Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jesus and Nemo visit Santo Stefano di Camastra (a ceramic town)

This past weekend we took a day trip to Santo Stefano di Camastra to buy a very late wedding gift for Florrie’s nephew. We all knew what we wanted to get but couldn’t find anything that really appealed to us.                      


Our day started with a check of our favorite mountain and then our favorite breakfast, cappuccino and cornetti.

While we were waiting for our breakfast, we met two handsome young Sicilian men enjoying a typical Sicilian breakfast of granita and brioche. Graziano and Andrea were kind enough to ask us to join them.

Mentre stavamo facendo colazione, tipica siciliana ...a base di brioche e granita ,abbiamo conosciuto due ragazzi del posto , Graziano e Andrea....molto gentili ed ospitali....infatti non ci hanno permesso di pagare


After arriving in town we saw this little Vespa. I sometimes think it would be fun to ride around on one of these, but they scare Florrie so much she won’t even think about, even when she is carrying ‘the Jesus bag’


There are no pictures of the first place we went into but it had all kinds of beautiful ceramics including the gift we bought for our nephew. It had the Sicilian look we wanted and there was something special about it.


Chris and Florrie checked out a fantastic ceramic shop where they bought something for themselves. You can see some of the beautiful work of Dani and Francesa of Cermiche Noma behind them. Nemo and I are, of course, not for sale.

Chris e Florrie sono andati in un bel negozio di ceramiche dove hanno comprato alcuni oggetti per se stessi. Si possono ammirare alcuni lavori di Dani e Francesca , dietro di voi . Nemo ed io non siamo in vendita....evidentemente.

Here is a picture of the plate Florrie and Chris bought. Someday they will hang it on their wall. We all love the ocean, especially Nemo. This was his favorite item in the store.

Because Santo Stefano is a ceramics town there were ceramics all over the place;

on the walkways,




on the walls,



at the bus stop,


and even on the trash cans!

There were other interesting spots there as well. This little piazza had a plain but beautiful church and bell tower.


The bell tower was straight, Florrie took this picture after drinking a glass of wine with her lunch.

There was a cozy little courtyard,



some interesting archways,



and panoramic views!



Last but not least we had a delicious lunch with friends from school at Trattoria da Giannino. I had seafood, Nemo did not. I tried to tell him there is a time and a place to eat seafood but he says it is too much like cannibalism for him.

This image is from the travel Italia web site.

Nemo and I plan on more day trips with our friends Florrie and Chris, we’ll try to be better about sharing. Until next time arrivederci.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Jesus and Nemo go Medieval

As some of you may know Florrie has been joining the Anest-Rayot family at Pennsic War during many of her summers. Here is link in case you want to learn more about it:

Chris has spent some time there too, but this year only Florrie went. She took Nemo and me along. We were surprised that Chris allowed us to go, as he will have to get a job as a postman if Nemo gets lost, and there is no telling what might happen to a man who allows someone to lose Jesus! 

This is what happened to one woman who lost track of people she was responsible for at Pennsic. Florrie does not like anything on her head and does not want to have to go through life (or death) with that ridiculous veil so she was very careful of us.  

Florrie and Chris’s grand daughters were delightful children and enjoyed mentoring us for our first Pennsic. They took us to some classes and made sure we experienced many of the interesting and education activities available.


For our first class we learned how to make medieval pinwheels. It was a lot of fun and they worked wonderfully!







Another day we all learned to make butter.  One terribly rainy day we stayed in our pavilions playing games and making butter. Later, we made a delicious dinner, which of course included bread and butter.

The girls took a hood making class, this was judged to be very important since we were having a practically rainy Pennsic.


All of the camp kids were proud of their new hoods.

Florrie and Jess took Nemo and me to a lamp making class one night. We made our own lamps and enjoyed using them around camp.


Nemo and I learned about Medieval air conditioning, because when it wasn’t raining and cold it was hot and steamy.






We also had the unique opportunity of watching a knight repair his armor. Luckily I was watching over Nemo as he almost got hammered, and not by a shark!


We also had the opportunity to enjoy some Middle Eastern dishes. The Middle East holds a special place in my heart.



Do you see that basket and the string hanging from the handle? Well, Florrie learned both of those handy skills at Pennsic. She is proud of that basket even though it is rather wobbly. She made the string too. Most of the skills learned at Pennsic help make life there easier. Florrie has also learned to make beads using glass rods and a blow torch, how to bake bread in an open pit and numerous other medieval skills.

There are times at Pennsic when cloaks are terribly important. It can be very cold or you could run into royalty; we had to dress properly. Florrie made cloaks for Nemo and me. She let us choose the fabric. Nemo is more of a follower than a leader so he went along with my choice. I am always trying to teach people that the world isn’t black and white, but for some reason I thought these cloaks were really spiffy.





One day the girls decided to show us an interesting little building they had found.



I did not ask to have my palm read. Nemo did, he was told there was a silly blue fish in his future.




There is large market here where you can buy just about anything you need to survive in these crazy medieval times.


armor for the well dressed knight,


dual purpose socks,


and naturally, a catapult.

This is one of the girls favorite merchants, they buy their special medieval shoes from him every year.

You can buy clothes there also but our camp is lucky, practically everything the Anest-Rayot clan wears was hand made by Jessica.

Nemo and I had other interesting experiences. We got to hang out in a merchant display lording it over a medieval town.

One day we actually met His Grace; Damien was very gracious. It was an informal meeting but very important as he was on his way to prepare for battle.

A highly enjoyable event for us was sitting around the campfire making s’mores. The girls started early making sure that Nemo and I were ready.

We enjoyed our medieval experience very much and hope to do it again some time.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jesus and Nemo move to Sicily

As we told you in our last post, our friends Chris and Florrie got a transfer from Germany to Sicily. First we thought we didn’t get it, and then all of a sudden we did. The move was rather hurried and stressful. Our last full week in Germany was spent in a cute little apartment above a restaurant in a local village.



We had a great view too.





Our last night (New Year’s Eve) was spent with our good friends Chris and Pete Yost. In the morning we started out on our three day drive to our new home.


The first day of the trip we drove through Germany and Switzerland and then into Northern Italy where we saw a very adventurous person.

Those of you who have been to Italy before will recognize this symbol. For those who haven’t it’s an Autogrill where you can get better cappuccino then anywhere in the states and some pretty fantastic sandwiches and salads too. 




The second day of our trip we drove through some of our favorite regions in Italy; Tuscany and Umbria. As you can tell by the picture we didn’t stop in Tuscany, we were on a mission!


We did stop in Orvieto in Umbria for lunch. Actually, with the help of our good friends the Yosts, we got through the last step of selling Chris’s CRV there too. We figured driving in Italy is crazy enough that we didn’t need a car with the steering wheel on the right hand side, Nemo was always nervous in that car.


Our next stop was in our very favorite place in the world, Gaeta! Not only did we spend the night there but we spent it in our old apartment. Nemo and I were treated like kings.      P1020735We had a delicious dinner with the best ever roasted potatoes. Our hosts, the Harkers are friends we met while living in Italy. Being the smart people they are, they moved into our P1020737place when we left.

Anyone who visited us in Gaeta has this picture, now we do too!


The next day we had our morning cappuccino and cornetto in our favorite Italian bar (which is not the same as other bars) with our favorite Italian barista, Erasmus.


He remembered us all and was very happy to see us. He was happy to hear we were moving back to Italy. We continued our drive through southern Italy, stopping at our favorite olive oil place on the way down and driving through some thick fog.


Finally, after almost three full days of driving, we made it to Reggio di Calabria where we took the ferry over to Messina in Sicily.



Now we are busy learning about our new home. Here is a little information for you: Sicily is an autonomous region of Italy. It has been conquered numerous times and so has been influenced by many cultures. Some of these cultures are

the Arabs,


the Greeks


and the Romans.


Sicily is a country where you can get some of the best food ever, whether at an Autogrill, a restaurant, or a truck!



This is a great restaurant in Siracusa (actually Ortigia,the ancient part of Siracusa). It is called Dock and serves marvelous sea food.

You can find one of the ten oldest trees in the world here on the slopes of Mr. Etna and absolutely fantastic wine sold in recycled water bottles!


You can visit an erupting volcano and cute little coastal towns.

140615 ETNA 7!DSCN7586

If you are lucky you may even find a home with wonderful views!


Sicily is a beautiful country full of friendly and caring people.


Until next time Ciao!