Blog Posts

A Couple of Days in Erice

Ann and I just got back from 2 weeks in Italy on a tour organized and led by Stephanie Chance.  It has been our dream to visit Italy for years, including the Amalfi coast.  This was a tour of southern Italy and the island of Sicily, so there was much left for the next time we go (including Venice and Tuscany).  It began with 34 hours of flying and layovers, followed immediately by a bus ride and a huge meal with wine at an old convent converted to a modest hotel on the outskirts of Erice.  The village itself is a walled medieval town perched on a mountaintop 2400 feet above the Mediterranean in Northwest Sicily.

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The courtyard
Tony explains
Tony explains

The following day we explored the town of Erice itself, still largely enclosed within its old stone walls, so high up that it sometimes sits atop the clouds.

There are many steps in Erice.
There are many steps in Erice.
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Ann was popular in Italy

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Pat, Peggy, Gail, and Rosalie.
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A craftsman paints his pottery by hand.
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Outside one of the churches in Erice
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The town has many small alleys and doorways, most with more steps to climb.

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Maria Grammatico makes her world-renowned marzipan in this shop
Maria Grammatico makes her world-renowned marzipan in this shop

Maria Grammatico’s mother could not afford to feed her children and sent her daughter to the local convent, where she learned the art of making marzipan from the nuns, who eventually told her she was too old to stay and put her out on the street.  She began to make her own marzipan in town and the nuns grew hostile.  Today Maria is famous and the convent is no longer a convent.  Got to love a happy ending!  You can read more here.  And even more in the book, Bitter Almonds.

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Maybe not a local
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One of many beautiful churches in the town

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Castle in the clouds
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Gail and Peggy
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Stephanie, Ann, Rosalie, Peggy, Sarah, and Chuck
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The Temple of the Goddess of Love (or Fertility) – a restored ancient temple high on the mountain
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Ann and I had lunch on a restaurant balcony and this was the view from our table.

Summertime Update

I haven’t taken a lot of pictures lately, but here are some from the past six weeks or so, with at least one from each of my four digital cameras.  Yeah, I know, but I love all four of them for different reasons.

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Ann in the Pool. (Taken with the Olympus E-1 and 14-54mm Zuiko lens)
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Bird Feeding in Coal Run. (Canon EOS M with 18-55mm lens)
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Sunflower in the Front Yard. (Canon EOS M with 18-55mm lens)
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Early Morning from the Living Room. (Ricoh GRD III)
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Hills and Fog from the Deck. (Fujifilm x-10)
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Rainy Morning near Hazard. (Canon EOS M with 18-55mm lens)

A(nother) New Start

Mug Shot #1

Yes, it’s another new start with a new blog.  I haven’t been happy with what Blogger/Blogspot has been doing to my pictures, always assuming it knows better how they should look and ramping up the saturation and contrast.  And I just wanted something simple, and WordPress seems to excel at minimalist layouts.  So, anyhow, here I am, planning to do new posts weekly or so.