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Tunisia, Africa

November 29, 2018

We left Brindisi, Italy, and sailed south to Santa Maria di Leuca on the southern tip of the heel of Italy where we enjoyed the village-like atmosphere for several days while waiting for a weather window to cross the Gulf of Taranto. The overnight trip across the Gulf ended up being a pleasant motor-sail in reasonably calm seas and we arrived at the Rocello Marina the following afternoon rested and relaxed. That night we feasted on the best pizza of our trip.

We were glad to spend several days in the marina as the weather deteriorated with heavy rain and breaking seas splashing over the sea wall. Brian tried to walk to the end of the breakwater for some pictures but was intercepted by the police who said it was too dangerous. The worst part was that the marina lost power and the pizza restaurant was closed for the rest of our stay. We did brave the weather for the 1 km walk into the town of Rocello.

We took advantage of another weather window and made the overnight jump to Siracusa on the east side of Sicily where we checked into the Marina Yachting by the Old Town on Ortigia Island. This is a great location for exploring what was once the most powerful city-state in the Mediterranean and home to Archimedes and Leonardo da Vinci. It was Archimedes’ clever inventions that thwarted a Roman attempt to conquer the city over 2,200 years ago.

We started our road trip by heading north toward Mount Etna, the largest and most active volcano in Europe. We stopped in the seaside resort town of Taormina and visited the ancient Greek theater with its magnificent views of the coast and the volcano. We then drove up to Castelmola perched high on the cliffs overlooking Taormina. Not wanting to retrace our steps back to Taormina, we opted for a back road over the mountains where we didn’t see another car and were treated to beautiful vistas.

We eventually arrived at Castiglione di Sicilia set on a bluff on the slopes of Mount Etna. The town looks very medieval from the outside but our hotel was quite modern on the inside. We definitely knew that we were out of tourist season when first we could find a parking space, and second, we learned that there was only one other guest in the hotel.

Upon returning to Siracusa we stopped at a supermarket and provisioned for our winter stay in Tunisia. We filled two-and-a-half shopping carts with everything we thought we might not find such as cured meats, cheese, salsa, and so on. We loaded up the boat and headed down the coast to Porto Palo on the very southern tip of Sicily where we had to sail into the harbor when our fuel line became clogged. The next day we headed for Malta where we spent the night before continuing on to Tunisia, Africa, where we have a season reservation at the Cap Monastir Marina.

We have been in Monastir now for two weeks and are settled in for the winter. Our friends on Island Bound are here and it’s nice to have people to do things with. There is a Sunday BBQ every week where we meet other cruisers that are also wintering here. Tunisia is a Muslim country and a pleasant change from Europe where we have spent the last eight months. We are looking forward to our daughter visiting next month and giving us an excuse to explore Carthage, the Sahara Desert, Matmata Caves, and more.

Rocello, Italy

 

Siracusa

 

Road Trip

 

Tunisia

From → Travel

2 Comments
  1. Tod Asmussen permalink

    Hello Brian and Sandie.

    Wow, the history of old Europe sounds fascinating. Were you able to clear the fuel line? Reading from one adventure to the next is so much fun but even better is to live it!!!

    What time will you both be in the Bay Area? Would like to schedule my trip to San Jose and be able to meet you there.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. Until then, hope u find another great pizza place.

    Cheers, Tod

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • We plan to be home in February (weeks 1, 2, 3). Does that work for you?

      We are getting the winds from the French Alps and it is COLD! Jenn joins us Dec 21st for 11 days. Of course she will be our guide.

      Watching the markets! We need to discuss the situation in February. Make some plans.

      Say hi to everyone! SANDIE

      On Thu, 29 Nov 2018, 21:52 Brian and Sandie's Around the World Cruise, wrote:

      >

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