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Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Ironic detective stories by Joanna Chmielewska used to be fairly popular in the country of our births when we were young. One of them, Dead Man’s Tale (its Russian-language title translates more literally as “What the Deceased Said”), jumps between various locations in Europe with a short but prominent chapter…

Syracuse, Sicily (WHS #161)

Syracuse, Sicily (WHS #160)

Syracuse is geographically closer to Noto than Catania is, but it enjoys a separate World Heritage recognition as an exceptional record of the development of Mediterranean civilization over three millennia. The WH site is actually a three-part collection that includes the archaeological park of Neapolis over a mile northwest of…

A few from Catania (WHS #160 the end for now)

A few from Catania (WHS #159 part 5)

The second-largest city in Sicily was even less of a certainty on our itinerary than Palazzolo Acreide. It is part of the same Val di Noto World Heritage site as Ragusa, Noto, Scicli, and since a big city always requires a bigger allocation of time, we initially considered leaving it…

Ragusa, Sicily (WHS #160 part 3)

Ragusa, Sicily (WHS #159 part 3)

While Scicli is fairly off the beaten path, Ragusa is a common popular feature on Sicilian itineraries. How can it not be?! Just look at this perspective of a quintessential Sicilian hilltop village. What we see here is Ragusa Ibla – the historic and medieval in topography part of Ragusa.…

Scicli, Sicily (WHS #160 part 2)

Scicli, Sicily (WHS #159 part 2)

Scicli is enough off the beaten track so a fair portion of the WH-focused community considers it a favorite among the towns comprising Val di Noto serial site. It is bright and clean, its compact central area is easy on the eye, and the ratio of locals-to-visitors is higher than…

Noto, Sicily (WHS #160 part 1)

Noto, Sicily (WHS #159 part 1)

In the south-eastern part of Sicily, eight towns comprise the World Heritage serial site of Val di Noto, recognized as a great rebuilding achievement in the decades following the devastating earthquake of 1693, which resulted in surpassing examples of Baroque town planning and architecture. It is a varied collection, ranging…

A few from Austin, TX

A few from Austin, TX

On a business trip – what a concept, no!? – a couple of weeks ago I landed in a part of these United States that I had never been to before. In the Texan capital for less than 2 days, I could carve out an hour and a half in…

Chasing World Heritage: #158 (Agrigento)

Chasing World Heritage: #157 (Agrigento)

The archaeological area of Agrigento (also known as “Valley of the Temples”) is inscribed on the World Heritage list in large part for its Doric temples dominating the erstwhile Greek settlement dating from the 6th century BCE. Temple of Concordia is the undeniable primary highlight of the site, and clearly…

Palermo

Palermo

Quick show of hands – who has Palermo on their must-see-in-your-lifetime list? The capital and largest city of Sicily does not enjoy a highly-recommended status among the travelers (and, like any other place in the South of Italy, is nowhere near the list of most-visited destinations in the country). It…

Back from Italy

Back from Italy

Whoa! Wait a second there!! Nearly two years of barely leaving the confines of our home – and then we had not one but two long-distance trips in quick succession!? One of them crossing international borders!?!? Yep, that is precisely what we did. Just a few weeks after returning from…

Back from California

Back from California

We got on a plane and flew to a remote locale. Funny how something that used to be par for the course for us in the BC era (“before covid” – a term not coined by me) is nowadays an extraordinary event. Two years sitting at home – a road…

High Line, New York

High Line, New York

Having descended from the Edge, I took a stroll along the length of New York’s High Line. The elevated park has been around for nearly a dozen years now, but I had very limited familiarity with it to-date. The walk thus progressed very neatly the theme of my second day…

Views from the Edge

Views from the Edge

On another day of my January staycation (first mentioned in the previous post), my targets in Manhattan included sights in Hudson Yards and Chelsea that I never explored before. Starting with one of the newest attractions in the City – the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere called…

Afternoon in Central Park

Central Park, January

At the end of last month, I took a week off work, for reasons none other than I would lose a perfectly useable vacation week if I haven’t done so. It was my first staycation in recorded memory, a type of holiday that has never held a lot of appeal…

On a boat in Camden harbor

On a boat in Camden harbor

Restaurant reservations aside, a sunset cruise on a tall boat was the only pre-arranged bit of entertainment on our road trip along the Maine Coast. Late September evenings are already quite cold at those latitudes when you are on open water, but bundling up and taking ample advantage of the…