Ronda and Kathleen
The trip for Kathleen and me to Sicily was excellent.
The 2 hotels quite good especially the last one, Algila Ortiga Charme Hotel as they assisted us in whatever was needed even to getting a doctor to come to our room to administer antibiotics for my sinus infection. Pharmacies in Sicily had also been helpful up to that point. Sicilian people are very nice.
We missed our flight out of Rome and the Italian contact for Cultural Italy were helpful in notifying the hotel that we might be late. As it turned out, we did get to Palermo in time for the afternoon walking tour. However, we were without luggage until the last night in Sicily but we made it work. We are flexible and again the Italian person with Cultural Italy was in constant contact about our luggage. We are thankful she assisted in getting it returned.
The drivers were excellent in every case and the longer rides allowed up to see the variety of county side. They were also prompt and usually even early. Some spoke English and enjoyed sharing information.
The city tour guides could not have been better, sharing with us a huge amount of information, but also making it clear they were at our service for whenever we wanted to stop and do or see. We experienced traditional foods whenever possible. Food in the hotels were quite good with huge spreads for breakfast. Traditional soups at the Grand Hotel in Palermo were the best I have every eaten.
The excursion by Etna Experience was a highlight. We lucked out with a guide/driver who has a passion for Etna that is amazing. She is training to be a volcano expert (volcanologist). Actually, all of our guides had higher degrees. The 2-1/2 hour climb on Mt Etna was a challenging and exhilarating experience. As I was trekking with 6 people less than half my age, I loved being able to keep up. Putting on hiking boots (loaned to us) and climbing brought back memories from my days in the high Sierras of CA. The picnic lunch afterwards was good. It would have been good to understand in advance what was involved with the excursion – for example we could have brought water with us.
The Egadi islands were good to see. The boat was full of lots of people and the speaker’s English could almost be understood. Again, the lunch was fine – challenging for them to serve so many people aboard the boat. The trip allowed us to see another part of Sicily.
The short visits in the towns of Trapani and Cefalu were nice to see. Towns with tourists and shops for them to buy things. We did not walk out to see all the sights/ruins a Trapani but instead enjoyed the beautiful vegetation and sea views.
Emanuela, you have again planned an excellent trip for us. I feel like we saw Sicily!
Ronda and (Kathleen)