The hotel at the foot of the French Alps

It was a very hectic and physically-exhausting two weeks, that of moving our furniture and stuff which have been kept for six months in a Storage Space somewhere in the south of France.

We have accepted the fact that this would be a costly endeavour: driving thousands of kilometers on the road, spanning three countries and an island, staying each night in hotels and eating out. We have been very lucky though with our accommodations and ultra hospitable hosts, thanks to the 3G phone of H, we were able to book hotels at the last minute and usually, at much-reduced rates, and this, I tell you, is something I discovered in the process. Hotels do offer their unbooked rooms at throwaway prices, which is still money going to their books rather than zero if they leave them empty.

One of these hotels that really blew us away is this Bed and Breakfast place that made us re-live the photos I see only in Home & Country magazines.

For the impeccable service, the friendliness of the hosts, the sumptuous breakfast and of course, the cozy rooms that enabled us to rest our completely tired muscles, we felt it highly embarrassing to pay the low price they advertised it for, so H took it upon himself to give extra just to show them our deep appreciation, and of course, a very good review will be posted online into their website, hopefully, to help attract more guests.

View from the terrace


A cozy bedroom and, guess what?…books about my favourite French photographer Robert Doisneau (his famous photo, The Kiss at the Hotel de Ville)

… and more books for guests-families

Attention to detail is what impressed us of this hotel.

dolls for little girls are waiting to be cuddled

It’s perched on a hill so lots of stone steps to be negotiated but for guests with reduced mobility, a stair lift is provided

Morning has broken as breakfast is waiting for us outside

a choice of warm viennoiseries such as croissants, raisin bread, pain au chocolat

plump peaches and plums

cheese, ham, homemade yoghurt, local honey, fresh orange juice…..and a big bowl of brewed coffee!
Yes, that’s how the French drink their coffee…in bowls!

Non-funzione? Just enjoy it!

– Just one of the “non-funzione” (“things” not working) phenomenon of Sicilian life –

Hello H

I took the bus this morning hoping to go to that Computer Shop next to the supermarket to buy the microphone.. .. But holy cow! the buzzer of the bus is not working so I didn’t have the chance to signal the driver (I was near the far end of the bus) that I wanted to go down. Anyway, with my old Italian lady seatmate, she told me the bus is bound for Fontana Bianca (a beach resort) and Cassibile. Soooo…I just sat on my seat and enjoyed the sights of the provincial scenery of Siracusa and the beach of Fontana Bianca – which is filled with sunbathers – from my window. Cassibile is just a market town and could be interesting to go for a provincial lunch when you are here.

So after one hour of bus sightseeing, I returned to Siracusa with the thought of buying the microphone from some Lampedusa boys*.  But holy cow again!  They’re gone as it was already past 1 pm.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I shall go to one of their stalls next to the Sunday fish market and attempt to buy one.

So, in short, we’ll continue to skype text tonight…as still no microphone.

Take care…M

(*Lampedusa boys are the boat people who brave the dangerous waters of the Mediterranean to find new life in Europe via Sicilian coastal towns, the famous of them all is Lampedusa)

The Oleander trees of Siracusa

Nerium Oleander in Latin. Laurier Rose in French. Shrub or small tree. Fragrant flowers that come in white, pink, salmon, red….They bloom from the early days of Summer till the end of autumn and grow abundantly in the Mediterranean. Sicily is in the Mediterranean.

In Siracusa, they are revered like the saints. So that when one Oleander at Corso Umberto, one of the main thoroughfares of the city, was run over by a bus last month, and the fallen tree disappeared the next day, it was on the front page of Siracusa News. To this day, the mystery of its disappearance has not yet been resolved.

Anyway, I just couldn’t help but notice them today when I went for a walk. They’re everywhere, turning the city into a park of oleanders.

A TV shoot just by my window

The tv serial, Sicilian Romance, is still shooting in Siracusa!
I first had the chance to see them filming by the seafront last month, and now, they are actually here, just outside our apartment!

(See “The Making of a TV Shoot”)

I could have easily photographed them from my windows (those you see in the background) but my movements might get recorded on camera!

These carabinieri are actors, too

Their role is to keep walking back and forth around the “accident scene”

They have closed the streets around us since midnight last night just for this shoot and will remain closed to traffic till 6am tomorrow.
I guess this “accident victim” actor will have to be in this horizontal position all night!


I thought she is an “extra”!

No, they are not actors, they are part of the audience.

Freshening up the actor’s make up in between Takes.

The cameramen