Tag Archives: mountain

Erice-Craze

The primary reason why I wanted to visit Sicily, was Erice. For those who have visited, they would agree with the steffisays-sicily-erice-castle-ruins-venus-venere-castelloimportance of visiting such a place, and others are curious to know why. Erice situated on top of a mountain, is a medieval fortified town with breathtaking views. You can go for a walk in the cobbled streets, for food, shopping or to indulge in its historical importance.

When we got there, it was very difficult to take it all in – I could not believe that after so many years dreaming about it, I was there in the flesh. We spent a good hour just walking aimlessly enjoying the surroundings. Although it was still April, Erice was buzzing with tourists.

Highlights of Erice:

The views
The below pictures can speak for themselves. Since Erice is so high up, you can capture beautiful photos with the castle and the wondrous beaches all around.

Castello di Venere
Although now in ruins (which date back to the Norman Period), this castle enjoys views all around. It is built on the top-most part of the castle. The reason behind its name which translates to English as the Venus Castle, is due to the fact that at the very spot there was the temple of Venus Eryx, dedicated to the Italian love goddess; mother of Cupid.


Giardino del Balio
As the name states, this is a garden, well sized  and definitely relaxing. It is situated very close by to the castle and towers, which means it’s busy and with gorgeous views. If we had a lot of time on our hands, we would have definitely sat down on the benches and watched the world go by! Unfortunately time was of the essence since we were in Sicily for just five full days, so we had to get on with the next attraction!

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Toretta Pepoli
Built on the slopes of Mount Erice, one can find a small castle which was built in the 1800s. This property was used mainly for meditation and was later on abandoned. In July 2014, it was re-opened again after several years in restoration. One now can visit to admire the architecture and of course the views.

Tasty Sicilian Nibbles
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, I recommend Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, for the typical Erice sweet: The Genovesi Ericine! We also enjoyed Cannoli Siciliani from there, and I can tell you, it was hard to just choose two from their vast variety!

Photos taken by myself while in Sicily. Kindly seek permission before re-using.. For more photos visit my Instagram page.

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Schloss Drachenburg

Built in the 1880s, Schloss Drachenburg is a fairy tale castle. The architecture is full on romantic Gothic, with spires, the style of a medieval cathedral and a beautiful clock tower. It stands on a hill above the Rhine River, with beautiful breathtaking view of the said river.

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A story from the German folklore says, that Siefried has slayed a dragon up on this very mountain, which the castle gets the name from. Drachenburg, translates to Dragon’s castle in English. The actual story of this castle is however less glamorous as it was commissioned by a rich stock broker. Funnily enough it was built in two years, yet recently a 15-year restoration was completed for 31.5 million euro.

Completed in 1884, the castle started off as a private villa, then was converted into a museum, which later on was used as an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys. To this day, you can still see holes from the US artillery fires, as they smashed the stained glass windows and facade in the last months of the war. It was at this time that the Nazi schoolboys decided to stop resisting against the americans.

The inside of the castle is full of German art and craftsmanship.

See below, some photos I took of a day well-spent in the Dragon’s castle.

Such a dreamy castle!

So Many People Make These Mistakes With Their Trip To Canada: Don’t Be One Of Them!

Canada is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. After all, it’s one of the most picturesque places you can go with dozens of lakes and mountains. And the cities are fantastic to take a look at with so much to see and do. However, so many people make mistakes with their vacation to Canada. Here are some things you should avoid doing when you make a trip to the country!

They don’t travel around by bike

You will be surprised how many people have to pay out to rent a car while on their holiday. But it’s often an essential while in Canada as you want to get out exploring while you are on your vacation. However, you should consider hiring a bike instead. While you are biking, you get to view amazing sights around you. Biking instead of going in a car means you can get to more secluded areas where you can see beautiful surroundings. Also, having a bike is so much easier to get around the cities such as Vancouver. Therefore, don’t make the mistake of hiring a car when you can get around much easier with a bike!

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They think it’s the same as America

A lot of people group America and Canada together as the same place! But it’s not the same, and the rules differ. For example, you won’t be able to use your dollars in the country; they have their own unique currency (Canadian dollars). They also have different rules to the USA when it comes to drinking. A lot of places you can actually drink at 18, unlike our rule of 21. Also, not everyone speaks English in Canada. A proportion of the people in America speak French, so it’s best to learn some basic words for your trip. Also, just because you are American, it doesn’t mean you can legally get into the country with just your passport. You might need to apply for an Official Canada eTA so that you can make a trip to the country. You can look online to see if you are required to get one when traveling from your state. You don’t want to end up stuck at the airport as you don’t have the right documents!

They think everywhere is within close distance

Did you know that Canada is actually much bigger than America? It has fewer people living there, but there is a lot more land! In fact, it’s one of the largest countries in the world. However, a lot of people don’t realize that, so they head to Canada thinking that everything is within close distance. But you need to check exactly where you are staying and how far away things are located before you book. For example, Vancouver and Toronto are actually a five-hour flight away from each other! Therefore, choose wisely where you want to stay. If you want to enjoy Niagara Falls while on your trip, you should choose Toronto. That way, you can enjoy famous landmarks like the CN Tower, while only being an hour and a half away from the magnificent waterfall.

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And don’t just stay in the cities while you are in Canada. There is so much more on offer in the beautiful countryside.

Moel Famau Lovin

I must say,  I didn’t go mountain walking / climbing since my time in Conwy back in 2012, and I really did miss the challenge and the panoramic sights they tend to offer. Imagine, how excited I got when I was asked on going to a Moel Famau excursion!

A little bit of history about Moel Famau;
Some say, that Moel Famau is not a mountain but a hill, as it is not elevated enough – but being the highest of all Clywdian range (formerly known as Flintshire range)… I’d like to think that it gained mountain status at 555m up high! It is situated in a country park area near Loggerheads which is right between Mold and Ruthin in north Wales. The literal translation of the mountain name from Welsh to English is the Bare hill of mama.

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The experience itself was fabulous and lots of fun; must admit, there were moments that I did not think I will pull through, as I am not as fit as I was a couple of years ago; especially when it comes to walking uphill on wet terrain. It is a bit of a struggle!

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The views across the peak, the woodland  and the company of two Border Collies made everything all the more worthwhile. I admired the dogs running up hill and back to us, making sure we are always by their side.  At the very top of the mountain, there was a glimpse of snow on the ground, and the raindrops turned into snow flakes. It was magnificent, I was very happy! 🙂

More info here.

Thoughts and Dreams

Last night I was going through my stuff and I came across the leaving card my ex colleagues in England gave me. I reread all the messages and it made think on what could have my life been like if I never left.

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I am still in love with all things British and sometimes I fear I have made a bad decision. I love being close to my family and friends but I miss the green, the nature, the events, the sense of peace and calm in my
stoke life that only that country seems to give me.

With all things going in my life.. especially the house and the cats it should totally feel like I’ve settled down. But truth be told, I wish I could be in two places at once. Or perhaps I can live some of my life here and some there.

But for that to happen I need to be rich or be in a situation were I can work from anywhere in the world and actually afford such comfort.

Now that I have put this on paper I hope that I can put this thought to rest; At least until two months time when I will be travelling to South Wales, London and possibly Kent. God I miss you!