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Manly Beach – Sydney

In my few days in Sydney, I have experienced sudden shifts in weather and realized the most cloudy sky still holds hope for a sunny day! A trip from Darling Harbour, Sydney, to Manly beach is a pleasant forty minute ride and one can enjoy a beach in the ferry landing cove or on the opposite side beach on the ocean.

Darling Harbour Pier 26

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House

Fort Denison

At ferry landing spot local kids enjoy diving

Manly Beach

Walking from beach back to ferry landing

A Stroll through Hyde Park – Sydney

What a refreshing place on a hot summer afternoon to walk and relax in Hyde Park.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Bondi Beach – Sydney

When at the beach, who needs words?

Encountering Koalas

A visit to Wild Life in Sydney offers a close up look at many Australian wild life, but I was enchanted by the koalas!

Sydney Opera House

When planning my visit to Sydney, I knew that the highlight of my visit would be not only to visit the iconic Sydney Opera House, but to actually enjoy an opera performance at the Opera House. On February 7th, 2019, I did just that when I attended the performance of Turandot, by Giacomo Puccini. What an exceptional evening in Sydney!




Koala stickers to mark on a world map from which locations audience comes


Inside the building





Photo of stage  at performance intermission


Lights celebrating Chinese New Year – Year of the Pig- around the Opera House



Halloween in Sicily?

Last year, on November 2nd, I wrote about A Festa ri’ Morti, Celebration of the Dead, the holiday held on November 2nd in Sicily to remember loved ones who have passed on.  To learn about the Sicilian celebration “A Festa ri’ Morti” you can read the post  found on this blog in the November 2017 archives.

Today is October 31st and all around us here in Sicily are signs of a celebration which is not a traditional one of Sicily.  Today, in Sicily, Halloween is being celebrated.   In Sicily, Halloween has only existed  for about a decade and it is certainly not a traditional celebration of the Sicilian culture.

Why are Sicilians celebrating Halloween?  Mass media have certainly played a major role in this event.   Through mass media and social media, many customs not in the tradition of the land have been introduced. As Halloween has been approaching, it has been interesting to hear the comments of so many people around me here in Sicily.  The majority have expressed a dislike for celebrating Halloween stating that it is not a traditional practice in Sicily and many feel it is just artificial.  All around the shops one can see signs of Halloween, as in the photos pictured below.

Following is an excerpt from an article found at on the history of Halloween;

“Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) is a very important date in the Pagan calendar for it marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc). It is also celebrated by non-Pagans who call this festival Halloween.  Samhain has been celebrated in Britain for centuries and has its origin in Pagan Celtic traditions. It was the time of year when the veils between this world and the Otherworld were believed to be at their thinnest: when the spirits of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Later, when the festival was adopted by Christians, they celebrated it as All Hallows’ Eve, followed by All Saints Day, though it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead.”(

Halloween and A Festa ri’ Morti may approach the same topic from different angles, but the point remains on who believes traditions are important in the culture itself where they belong.  The many Sicilians I have spoken to  who believe in keeping authentic cultural traditions alive  with their appropriate practices vote for “A Festa ri’ Morti” on November 2nd.  These folks do not appreciate celebrating Halloween because they know that the Halloween traditions are not part of the Sicilian cultural heritage.

Sambuca di Sicilia

When traveling inland from the Southwestern Coast of Sicily, the Mediterranean Coast, up North to Palermo, the main Highway to travel is Highway 624.  This highway can be reached from several Southern towns on the Southernwestern Coast, towns as Sciacca or Porto Palo di Menfi.

When traveling on Highway 624 one can make a stop on the way, driving slightly Eastward it is a short drive to the town of Sambuca di Sicilia.  This is a pleasant drive  through the countryside and when you make this trip in the Fall, you  can enjoy the scenery of vineyards adorned by their Fall colors.

Vineyards on the way to Sambuca di Sicilia

sambuca road vineyards



Sambuca 2

Hillside views from Sambuca

Sambuca 6

Following are just a few images captured  around the city.  At the entrance of Sambuca is a statue in the shape of a harp; some say it refers to the Greek musical instrument from which the town draws its name, Sambuca di Sicilia.

Sambuca 3

Typical desert of Sambuca di Sicilia, “Minni di Virgini.”  A view of a section of this dessert.

SAmbuca 4

Whole “Minni di Virgini” – the pastries are filled with cream, chocolate chips, candied fruit and a secret ingredient that no one will share!

SAmbuca 5

There is a food festival held each year, called la Sagra di’ “Minni di Virgini”, taking its name from these pastries.  The Sagra is held on the third Sunday in May in conjunction with the celebration of the Patron of the City, Maria Santissima dell’Udienza.  The Maria Santissima dell’Udienza Church is pictured below.

Main entrance

Chiesa Maria Santissima dell'Udienza Facciata

Interior of the Church

Chiesa Maria Santissima dell'Udienza interno

Chiesa Maria Santissima dell'Udienza Sambuca

In closing, a sculpture found in Sambuca, the artwork of a Sicilian Artist from Palermo.  It is the sculpture of a snail and it stands to represent the slow lifestyle of the population in Sambuca.  The name of the sculpture is, Babbaluciaro, dialectal form of snail, a term often used to describe the people of Sambuca.


Lumaca Sambuca Square