat off to you, Vincenzo. I have a huge respect for what you are doing. Thank you for showing us your place and giving us a glimpse of your life with your story. You are truly inspirational.


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La Riserva Naturale di Zingaro

On our way through to the nature reserve, we stop off in San Vito lo Capo to stock up with food and water. By the time we get going again, darkness has settled so we can only guess at the beauty surrounding us as the road snakes up and down and in and out, 8km along the coast before coming to a gravelly halt on the gates of the reserve. We are the only ones there, apart from a car with locals who seem to be up to some naughty night fishing (fishing is not allowed in the reserve), but we chose to ignore the obvious fishing rods in their packs and focus instead on the two dogs who seem to have crept out of a hollow under a bush by the side of the road, wagging their tails and looking rather hungry and dehydrated. We offer water and some food, which they lap up gratefully. It is a beautifully quiet and starry night and we all settle in for the night: The female dog slinks off to somewhere, to male curls up under the engine of our Emma and Frank and I tumble into bed after a round of Canasta.

We are blessed with a  beautiful sunrise.


The minute we come out the next morning we are greeted excitedly by our newly found friends. As the female looks like she might be a feeding mum, I decide to check on the spot where I saw them emerge the previous day, and indeed, there are five beautiful pups.


In the time that it takes us to do our morning things, Yoga, make food for the day, practice the violin etc., several local cars have arrived and on their way, they stopped and looked at the pups and possibly gave some food to the parents. Someone even tips out half a big sack of dry dog food, but the dogs don’t seem to want to touch it, preferring our protein mix of tuna, chick peas and oat milk instead. Perhaps dry dog food can only be digested if the dog has sufficient access to drinking water, which must be difficult here.


Sicilian strays have a much better life than their counterparts in Spain or Portugal. Here, they seem to belong to a place, like for example to the entrance of this nature reserve, and they seem to be looked after by anyone who happens to come along. Generally, they are quiet and friendly, and in this case it was surprising to see how involved the father of the pups was – he seemed to be more protective of them than the mother!

We pack a picnic and set out into the nature reserve. The mountains rise out of the sea and up to over 1000 mtrs, and there are many paths to explore. We spend a day making a round trip including a museum village and only cover about half of the distance to the Southern entrance. One could easily spend a few days here to discover the different paths, villages and caves, and chill out on the beautiful beaches.

After a late afternoon swim on an almost tropical looking beach, we return to our van in time to take my bicycle to the repair shop in San Vito lo Capo. This is a shop that opens at Sundown, as its owner, Daniele is an outdoorsy kind of person, heavily involved in the local climbing scene.

This was one of the most beautiful days we’ve had in Sicily, stunning views and beautiful smells. It was also a really good physical challenge, including climbing up the mountain for about 2hours to get to the museum village. The day was only slightly marred at the end by Frank’s fall backwards against a rock when he tried to find a short-cut through the undergrowth…



Do visit this link to see all the photos of this day. It is worth using the slide-show function by clicking a little icon on the top right hand side of the display!

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Macari Beach

On our way towards the most western point of Sicily, we stop off at Macari Beach.

The photos speak for themselves!!!

Do visit this link to see all the photos of the beach. It is worth using the slide-show function by clicking a little icon on the top right hand side of the display!



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Mozia and the Salinas

We leave Sciacca and the Carnival behind us in search of Quiet, hoping for beautiful views of sunsets and empty beaches during the next part of our trip. Someone recommended a visit to the salt marshes on the west coast, and in particular to Mozia, once a Phoenician settlement, now a museum island. We arrive some time late afternoon and share a little car park with another campervan right on a land spit where a wooden pier reaches a long way out into the still, shallow waters. We decide to have a quiet afternoon and a slow next morning there, watching the changes of the light on the water as the sun sets and rises, we breathe in the sweet-salty smell of the lagoon and chill, reading books and sharing good food. Our ‘neighbours’, a Belgian couple, are just about the least communicative people we’ve found on our journey so far, so it’s as if we have the bay to ourselves.

I enjoy a good Yoga session the next morning on the wooden pier, out on the water and facing the rising sun. We feel blessed.


Mozia is indeed special. A little ferry takes you across the shallow waters and drops you off to peruse the island at your leisure. We start by visiting the museum and then take a walk anticlockwise around the circumference of the island, stopping off in the lee of the wind for a picnic. I don’t normally get excited by old stones and their history, but there are indeed some beautiful exhibits in the museum and the walk around the island reveals many other special places, plus a large variety of plants, many of which are in flower now. It is also blissfully quiet, as there are no cars on the island and we seem to be the only people, apart from those who run the museum. This place, like many others in Sicily, must be heaving in Summer…

For more photos, please click here

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We find it hard to walk up some of the Sicilian hills, but there are indeed people who brave this by bike! Biking is a big sport here – there is an over 400km long cycling route along the Southern coast! Generally, you won’t see an Italian on a bike unless fully clad in Lycra, so when we see people in normal clothes, we know they are foreigners – or immigrant workers who use a bike not as an instrument of leisure but as an essential means of transport. On one of the beaches which we have to approach creeping down a steep hill with Emma in first gear, we meet Frank, a German, on tour for a few years now, having been to Spain, Portugal, France, Marrocco etc. He doesn’t seem to think much of transporting about 50kg of bike and luggage, plus himself, up and down these hills. He prefers mountains to wind – wind only takes away, he says, whereas a mountain will give back what it took. If you go up, you’ll come down again!



Then there is the beautifully shaped remake of a very old bike – a Pedersen – which his owner transports to nice places to go on a stroll with (that’s a bit more like what we are doing..).



One morning, we meet a Belgian family with two sons, aged 4 and 7, who’ve been on the road for 7 months now. They have everything with them to camp on beaches etc.




Last but not least, in San Vito lo Capo, one of the most far-flung places in Europe, we find Daniele, a bicycle magician, who repairs Frank’s broken spoke and does a maintenance check on my lovely dutch bike, a Gazelle. I trust him with it – he’d lived in Holland for a year!



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Sciacca Carnival and Fish Auction

Here are some pictures of our day in Sciacca, yet another really steep hillside town. We went all the way up to the top square in the hope of finding a view of the sunset but were surrounded by houses. On our way down, we caught the last rays of sun over the harbour…


The next day, Frank chanced upon a fish auction, and together we braved Sciacca Carnival. There are times when I wish I could, like Frank, just switch off my hearing aid…it was LOUD!



To enjoy the photo album – click here.

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The Turkish Steps


Onwards and westwards from Agrigento, we spend a day by the Turkish steps. we haven’t found out why exactly they are called Turkish Steps, but they do look like a big pile of turkish delight, that’s maybe why :-)

enjoy the photos!

(they include a couple of Random pictures too – one of a family taking a selfy from a drone, a couple of photos showing an odd pile of slurry between two residential high-rise buildings, and last but not least for our little friends at home and abroad (Eva, Emily, Mila, Nadine, Leo!!!), some pictures of a beach playground.)


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