48 hours in Catania 


48 Hours in Catania. Sicily.We have just returned after a wonderful couple of days in Catania, the largest city after Palermo in Sicily. 
            Click on this link to watch the video


We thought we would take advantage of the great low fares offered by Ryanair from our local airport, Perugia. 
Our flight from Perugia cost around €70 return for the two of us. It took just over one hour. 
I like flying but I am NOT a lover of airports ! The exception being Perugia!!  
To me the airport experience is usually tedious, stressful, expensive and pretty boring. Long queues. Expensive refreshments. Expensive parking. Stressful check-ins. Long distances to walk (or offen run!) ) Often not-very-helpful staff, Etc etc etc.
Flying from Perugia is GREAT! The airport is small and cosy. It’s like going home! Everyone remembers you. The staff, including the bar, customs, police, car hire, everyone …are friendly, helpful, accommodating. The appropriate word probably is HUMAN! I’ve yet to find an airport like this anywhere else ! Arent we lucky to live just thirty minutes away!!

  Above: We loved the area around Piazza Duomo. It was so full of life and character and culture. 

The flight to Catania took just over one hour and yet the Ryanair staff somehow managed to deliver their usual drinks and food and duty-free and scratch cards looking their usual smiley and stress free selves despite passengers finding it difficult to get organised! It was a late flight arriving in Catania about 9pm.

We had booked (with Ryanair) the bus … Alibus …to Piazza Stesicoro and that worked very smoothly. The driver was great and told us when our stop was coming up. It was a twenty minute transfer.

                   Above …our GREAT B&B

Getting off the bus, was, I must admit a bit of a culture shock! Coming from quiet, clean and peaceful Umbria to Sicily is well, WOW! Especially when arriving after dark. Maybe arriving from Liverpool or London or Milan would be kinder! It’s the noise and cars and litter and people and a feeling of ‘…are we safe here!’ But our concerns soon vanished . We were safe and everyone was very friendly and helpful and only too eager to help us find our B&B. In fact the people of Catania are really adorable ! It was difficult to tear ourselves away from bars and restaurants and the B&B because we just wanted to stay and chat!  

We chose B&B Stesicoro because it had such good reviews and because it was so central. We were NOT disappointed! 

Don’t be put off by the entrance down a short dark alleyway. It’s fine. The actual B&B fronts onto the piazza and it’s great fun before breakfast watching the marketeers set up every morning. 


        Above: Piazza Stesicoro. Right outside our B&B 

View of B&B Stesicoro Via Etnea is one of the busiest and most popular streets in the city, cluttered with shops and restaurants and bars. It leads to the Duomo and castle and market plus you can always see Etna! Unfortunately, because of the clouds I never got to take a good photo of this majestic volcano which towers over Catania and, according to locals remains active, erupting every summer for a week or so.  

Right outside the B&B is the Piazza Stesicoro complete with the ruins of an amphitheatre and some of the most magnificent examples of Baroque architecture you will see anywhere. Just five minutes away is a lovely green park . An oasis. Somewhere for people like me who really NEED a green break every day!

The Rooms and the location and the people are just amazing. We will definitely go again to Catania and we will definitely stay at this same B&B. The family are so lovely and do everything possible to make your stay a happy one. The rooms are large and very tastefully decorated and furnished. Everywhere is spotless. English is spoken. The air-con and WiFi works well. Breakfast is your typical Italian Prima Colazione with delicious fresh and hot pastries, boiled eggs, ham, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruits,bread and freshly made coffee. 


    Above:  San Nicolò 

On our first day we had a good wander around the Piazza and the small roads leading from it taking in a few churches ( there are hundreds!) the university and ending up at the church of San Nicolo and the adjoining monestry. San Nicolò (above) is a very strange looking church. The bul dung began in 1702 but was never completed. It is possible to go up the tower where a wonderful clear view of Mount Etna awaits but unfortunately we arrived at the church when it was closed for the afternoon siesta and so missed this attraction. But the adjoining monetary was well worth a visit. 

       Above:  the Castle 

The Duomo On our second day we turned right onto Via Etnae and walked for ten minutes past shops and restaurants to the Piazza Duomo. This piazza is spectacular and so are the multitude of little streets leading off it. This area is so interesting and became our favourite. We really loved the huge street market which spreads out from the piazza and is open every day except Sunday. The sights, sounds and smells are incredible!  

The market From here it’s only a quick walk to the castle and to the Teatro Romano and the docks and so we were able to enjoy all of these in just one afternoon!  

We really enjoyed our two days in Catania but it was not enough! There’s so much more to see not just in the city but in the surrounding area including, of course a visit to Mount Etna. We will definitely go again and, next time, for longer! 

This is a very short account of our visit. For more I hope you will enjoy the video.
Click on this link to watch the video

Sunday Challenge. What can you make from …….? 

Last week’s challenge was to imagine what it would be like to be very tiny. 

So tiny that you could live in a hole in a tree or crawl into a snail shell. 

See the link below for some ideas of how the Jumbles tackled this challenge. 

Today’s Sunday Challenge

The Spiders Web Clock


For this clock you will need a circular piece of thin wood and  the correct size of clock mechanism.

The web is made from long cocktail sticks and lolly sticks and the spiders are plastic ones I painted emerald green with nail varnish. 

Acrylic paints and varnish. 

To make: 

First paint the board off white or pale cream using acrylics. While the paint is still wet brush on some olive greens and oranges from the centre out. Paint the numbers in olive green too. 

Leave to dry and then varnish with a satin varnish. 

Use the same olive green paint for the lolly sticks and the cocktail sticks. 

Stick the lolly sticks on first then us the cocktail sticks to form a web kind of pattern between them. 

I inserted the clock mechanism before sticking the lolly sticks and cocktail sticks in place to ensure the hands weren’t blocked . 

Bewitched Halloween Party Bags 

Make  these fun (and tasty) witches and ghouls in the blink of an eye ! 

Ideal as decorations and perfect for Halloween party bags. 


All you need are a few CHUPA CHUPS lollies, some circles of fabric,  small elastic bands or hair elastics. 

Instructions: 

 Place the lolly in the centre of the fabric. 


Secure with an elaśtic.  


Stick on a couple of eyes and the ghoul is finished.


For the Witch make a little hat from black card or felt. 

If you want your witch to have a broomstick you can make this from a simple stick of liquorice or a cola stick wrapped in black wool or pipe cleaners. 


We pushed two liquorice  spirals onto the lolly sticks for balance so they stayed the right way up when hung from the beam. This is also a nice touch for those  children  who want to keep their lolly ghoul intact as they can  still enjoy a sweet treat! 

J

Perugia and the Mini Metro with Georgie and Alfie. 


Perugia is famous for its amazing panoramic views, colourful history, its international universities, the many beautiful buildings and monuments and, of course, chocolate!  

But for visiting children the initial big attraction will probably be the mini metro! 


A ride on this mono rail is an experience not to be missed by anyone but especially if you are traveling with kids. 

The mini metro runs between the parking areas and the Fontivegge train station to the Centro Storico or the centre of the old town. Tickets are just a couple of euros. Keep your entrance ticket as you need it to exit at the other end on the station. The trams run every few minutes. The most popular and largest parking spot is at the stadium and the mini metro is well sign posted. But you can choose to take an ordinary train from your nearest station and then hop onto the mini metro at Fontivegge. 

I never take the car into Perugia. I can’t see the point. Parking is difficult and the streets are congested and you really do need to know exactly where you are going! Why get stressed out when it’s so easy to hop on to a train. 

In under thirty minutes from the stations around the lake (Passignano, Castiglione, Magione ) you arrive at the outskirts of the city from where you can take a thrilling short journey on the mini metro followed by a series of escalators through the foundations of the old  medieval fortress (La Rocca Paolis) up into the centre.  

My advice would also be to take the kids down the escalators as well as up,because it is something that they will probably not experience anywhere else and great fun! 

“La Rocca Paolis is the underground remains of an old fortress built by papal decree in the mid 1500s.

It offers an alternative route into Perugia is via escalators that takes you from parking at the city’s base, up through the foundations of this medieval fortress. During the Christmas season, this underground area is transformed into an arts-and-crafts market with music and entertainers. The kids will love it! 

Click on this link to watch the video: 

      An afternoon with Georgie and Alfie in Perugia

The video below gives a snapshot of the journey and a quick look at Perugia through the eyes of a child. It is only a snapshot! There is so much to see and do in Perugia! The museums, the art galleries, the shops, the Saturday market and last but certainly not least the amazing walk around the city walls. The views will astound you! 

If you happen to be here now then you should also visit the Chocolate Festival! 

Eurochocolate Festival 2016, at its 23rd edition, is from 14 until 23 October 2016.

Eurochocolate is the International Chocolate Exhibition. The largest of all the chocolate festivals in Europe. The event allows individuals to discover the different flavors of chocolate from cultures around the world.

For ten days every October about one million visitors will visit this event. The festival offers experimental tasting, cooking classes, performances, sculpting and art displays. 

The main attractions are: the Chocolate Show, Eurochocolate World and the incredible life size Chocolate Sculptures. 
A Chococard can be bought at the festival offering guests discounts, contests, prizes and free tastings. 

Apologies. ..if there are any mistakes on this post!  For some reason the WordPress app went crazy and it’s taken me absolutely ages to write and rewrite. Too exhausted to check any more ! Just want to publish before I lose the whole lot again!