Tag Archives: Photo

Beach report: Isola Bella

Isola Bella is a delightful most-of-the-time island at the foot of the hill that leads up to Sicily’s famous tourist trap destination, Taormina.

I was at Isola Bella on the 5th of November this year! My cousin Maddie was visiting with her darling friend Lindsay. This was on the tail end of my parents’ visit, and they even overlapped a little bit in Rome. You can see Lindsay and Maddie chatting in photos in this post.

In Sicily, Maddie and Lindsay had enjoyed mid-upper 70s at the height of the afternoon warmth for several days. On the 5th, we decided to test our luck by planning a beach day. It never warmed enough for full sea immersion, but we did relax on the pebble beach and shared a few laughs. What more could a simple woman ask for?

-Photo by Lindsay Boggs via Instagram
Isola Bella
Sicily 2012

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Maraton on Punkus!

An advertisement I saw while wandering the streets of Tartu, Estonia.


After using the visual cues in lieu of translation, I am pretty sure it is not necessary to be a flight attendant or pilot to participate. I do think rollerblades are required. Also, duly noted that gender stereotypes are consistent between Estonia and the rest of the EU and the US. I really hate that.

Tartu, Estonia
August 2012


Filed under 5-100, Travel

Tartu Town Hall Window Box


Tartu Town Hall, Tartu, Estonia
August 2012

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Under the Thursday Sun


Uno (1). Great speed workout at the gym. Unfortunately I pulled my groin muscle a little bit.

Due (2). Yoga session. I got some good stretching advice for that groin – what timing!

Tre (3). This delightful article of men parodying female stereotyped advertisement poses.

Quattro (4). We got a call from Fleet & Family Support Center – our Amici are ready! I feel like we are getting a huge gift. The center searched to find a couple who are open to befriending us and chatting in Italian, showing us their Sicily, and sharing our version of the US lifestyle.

Cinque (5). Bought a hammer to replace the one lost in the move. The strangest things make me happy.


I have oodles of gorgeous photos from last weekend’s Ottobrata outing that I want to show you, and not a lot of time to update my blog posts. Photos take the longest, so I am going to share short bursts of brilliant color with each day’s post to keep you as enthralled and enchanted with Zafferana as I am. Let me know which photos you enjoy and what aspects of Sicily interest you and I will whip out my beloved iphone and capture small bits of Sicily to share with you. As they say at Blog-wiser*, this blog’s for you!

*Blog-wiser is a fictional place in my imagination.

Here is the simple logo of the event. These green borders marked the food, craft and sundry booths at Ottobrata.

The weather teetered between ominous and sunnily stunning. Here you can see the white tent-tops of the food booth. The weekend’s theme was “funghi” or mushrooms, and the food booth was selling funghi risotto for 3Euro a plateful.

First, I had to obtain a ticket! To do so, I went to the “cassa” or cashier, and paid with a 20Euro. She asked if I had any “moneta” or coin money to spare her from making change. Seems festivals the world over have the same issues – making change is a pain!

Next, I watched the chefs at work as I stood in the stereotypical Italian line. Quite a bit of jostling for position. My tip to you: make eye contact! Italians may push from time to time, but they really value relationships, so as soon as you make eye contact or share a laugh, they are charming and accommodating – even in lines!

Finally! I was rewarded with a steaming hot plate of yummy rather good satiating risotto.

The texture of the risotto (a rice product) was good – firm but yielding to the tooth, and the sauce was savory, if a bit runny. Yet, there were too few funghi and the overall effect was that of eating hot mac-n-cheese on a cool autumn day: comforting and filling, if not flavorfully satisfying.

Ottobrata was still a wonderful festival. We spotted the Slow Food booth at the end the day and decided that the next weekend we visit Ottobrata Zafferanese, we’ll start there!

Until tomorrow…

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Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.

Big news. Big. HUGE.


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Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

Welcome to the winery.


  1. Stayed sober after getting the gentle let-down of being passed over for the job I recently interviewed for.
  2. Made lemonade out of disappointment-lemons by telling another military spouse about the job opening.
  3. Created a stay strong outlook with “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child on my playlist and “You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down” by Alice Walker in my hand.
  4. Listened to my Italian Songs playlist, a gift from my newlywed friend Ashley.
  5. Check, check, check, check, checked all the boxes on my to-do list!

Keeping perspective in the face of disappointment is difficult at the best of times. Going on five hours sleep, functioning without your partner, and resting your hopes of paying your hefty student loan bills on the outcome, disappointment can feel overwhelming. At first. “*Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” It is normal to feel disappointment, hurt and angry. Yet, these flashes are temporary states of emotion. With practice and perspective, I can weather such storms by keeping my eye on the sparkling vision of an engaging vocation and financial stability; which is so pretty, why waste time dwelling elsewhere? Forward!

*Recently, I’ve read that Haruki Murakami is credited in some places with this quote or with referring to it, though it is also a common spiritual edict in eastern religions, and more frequently in western phillosophies.)

Since I passed on the opportunity to open up my own “whinery” yesterday, I decided it was high time I shared these enchanting photos I snapped at the Bagliesi Winery outside of Agrigento on Sunday. Enjoy!

Now, we’ll take an imaginary step back in time with the help of the Hipstamatic.

Take a moment to stop and see the vines.

And finish with a lovely path down which your mind may wander…


Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

Roam (not Rome; well, at least not yet).


  1. Delicious pastry, perfectly light, airy, and flaky layers, studded on top with crystals of sweet sugar, and filled with a perfectly bittersweet chocolate. Each bite was a mini-explosion of sugar bomb in my mouth. Although I typically favor a savory breakfast, this was an awesome experience.
  2. Ferragosto parade (started around 8 am to beat the heat; passed our hotel around 9am) – the holiday’s official date is August 15th, but it is really a month of holiday and festivals and celebrations in Italy. The beaches are packed, many shops are closed, and there is a festive atmosphere in the air!
  3.  Nicolosi! Nicolosi! Nicolosi! – this door to Mt. Etna is an adorable small town that charmed me completely.
  4. Gelato! I have eaten my favorite gelato of the trip so far. It was from Gran Moritz Gelateria, and I mixed “canella” (cinammon) and “fruta di bosca” (fruit of the “forest,” aka mixed berry). Mmmm, yummy! (See pictures in next post.) This is the first time I saw soy gelato offered. I did not choose it this time, but may have to try it for research purposes in the future.
  5. Dinner with friends. Tonight our friends from orientation hosted us for a delicious dinner, starring homemade eggplant parmigiana! It was delicious and we had fun meeting their children and visiting.

Roam if you want to/Roam around the world…” was playing at the gym today during my workout and I was singing along happily, still entranced by my new adventure. Later in the day, as I was driving, it dawned on me that this is my home for the next three years. Three years. Home. I spent three of the most challenging and fun years of my life in law school and this is going to last three years, too. I will have three years to take on the challenges here; three years to find out how I fit into Sicily.


Here are some pictures of the Ferrogosto Parade, Dave took these photos from our balcony. Because they carried the float (rather than hauling it by horse or car), they paused every 1/4 – 1/2 block and played music, visited with each other or visited with the neighbors who came down from their homes.

Look at the detail on the float – real flowers on top!


Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

Chicchirichi! (“kee-kee-REE-kee”) Or, cock-a-doodle-doo!


  1. Went to the Fish Market in Catania (see photos below).
  2. Bought bags of fresh produce:  tomatoes, figs, nectarines, limoni (no distinction between lemon or lime here), onions, basil, oil-cured olives, mortadella (a meat similar to bologna, but a bit more refined and with delicate flavor, our purchase was studded with pistacchio), ricotta salata.
  3. Ate my first fresh fico (fig) in Italia.
  4. G-chatted with my cousin Maddie, who is living in Prague.
  5. Watched “Il Postino” (great movie; slow and beautiful development).

“Chicchirichi!” says the rooster. “Miao,” says the cat. It is fun learning the animal sounds in Italian, even by necessity. We have a rooster. A block away from our hotel lives a rooster who crows every morning. And now, we have a kitten rooster – Panther. Yes, every morning, around 4:30am, Panther wakens us (and anyone else with ears) with his imitation rooster call. We’ve tried ignoring it (sorry neighbors) to no avail. Today is Italian Kitten Academy, Day 1; topic: “Il Miao.” We’ll cover the “hungry” miao, the “thirsty” miao, and the “ball play, please” miao. No more rooster crows!


And now, for some Fish Market pics…

Yes, that is a swordfish. She’s welcoming you to the market!


See that man in the black t-shirt? See the red guts he is swinging away from the swordfish? Yep, those were the innards.


Here’s something a little more appetizing, a smorgasbord of seafood – yummy!


Scooters, and sea urchins.


And, to finish things off, a lovely selection of shellfish.


I like the motion in this picture, it gives me a slightly woozy, disoriented feeling when I look at it. And, that’s sorta how I felt after walking through the market.


Ciao, bella!


Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo., Kitties