Blogging around the world: Tahira’s Shenanigans

  Blogging is about finding that right balance of personality, photography, fun and words to make others want to read and comment.   One of my favorite blogs which has found this harmonious mix is Tahira’s Shenanigans, which I accidentally came across while searching out travel blogs to inspire me and it is a real…

Sicilian’s flare for uttering profanities

When I was a child I had an Uncle who was terribly capricious, a real joker (he still is until this day) and he took great pleasure in teaching my brother and I all the colourful Italian swear words possible.  My Uncle thought it was all terribly funny and hoped we’d use them in front…

Postcards from Sicily: A glimpse of spring

  I managed to get a glimpse of the metaphorical 'Primavera' while jostling in the crowd at the Medieval parade as part of the Infiorata festival at Noto, Syracuse but I'm afraid I've seen very little of her since. I wonder where she has gone?

Postcards from Sicily: playing cards

  Sicilian playing cards are works of art. There are many versions around, these ones are Neapolitan and I picked them up at my local Tabaccheria. This is the ace of spades a wonderfully baroque angel holding a cascade of flowers and an Arabic vector. I grew up playing Sicilian card games and love the…

Why Italy will never be ‘normal’

Living in Italy for many years has made me fluent in many things. I negotiate the nuances of the Italian language, roll my ‘r’s’ with the best of them, I navigate my way around the kitchen with a respectable repertoire of Mediterranean dishes, I can steer my way through the traffic of any chaotic city,…

A Sicilian Summer with Brian Johnston

I’ve always been a lover of the travel writing genre, ever since my mother gave me a paperback of Bill Bryson’s ‘Neither here nor there’ which took me backpacking through Europe before I left high school. Since then I have made my way through many travel writing classics from Paul Theroux to Bruce Chatwin. Many…

So you’re married to a foreigner … an Italian perspective

What’s it like for a Sicilian to be married to a foreigner? Living in the south of Italy is very much like living in a Middle Eastern country, Sicily isn’t the south of the Italian peninsula but rather a northern state of Africa. Sicilian’s are very traditional and proud of their culture. An islander is…

Postcards from Sicily: Bomboniere Passion

I'm developing a passion for the Italian and Sicilian flare for giving out bomboniere for every possible occasion. Over the last couple of year's we've received a few from weddings and now the birth one's have started up. This little ball of pink is for the latest little girl on the block. For the record…

Postcards from Sicily: Gethsemane

I've always loved Sicilian churches prolific use of mosaics. Last summer I got to the church of the Madonna of Tindari (ME) and managed to sneak a shot of this beautiful image of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. These mosaics are like living breathing operatic scenes filled with life and drama. I think I'll…

Picking up a Sicilian vocabulary

Lately I’ve noticed a new development with my language skills. I think I’m going native. Many missionaries from past centuries wrote of how after years of living with a foreign culture and language they have felt like a constant outsider until the day when they realise their tongue has somehow assimilate elements of the local…

Clockwork Messina

A detail of the bell tower of Messina. I was looking through some old shots the other day and I loved the elegance of this shot, even if it was sweltering when I took the picture. The cockerel crows every midday and midnight in the Piazza Duomo of Messina. He begins an elaborate dance of clockwork…

Ten ways to tell you’ve been living in Sicily too long

1. I unashamedly buy my underwear at the markets. I used to be embarrassed at the prospect of buying undies and bras from market stalls, the idea of everyone observing me was once crippling. Now I don’t blink an eye and happily rummage around the lingerie stand. I also occasionally buy fruit and vegetables from…

5 things you probably didn’t know about Italy

1. Ask for a discount, cos you can! Its normal to ask for a discount on expensive items particularly jewelry, designer items and white goods. Ask for it, demand it and you will get it! 2. Be careful with technology GPS off the main roads and the autostrada has a tendency to take you off…

Blogging around the world: Homage to Barcelona

I’m really pleased to begin posting some interviews from my favourite travel and expat blogs as there are so many awesome bloggers out there that help you to virtually travel via the web. Our first stop is Barcelona, Spain which is the inspiration for English expat, search engine marketing consultant and super nice guy, Rob…

Secluded Sicily: Raccuja’s ghosts

I live a few minutes drive from the hometown of my maternal grandparents who migrated to Australia in the 1950’s. Visiting Raccuja is like seeing ghosts pass before my eyes, it’s a strange visceral experience. I grew up hearing my grandparents stories and it is emotional to find myself passing upon their footsteps. Even if…