Tag Archives: vacation

Egypt: Red Sea: The Masked Pufferfish

We had the opportunity to travel to Port Ghalib, Egypt, for the third time.

The place is amazing. I will write more about it soon.

Here is one of the new great photo in our Red Sea collection:

PG2014_masked pufferfish

The Masked Pufferfish

ps. click on the photo to see it enlarged.

More stories and photos coming soon – stay tuned ūüôā

Beautiful countryside in Sicily: Floridia

We have been to Sicily, Italy, a few times. Sicily offers so much to see and enjoy. The island is beautiful.

Etna, the active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, the yellow lemon fields, the green vineyards, the small but amazing beaches, the historical and old citys and fabulous small villages not to mention the beautiful countryside Рthey all create a fantastic scenery, which you will love.

Etna rises high next to Catania airport. Etna is tremendous.

ps. click the photos to view them in a larger size

Etna Sicily

The green vineyards seem to go on forever.

Sisilia viinitarha

Last time we rented a house in Floridia. It is found just 12 kilometers from the historical city of Syracuse. Syracuse lies next the to sea, the magnificient Mediterranean. The buildings in Syracuse are so fascinating, you can spend a whole day just admiring them.

Syracuse

The town center of Floridia¬†is not as fascinating as the city of Syracuse. Here’s one photo we took when strolling in the town.

Floridia city_2

But there are many nice places in Floridia. We found a neat coffee shop and enjoyed a double espresso, a glass of cold water (it was 39 C!) and a delicious chocolate pastry. All this costs only a few euros. Amazing.

Coffee shop in Floridia

The owner of the rental house, in the beautiful countryside outside Floridia,  was Salvo. He was in our eyes as Sicilian as one can be. Short, friendly and skin as dark as a roasted coffee bean. The colour of his skin came from all the long hours under the hot Sicilian sun. Salvo worked outside most of the day. He also had a beautiful horse, which had won many prizes.

Salvo spoke Sicilian, which is not the same as my basic school Italian. I understood every fourth word he said, but we got along great.

Floridia house owner

The house we rented was great. It was bigger than we needed, but as it situated in a great area, next to Syracuse, and the price was fair, we decided to rent it.

Here’s a photo of the front of th house. As the day temperature was often almost 40 C, it was nice to have a place in the shadow. It was unusually hot for the month of June.

Entrance to Floridia house

There was a large patio on the roof, where you could dry your laundry or just admire the scenery. We admired the scenery. We had our binoculars with us and also a great camera.

In this photo you see the driveway to the house. You can also see all the way to the next small town, up on a hill.

View towards Solarino

We had a huge swimming pool in the¬†backyard. This is how it looked seen from the roof ūüôā

Floridia_swimming pool

More stories to come. Stay tuned ūüôā

 

Italy: Ardea, chickens and learning Italian

A MYSTERIOUS HENHOUSE

One morning during our refreshing morning swim, we heard chickens cackle.  There were lots of trees and bushes around the pool. And behind them we saw huge fields. Where are the chickens?

Ardea 2_ puskat altaalla

After a few minutes of looking around for the secret chickens, my husband jumped into the small forest.  And he found a small henhouse. I then jumped in to the forest too.

Ardea 2_kanat 2

I am a city woman. I have never seen a henhouse. I saw ten chickens and one rooster. The rooster was so suspicious of us, the hens were not. They were happy to see us. It was a fun moment. A neat moment.

We wondered when the eggs were fetched. Maybe so early in the morning that we did not see or hear anyone in our garden.

Another funny thing was to find Danger signs in the bushes ūüėȬ†Still wonder¬†what was so dangerous in the bushes…

Ardea 2_pericolo

A FROG LIKE A FOOTBALL

What is better in the morning than a huge dead frog ? ūüėČ After breakfast my husband cleaned the pool.

When I came to the pool area, ready to enjoy another perfect day by the pool, I had surprise waiting.  My husband said I would never guess what he had found.  He showed my a huge dead frog. It had drowned in the pool. We buried the frog.

Ardea 2_frog

AMAZING DINNERS

Ardea is a small city. We searched for a neat restaurant, where to enjoy nice small dinners. We found two close to the house. The frist one was a pizzeria. We tried it twice. Then we found Le Pietre Antiche, and ate there often. A small hotel, with a small restaurant and fabulous food. And friendly people and aervice. We enjoyed our time there.  So did the locals. The restaurant got full quite fast after opening at 8 p.m.

Ardea 2_Le Pietre Antiche

The fish dishes, the pasta choices,¬†the squid and the pizza… they were all excellent.¬†When we arrived before 8 p.m. hungry as we were, we were always welcome to sit down and have something¬†small to eat and drink.

Our waiter was a great Italian gentleman. It was interesting to discuss with him. He liked to share his thoughts and learn more English.  We liked to share our thoughts and learn more Italian.

We were happy to visit Le Pietre Antiche in the evening, after some happy and enjoyable hours by the pool.

MrMrsHurmerinta

Sometimes I cooked dinner at the house. I love cooking.  In Italy you find great ingredients for anything you want to cook.

Salsicce is a tasty sausage, maiale is pork, vitello is veal. Sea bass is in Italian  branzino.

sea bass

When you would like to enjoy sword fish, order pesce spada. Octopus and squid come in various sizes. You can ask for seppia or calamari, or choose the big one: polpo.

polpo

When you want to order a steak, the waiter will ask you how you want it. If you want it well done, say: vorrei la carne ben cotto. If you like medium steak, you say: vorrei la carne non troppo cotto.

To get a bottle of water, you ask: vorrei una bottiglia di aqua, per favore.  White wine is: vino bianco. Red wine is: vino rosso. Tomato is: pomodoro and onions is: cipolle. Peach is great for dessert, so ask for: pesche. Ice cream is: gelato. Bread is: pane. When you would like some chicken, ask for: pollo.

The Italian ham… is something else! It is the best in the world. I love¬†prosciutto di Parmasta¬†(air-dried ham from Parma). I also like very much¬†prosciutto cotto¬†and¬†prosciutto crudo¬†(tasty Italian ham)

prosciutto di parma

I bet about everyone knows mozzarella, but I mention it anyway. The best type is: Mozzarella di Bufala.

Always say:¬†per favore¬†when you ask for something. It is important to be very polite in Italy. And why could we not do that in other countries and languages as well ūüôā

When you leave a store or a restaurant you say:  Arrivederci, which means goodbye. If you know someone, you can say: Ciao!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy: Historical Lucca

We decided to visit Pisa, Italy, and rented a small house in Montemagno. This small village lies up on the hills, just 10 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.

Montemagno house and the view towards the Med

Our small rental house was so close to the sky, sometimes I felt I could touch the sky.

ps.¬†to enlarge the photos, click on them ūüėČ

Haukka taivaalla

Houses on the mountains

The weather was mostly awesome: sunny and warm. After enjoying a few days by the pool, we decided to drive to Lucca.

Swimming pool in Montemagno
Lucca is a city in Tuscany, situated on the river Serchio. It is famous among other things for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.

Lucca_2

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC.

If you arrive early in the morning, you can find a parking slot within the city walls. Otherwise you have to leave your car outside the walls.

Lucca_3

The atmosphere within the walls is old, beautiful and fascinating. You see small allies, old buildings, beautiful churches and neat cafeterias.

Lucca_5

After the early morning hours, the tourist invade the city. If you like peaceful hours, come early. If you like crowds, come later ūüôā

I love special small shops. This one was my favorite “Gastronomia prodotti tipici”

My favourite store in Lucca

I bought veggies, capers, cheese and wine… and in the book store closeby I found a few great books.¬†We read a lot. Everyday. Small shopping is great shopping.

When the tourist rush started, around noon, we headed back towards our home in Montemagno. But first I had to take a few more photos and climbed up on the city walls. It was such a  beautiful view, towards all directions.

Lucca_1

Driving away from Lucca we enjoyed the countryside. And I must say, Italy is a very beautiful country. Toscana looks like this:

matkalla Luccaan

This is Italy_2

Toscana countryside_photographed from the car

I can warmly recommend Pisa, Lucca and the countryside.  Fly to Pisa, book a hotel room in Pisa or rent a house in the mountains. You will love it.

The Med_Viareggio and the mountains

Egypt – a pearl among the travel destinations

I have written a few short stories of our trips to Egypt (Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and Port Ghalib) as well as posted a few posts about the superb and fantastic underwater world in the Red Sea.

Picasso fish at Port Ghalib

Egypt has some terrific places for anyone interested in an exotic culture, sun bathing, swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Great sphinx of Giza

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them.

At the moment there are vacation flights from Finland to Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Sharm el-Sheikh is also a very popular and interesting area. We have been there once. I can recommend to visit it. At the moment there are though no flights from Finland to Sinai area. Hopefully there will be some in the near future.

Elegant Unicornfish

 

We have fallen in love with Intercontinental The Palace Port Ghalib Resort -hotel some years ago. The perfect beach (private beach), the coral reefs, the sunny weather, the hotel, the friendly staff, the fabulous food, the sunsets, the splendid rooms and suites Рeverything.

Coming from the beach to the cafe area

port g ranta ja sukellusvene_1

The hotel beach is spacious and you can relax and enjoy the views.

A great day comes to an end at ICPG

You can also enjoy the wonderful swimming pools. A few of them are huge.

PG pool area

It is so true what the hotel’s social media posts say:

We know there will be days when you want nothing more than to laze by the pool as the soft breeze rustles through the palms … or gaze out over the waters of the Red Sea, which sparkle in the unbroken warmth of the sun all year round.

Happy people in the big pool ICPG

And if you like a unique and enriching wellness experience, you will be thrilled with the award winning six senses spa at the hotel.

I also recommend warmly to try snorkeling or diving, which ever you prefer. This beach is great, because¬†you can actually snorkel and dive in right from¬†the beach. You don’t have to travel far, unless you want to.

In the harbour, there are boats, which take you out to the sea on diving trips. There are also seascope submarines.

PG harbour

Those who want to enjoy shopping, a cup of coffee or a nice dinner, can stroll to Port Ghalib harbour, which is a nice place.

PG harbour cafeteria

So, in a few words, what are you waiting for?

Make a reservation and go enjoy a perfect holiday!

PG beach seen from the sea

Italy: Arriving at Pisa

We have travelled to a few Italian cities in the past years. We have visited for example Rome, Ardea, Anzio, Sabaudia, Syracuse, Floridia and Trevignano Romano.

In my early years, I visited Milan, La Spezia and Venice with my aunt and her Italian husband.

venice_shopping

There is so much to see and enjoy in Italy!

This time we decided to visit the area around Pisa. Finnair offers direct flights in the summer, which we appreciate.

The flight was an early one. We started with breakfast at the splendid Finnair lounge.

Finnair lounge breakfast before Pisa flight_2

In less than three hours we arrived at Pisa International Airport. Weather in Finland had been quite cold for the past weeks (11 C) so the sunny and warm weather in Pisa made us extremely happy.

Arriving at Pisa

We just had to take some pictures of the Finnair plane before walking to the arrival area to pick up our luggage.

Arriving at Pisa_2

As always in the past years, we had made a car reservation to Maggiore. As always the service was very nice and the car as well. We got an upgrade to an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. We love to drive an Italian Alfa Romeo along the Italian roads.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta from Maggiore

We like to travel to places where not many tourist have been. This time we found a secret hideaway on the top of the mountains at Montemagno.

ps.¬†to enlarge the photos, click on them ūüėČ

On our way to Montemagno_JH

The view from the yard was amazing. A small valley was followed by some high mountains and behind them lay the amazing Mediterranean Sea.

Montemagno front yard view

First photo of our backyard at Montemagno

To our surprise we had a white rabbit as a “pet”. We named it Osku. Osku followed us everywhere we walked in the front and the back yard. The rabbit was a lot of fun.

Osku_our rabbit at Montemagno

More news, photos and stories from Montemagno, Lucca and Pisa will come soon.