Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sicily - Thursday, September 10

The ship docked in Giardini Naxos, Sicily on the Thursday morning and the view at breakfast was gorgeous. Didn't feel like moving!

Breakfast

It was very hot and a little hazy that morning!

Taormino 1

We decided not to visit Mount Etna (that's it hidden behind the white cloud in the picture above) as the forecast was for rain that afternoon. We really are such wimps.

This port was small so the ship couldn't dock and we had to use the tender for the first time! Here it is from the deck above. No we didn't have to reach it from that height! I just wanted to see how bumpy it would be but it was very calm!

Tender

We just walked around the small seaside town of Giardini Naxos that morning.

You can see the volcanic rock here on this beach.

Rocks

There was a nice looking little hotel along this very quiet street. I loved the tiled entrance and although small and only 2* is family owned and it has it's own beach. If I went back think I'd stay here.

Hotel
Then we decided to walk back along the main promenade. It's a bit of a tacky little place but had its own charm.

Beachfront

It had a few private beaches belonging to hotels and clubs
and some public ones. Here's one of the cleaner public ones.

Cruise 427

Cove

Here's a family who found a quiet spot. Well not for long! Look who's coming!


Senegalese

Well, well, here they are again selling their wares. I've seen them just about everywhere I've been on holiday in Europe. Rome, Barcelona, Rhodes and now Sicily. They certainly get around. Haven't seen them at home yet but then again I don't exactly live in a tourist resort.

Even though it's not a classy resort but there were some quite nice little restaurants along the sea front but they were all deserted. It was pretty hot so we had a seat and just watched the world go by.

Now here's something we saw that surprised us. This woman just parked her car on a zebra (pedestrian) crossing even though there numerous car parking spaces around. Talk about lazy and selfish!

Car park

Here's something else that's a little out of the ordinary for us. Not sure what it was looked like a memorial. Just look at those rocks it's set into.

Chapel

Other things we saw a few times were these, commemorating anniversaries. A much better idea than just sticking a notice in a local paper. They were posted in a few places around the little town.

Deaths

As we were getting near to the place where the tender was going to pick us up we looked back and saw how the darker clouds were coming in. That's why I didn't want to go to Mount Etna, there's no shelter there. You'd think living in Britain I'd be used to rain wouldn't you.

Well when I'm on holiday I avoid rain like the plague. When we went to Rome a family of Americans thought we were crazy because I didn't want to go to get the Pope's Sunday blessing. Well it was tipping it down and yes I'm a Catholic but I make no exceptions for anyone!

Taormino 2

Just look, there they go again, living on the top of those mountains. Now I have no idea why they want to live up there. It won't even be peaceful.

I keep wondering whether they are they expecting a tsunami or something? Well it is an area of earthquake activity so maybe they're safer up there.

Next stop, Sorrento!

Post 130

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Memories

poppy

A two minute silence was observed at 11.00 am GMT across the country today. The silence is observed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and marks the moment that four years of war ended with the signing of the Armistice Treaty by Germany and the Allies.This year was particularly poignant as it also marks the passing of a generation. The last of the British World War I veterans died during the year.

Today in Westminster Abbey a special Armistice Day service was held following the deaths of Bill Stone who was 108, Henry Allingham 113 and Harry Patch, 111.

I was wondering whether whether any other countries mark this signing of the armistice with a two minutes silence. It certainly seems to be increasing in the UK with shops, offices, factories, schools etc falling silent. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq perhaps make us realise how peace is never really with us and also how grateful we should be that people gave up their lives so we can live in freedom.

Dame Vera Lynn singing We'll Meet Again is probably the most memorable World War 2 song in the UK and the Commonwealth. The Forces Sweetheart was only 22 when she first recorded it and is now the grand old age of 92.She toured Europe and The Far East during the Second World War providing a much needed boost to the morale of the forces. The song was popular not just because it was a great tune and she was a wonderful singer, but because it lifted people's spirits in a very dark and frightening time.

I was born towards the end of World War 2 and when I was little, this was still a very popular song. We had very little money to go on holiday and so I used to go on bus day trips with my grandparents to York, Edinburgh, Scarborough, The Lake District and other popular places in Scotland and the North of England. On the way back the people always used to sing popular songs of the day and some from the Wars. We'll Meet Again is one I always remember and it brings back lots of happy memories of those times.

Dame Vera stopped performing in 1999 so at the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday in The Royal Albert Hall, Hayley Westenra performed the song with the Fron Male Voice Choir. You can see the performance below. At 2 mins 49 seconds the video screens show Vera Lynn singing and some wartime film of Allied troops. She attended the Festival and you can see her right at the end of the video. She is still very popular.




Surprisingly sales of a CD she released last month, - The Very Best of Vera Lynn made history as she became the oldest living person to top the UK album chart. Not content with that, her record company is releasing a new single of We'll Meet Again for Christmas. They've used the original version of her vocals and added the Fron Male Voice Choir to it. She'll be going head to head with the single of whoever wins X Factor. Normally that single wins because of the music downloads generated by the programme. However we'll see!


It was good to see that this year Hayley Westenra and Dame Vera Lynn jointly launched the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal which aims to raise £31 million to support the Afhgan War's generation of wounded and bereaved.

Post 129

Favourite Places

Durham Cathedral There are some places you visit and they stay with you, they're so special.  This is mine! I've blogged abo...