Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An afternoon in Aci Castello, Sicily

Buon giorno

My travels continue.  I am now in Italy and I am staying in the ancient seaside city and commune of Aci Castello in Sicily.  Aci Castello is just north of Catania on the Mediterranean Sea.  The streets are narrow and the beach is rocky.  Not surprisingly, it's scorching hot here in Sicily.

The city was built around a castle which was constructed by the Normans circa 1076 (You can see it in the background of the photo above).  The castle is now a museum.  The beach is located in the borough of Aci Trezza.

Church of San Giovanni Battista

The Church of San Giovanni Battista, in Aci Trezza, holds a feast in honour of St. John the Baptist every June 24th.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Travels in France: Saint Emilion and Cognac

Saint Emilion

Bonjour mes amis.  Greetings as I continue my sojourn through France.  I spent yesterday morning in the quaint wine-growing town of Saint.Emilion  Saint Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located 35 kilometres (21.7 miles) east of Bordeaux.  This village can only be described as a jewel.  Its history can be traced back to prehistoric times.  There are wonderful Romanesque churches and amazing ruins. Here are some photos I took.

In the afternoon, I visited the town of Cognac and toured the medieval castle of Jean-Baptiste Antoine Otand. Baron Otand established a French cognac house in 1795 and the company has since remained in the hands of the same family since.

Chateau de Cognac is birthplace of King Francis I of France who was born there on September 12, 1494.  Cognac, of course, lends its name to a variety of brandy produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town.


A section of the castle served as a prison during wars.  The prisoners carved their names and various images on the on the limestone as you can  see in the photo below. 



- Joanne

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Greetings from Paris on Bastille Day

Vive la France!  

It's July 14th, the national holiday of France, and here I am in the City of Lights.  The French capital was in a festive mood today. After enduring some tough economic times, this proud nation feels a need to relax and celebrate,  On a special Sunday, everyone enjoyed the sunshine and the culinary delights of this most romantic of cities.  There is nothing like French food.

I visited Notre Dame Cathedral, strolled through the Latin Quarter and took an evening boat ride on the Seine River.  The Eiffel tower was lit up in all its glory.  I wish you could all be here with me. Since that's not possible, here are some photos below.


Notre Dame de Paris