Tirana – the city of bunkers

Albania was never on our list of ‘countries you must see before you die’, but it was unavoidable on our way to Greece and we couldn’t resist stopping for a Byrek at least. For all those don’t don’t know what Byrek is: Byrek (also called Börek, burek, or lakror) is a family of baked or fried filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough. However, Albania offered much more than Byrek.

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Sorrento – the land of mermaids

The kids were delighted when we told them that we are going to the town of mermaids. The name of the Sorrento city means exactly the Land of the mermaids. We got down to the beach looking for mermaids, but there wasn’t any. They probably moved to the luxury island of Capri. We wanted to visit Capri too, but the boat tickets were very expensive. We had to pay 37 Euros per person for only ten minutes long trip. It was easy for mermaids to get there when they don’t have to pay a ticket.

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Amalfi coast – hell’s road to heaven

Driving along the Amalfi coast, from Positano to Salerno, is both frightening and enchanting. It is frightening because of its roads with many bands. It is enchanting because of its breathtaking sea landscapes which draw attention from the road. I had to warn my husband hundred times not to look aside while driving.  – It’s not safe. I will enjoy the view for you.

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Bologna – a town of towers

Pisa is famous for The Leaning Tower, but Bologna is known as a town of towers. In the past, there were about 180 towers. It sounds like almost every family had a private one. We wanted to climb the top of the highest tower in the city center made up of 498 wooden steps (Torri Degli Asinelli e Garisendabut), but the tower was temporarily closed. Anyway, it would take us a few years to climb up there with the kids.

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Ferrara is not about Ferrari

When I first heard about Ferrara, I thought that it was famous for Ferrari cars. Ferrara – Ferrari! It sounds logical, but there is no connection at all between the luxury cars and renaissance town. Ferrari is produced in another Italian city, Marinello, and Ferrara is a bike town. What makes Ferrara really special and so different from any other Italian city are its bicycles. 90 percent of the population rides bikes, like in Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

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Modica – the chocolate kingdom

Sicilian people actually must be grateful to their Spanish invaders because they brought from Mexico the cocoa beans and a recipe for this chocolate from the Aztecs in the 16th century. This ancient Aztec technique of making divine chocolate is still used by generations and generations of families in Modica.

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Etna: Another planet!

We are among those people who live with their head in the clouds, but this time it wasn’t just metaphorically. We were literally in the clouds while we stood on the craters of the active volcano of Mount Etna. Fortunately, the lava was sleeping peacefully that day. We told the kids to be quiet so they would not wake it up. They took it pretty seriously, so we had a peaceful and relaxed time on Etna. We were amazed by the power and magic of this place.

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Seven days in Palermo

We have heard that Sicilians often get angry when tourists mention them in the context of the mafia, even in the joke. We didn’t joke about it.  We spent seven adventure days in Palermo without meeting mafia, but we had to deal with police in one situation 😉

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The city of Gods: Agrigento

The famous valley includes the remains of seven temples. The Temple of Concordia is one of the best preserved from the Greek age in the world. The children didn’t value the fact that these temples resisted earthquakes and weather over many years. Instead of admiration, they complained that these ‘old buildings’ have no roof. To invoke some interest for the roofless temple, I told them that people were bringing all kind of things to the gods to please them.

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Catania – a city made of lava

Located beneath the Etna Volcano, Catania was destroyed by several volcanic eruptions and earthquakes and finally rebuilt in the luxurious Baroque style. They used lava for building the city, so it is mostly in dark grey. I admire people who still live beneath volcanoes knowing that it could activate?!

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A Family adventure in Noto

Noto is one of the most famous film locations in Sicily. One scene in Antonioni’s famous movie, ‘L’avventura’, takes place on the terrace of the San Carlo’s bell-tower in Noto. Gabriele Ferzetti and Monica Vitti. It was a fantastic place to see things; literally and emotionally.

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Visiting Messina with kids

If you have a coffee at noon in the Piazza Duomo and not expect to hear roaring, you could be a little frightened and think that a lion has fled from the zoo. We felt like that for a moment. It sounded so real and impressive.

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Mom the Muse

The Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts. They exist even nowadays and people call them Moms. You can meet the modern kind of muses in the story Mom the Muse.