The Gas Station of the 50s

Gioiosa Marea, Sicily


Your credit card doesn’t work here.  You pay always in cash.  You can even get a full tank on credit if you have been a loyal customer.  No self-service.  You wait for the gas man to serve you, but you have to wait for your turn as the queue could get so long.



And yet, it is the most wonderful gas station I have ever been!


You don’t get bored as you can watch passing ships or enjoy the blue Tyrrhenian sea while waiting for your turn.



You get your tire aired from the comfort of your seat, yes, without moving an inch!  (Are we still in Europe, hello!!)

And while this gas station refuses to keep up with the 21st century, the most high tech cars are still very much welcome!

Ma, solo contanti per favore! (But, only CASH please…)

Sicily, the land of the Fiat 500

Okay, I should have written, “Italy, the land of the Fiat 500″ but believe me, it’s only in Sicily where I have seen the highest number of these unbelievably cute little cars plying the roads!

And I said “unbelievably cute” that they always make me grab my camera to take a shot of them, even from our moving vehicle!

It is old yet it is classic, and it is H’s dream to have one, actually!  Hope we could stumble upon one For Sale, then our Sicilian existence would be complete….

The chrome bumper is a gentle knock-out…

They come in delicious colours..


and baby-ishly handsome faces..

Parking is a breeze, especially on Italy’s narrow roads!

 An elegant sunroof

..or roof rack for travellers, no place for the suitcases otherwise..

but despite old age, rust, bumps, flat tires…they are very much sought-after

Truly a car to die for…


Home Sweet Home

Yes, we’re back on this island to finally pursue our long-time dream to relocate to Italy. Very soon, we shall be moving to our apartment somewhere, but meanwhile, enjoy the colours of Gioiosa Marea in Northern Sicily.

A picture-postcard beauty..


The beach season has began!


The wooden shuttered window , how creative they were in those days..


Since it’s Saturday, passeggiata is also done before lunch here in Gioiosa Marea.

Couldn’t resist the temptation of taking this photo of an artificial flower vase!

The tourist season has started, this bar will be filled up soon!

This island is truly exotic!

For those who are not interested in gardening, just let nature takes it course! It works!

Even the flowers of weeds are staggeringly beautiful!


Olive blossoms….
yes, this is the olive branch which symbolizes peace, and the soon-to-be olive fruits which is the fruit of life

Of course, no trip to Gioiosa Marea is complete without having our favorite (pre-lunch) apperitivo.
Every single nibble you see here is done with gastronomic flare – only in Sicily!

Up close…..guess how much we paid for this includng the two bottles of Messina beer…..3.60euros, incredible!


The world we live in

At home
Ile de France


Whoah! my tulips, after 50 days, refuse to wilt!  Must be their shaded situation.  The tulips of our neighbour across the road has wilted much, much earlier because they were exposed in plain sun!


Last tulips left standing…..

The most beautiful Judas of them all – this Judas tree!

I recently posted photos of  rapeseed fields of England and northern France, voila, this one is just outside our house!

Rapeseed plant up close

Our neighbour’s peacock rarely comes out in the open, but when it does, every passing car stops just to say hello to it!

Very Italian: The Passeggiata

If I have to choose the Top Five of the thousand and one things why I love Italy so much,  I would definitely put the “Passeggiata” in Number 3!

“Passeggiata” comes from the Italian verb, “passeggiare” meaning, to stroll or take a SLOW walk.

In Italy, doing the Passeggiata is a ritual observed in every village or town, by Italians of all ages, of all walks of life, and it is done particularly during weekends, after 5pm when the sun has set , lasting till 8pm where some would go straight to a local bar for their drinks and nibbles (“apperitivo”) and the rest would rush straight home where mama’s cooking is waiting at the table!


The Passeggiata is part of Italian culture that even the local authorities adapt their urban planning to incorporate a long avenue dedicated for the evening promenade of practically the entire population and the Polizia Municipale  ensures  the closure of that road from motorists, putting barriers and patrolling the area so that the promenaders can do their stroll in utmost peace and security.





It is also a social event where people meet up with friends to catch up with the latest news or gossip

Practically the entire population prepares for this special late afternoon stroll

 and I mean, all ages! no excuse for the Nonos (grandpas) and the Nonas (grandmas) and even the newly-born..

which is also a chance for mothers to share parenting tips, perhaps

Women put on their best shoes as if they are going to a show or some ceremony

That is why shoe shops are very popular in Italy.

Everyone are dressed to impress!


Even Fido joins in the fun!

Hairdressers are definitely doing roaring business before the passeggiata hour..