Tag Archives: tree

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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When to get married in Malta: Seasonality

Maltese brides and grooms tend to play it safe when it comes to their wedding. Even if you are not a bride-zilla, you would most likely still not want a rainy wedding day as this would disrupt all your plans, be it traffic, wedding venue and dirtying your oh-so-white wedding dress! Funnily enough though, we don’t always think of the pros and cons that each season in Malta comes with!

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No snow in Malta, but you catch my drift!

Spring:
The weather starts changing from cold to warm
Happy guest mood since winter is over, and soon it is time for summer
A lot of fruit and veg are back in season, which means more variety when it comes to your menu
The grass is greener! And the flowers start bloom. Needless to say this will enhance your wedding photos, and no doubt, the floral choice for decor is at its best.
Allergy season (this was the only reason why I couldn’t go for a Spring wedding!)
Children are still in school, which might cause certain parents to not attend your wedding

Summer:
Risk of rain is close to none
Longer days, breezy evenings
If you are choosing Malta as your destination wedding, it is more likely that guests will attend as they can combine the wedding with a holiday, and the kids are off school
Summer season is the most popular season of all. If you are very specific on dates and venues, you have to plan very much ahead. Two years minimum, but three years ahead is advised
Noon summer weddings should be illegal. It is crazy to say the least!
Peak wedding season. Guests might choose to attend another wedding, not yours

Autumn:
Milder weather, ideal for noon weddings
The changes of the colour of leaves and trees makes for a magical and romantic background to your wedding photos
Children are back in school, which might cause certain parents to not attend your wedding
Risk of bad weather

Winter:
Classic and traditional Christmas themed weddings are amazing
Availability of venue and other suppliers are abundant
Cheaper deals on venue and vendors due to being off season
Noon weddings are appropriate as days are shorter
Brides have more dress options
✗ Bad weather is likely
✗ Wedding photos outdoors might be a bust due to weather conditions
✗ Festive season might discourage guests as they might rather spend it with close family
✗ Guest may be short on money as it is Christmas season

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Favourite things

We all have our passions and our favourite things in life.

I think I have always made it clear with all those who know me, that nature and medieval / gothic buildings are close to my heart; my inspiration. It kind of ties in with why I enjoy traveling so much, and why it is one of the few things in life which relaxes me and make feel at ease.

Fact: at least two thirds of my photos on social media cover these topics,  so don’t act surprise on what you are about to read!

When I bought my 300 year old house,one of the things I fell in love with is the courtyard. Although not huge in size, it is very homey and it had one gorgeous tree which flowers so many times a year. It felt like it was my own private garden. I was so happy to have found such a serene and beautiful place.

In the past 3 years, I have kept the yard as green as I could, considering that I work full-time and my gardening knowledge is not the best around. I have maintained and kept alive all the plants which came with the house and added a few new ones too!

Too many times, I have had tea outside, admiring the calm and peace of my safe place. At times, even birds came by.  My little peace of heaven!

bougainvilleaBut this week, the unthinkable has happened. My beautiful bougainvillea tree was snapped from the bottom of its trunk due to the winter winds. And now, I feel like I have lost a part of me. I must say, it has been a shitty start to the new year. The courtyard feels so empty now, and what’s worse is that I have spent three days chopping down this gorgeous healthy, full grown tree. It’s painful that I have to do this; putting it into boxes for the bin-man to take away in the morning.

And for those who think I am being dramatic, imagine that your favourite thing in the world is broken and is irreplaceable. (you will not find the exact replica) How would you feel then?

Of Tree Spirits and Fascinations

I think, that as a person, I hold a very strange obsession and fascination towards trees. It is not something that bothers me, in fact to the contrary, I love it. I find it very pleasant and relaxing to spend hours walking in the countryside and admiring all the gorgeous trees in the environment I am in.

I must admit, I have hundreds of photos portraying trees and close-ups of branches contrasting the sky. If you are curious, have a look at my Instagram profile, here.

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Sometimes I even wonder if in my past life I was a tree… Or a tree spirit….

Have you heard of Nymphs?
Nymphs are female spirits of nature in Greek mythology. They are protectors of all things nature; springs, mountains, grottoes, trees, the sea and rivers.

Depending of where they resided, the Nymphs are as follows: Dryads (forests), Naiads (springs and rivers),  Oceanids (the sea) and Oreads (mountains), Limoniads (meadows), Limniads (lakes, marshes and swamps), Meliads (ash-trees), Epimeliads (protectors of sheep) and Napaea (valleys and glens) etc.

Nymphs are not considered as eternal creatures; although they lead a long life they are fated to die eventually. The male version of a nymph is the Sat.

My top 3 Nymphs:

  • The Dryads are the female spirits of nature who take care of the forests. Once born, dryadeach one is born and destined to one particular tree, which she watches over all her life. In some cases a dryad lives within the tree and are not tree spirits. These type of dryads are called Hamdryads. In both cases if the tree perish, they will die with it. If a mortal kills the tree, it is said that the Gods will punish him for the said deed. The dryad, as the protector of her own tree, would also punish a mortal should they cruelly injure their tree.
  • The Oreads; from the Greed word oros, which translates to mountains, are the nymphs of the mountains and grottoes. It is said that these nymphs would come out in joyful and rather loud groups to hunt animals and birds of prey with their arrows.
  • The Naiads are fresh water nymphs. They are said to preside over streams, springs, fountains, lakes, ponds and rivers. The Naiads were considered to be very loyal to their body of water; to the extend that if it were to dry up, they will die. The water which is taken care of by the Naiads is believed to be endowed with powers; be it inspiration, medical or prophetic. So much so, that these nymphs were continuously worshipped by the ancient Greeks for fertility and growth.

 

 

 

 

Chester Christmas Market 2015

During my latest travel to the UK, between the 19th and 24th of November, we came across the Christmas Market by chance. It was a lovely surprise as Christmas Markets have always been a pleasant memory of mine, of the time when I lived in Stoke-on-Trent and went to Birmingham year on year for this particular event.

When we made it to the Christmas Market, the place was already buzzing with people looking and buying items. The decorations and a sense of happiness from the people, really put me into the Christmas vibe. More so because the day was rather cold (it even snowed in the evening!). Cheese with cranberry bits and the cheeky mulled wine helped in all this too.

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This year, the Chester Christmas Market will last a week extra – In fact it will be open 7 days a week, from 10am to 6pm for just over a month. So make sure you make your way there any day between the 19th of November and 20th of December for some fantastic gifts, ranging from home-made stuff, to food and high-end items.

More information can be obtained by reading here and here.

Sliema Stroll

Yesterday I spent most of my day in Sliema. Due to the excessive amount of cars and traffic in the area, I did not manage to park in Sliema, but rather I parked in Gzira. Although I was not so happy at the time, as I worried I’d be late, it turned out to be quite a pleasant walk. The promenade was not full of people yet; I guess they were either lazy, or because it’s still May… (not summer yet!)

The sky was as blue as the sea. Thankfully, even though sunny, there was a pleasant breeze which I really appreciated throughout the walk.

Most of the people who know me, know that I am not someone who goes to Sliema so frequently; or voluntarily for that matter. The reason I was there, is because I had to meet with some friends for a bridesmaid shopping spree. Good news is it was successful, and we later celebrated with a few cocktails at Quisisana! Yay for the happy hour until 4pm! 🙂

Sliema Promenade
Sliema Promenade