Greg's Travel Diaries 2010

Sicily a summernight's dream

Cefalu, Sicily, Italy, Hotel Resort “Acacia”

12th June – 26th June 2010

Burnie & Greg were heading down south. This is the short summary of their Sicilian adventures.

You are very welcome to share those with them. So come on jump into the Air Berlin jet to Catania and let the fun begin…!

But dear readers we have to warn you against high expectations in serious descriptions. Always have in mind the authors are teddy bears…which means they write teddy bear style. Therefore you may often ask: “are they serious???”

Enjoy…!

 

It started with… an undecided bear girl standing in front of her wardrobe. Holidays always use to begin this way. Endless rows of males will agree immediately. I’m sure!

In the end she gave me an in my opinion huge case, remarking : “ Greggy I only took the essential clothes, the unnecessary things I left behind.” Absorbed in thought all these clothes originated before my very eyes! Panic got to my fur! What if the humans would think WE BEARS are completely unnecessary? Therefore I made my decision. I took the case in the sleeping room, opened it and then I poured out everything! What a fantastic feeling! Freedom is the right to wear as less as could be!

When I handed a small rucksack over to mum, I declared to her that’s all we both need for two weeks. This brought a happy smile upon my beloved humans face. Yes, you have guessed right, this gave her the opportunity for adding some more of her essential things! That’s life, ladies will always win this game I consoled daddy.

My sweet bumblebee, oh dear, she gave me a very strange look. I must admit this wasn’t unexpected, but nevertheless not nice. “Humans makes the rules for teddy bears my dear”, I casually said. But the rest of the day was done. Well, if this is the price I had to pay for accompanying our humans on their trip to Sicily, I think it was worth paying.

In the next morning my sweetie was as happy as could be! We bears were placed into mum’s rucksack, where we were holding paws during the whole journey.

Later on the plane daddy took us outside and we had a fantastic view down to the Alps. The snow fields were sparkling in the sun and we bears were very impressed. When we reached the coastline of the Italian mainland, clouds prevented more views. But when we landed we caught a nice view of the Aetna, the big Sicilian volcano.

After two hours drive in a mini bus (8 persons) we arrived at the gates of the fabulous Acacia Hotel Resort. What an overwhelming view we got coming out of the rucksack! A beautiful panorama view across tropical gardens, huge pool facilities and the amazing blue sea! A fantastic place to stay for two weeks!

 

We bears established ourselves taking over a part inside humans wardrobe. Burnie instructed me the way she wanted her clothes stowed away. A bear lady’s wish should always be your order. While the humans made a tour of the wonderful garden and pool facilities down to the beach, we found a nice place on the terrace/balcony. Holding paws we enjoyed a delicious fresh orange juice looking out for the hums.

We observed them on their walk around from our high point of view. “Aren’t we the luckiest bears Greggy?” Burnie looked into my eyes and I just answered with a soft kiss on her … nose!

When the humans returned from their walk around the resort’s area we made ourselves at home outside on the terrific Italian loggia. We enjoyed the pleasant view, comfortable seats, nice breeze and fresh mineral water.

Daddy talked to Burnie and me about playing on the beach. At home he promised us to help building a sand castle and bears. But now he had to destroy our expectations.

 

“Sorry bears “ he said, “ but the beach is really not what you would call a sandy one. There are mostly stones on the beach and even leading into the water. We regret, but no sand buildings will be possible. Mum and I even can’t get into the sea for swimming, because we can’t manage to watch our steps across the stones. Yes, we have special shoes, but they won’t protect us for bending our legs having a bad fall. Don’t be sad teddies.”

Stroking our furs he explained the reasons for this kind of Sicilian speciality of stony beach. Well...something about the stony beach:

“Sicily is a big island born in ancient times from huge volcanoes. The biggest one is still alive and 'burping' quite often. It's the volcano Aetna, located in the north/east of Sicily. It's a real big area and it took a whole day to drive around. Mum and I have been on the volcano 4 years ago and it's been very impressing. Busses bring you up to about 2,000 meters level and to go even higher up to 3,000 meters you need booking guided tours. We haven't been up to the top...it's too dangerous for our old bones… hehehe, and it's high expensive: about 150,00 Euro for 2 persons!

 

But back to the stony beaches around Sicily. The reason for the absence of fine and sandy beaches is the volcanic origin. You won't find a nice sandy beach on Sicily. But it's o.k. as long as a huge sea-water pool is there to have a swim or nice relaxing time.

“The first dinner buffet was excellent!” Humans told us about all these delicious food and we felt immediately hungry as a wolf. But “voilà, here comes your bear sized dinner,” saying so, daddy conjured up some delicacy treats for Burnie & me.

We had quite a few dreams this first night. When we woke up the other day, the sun was shining brightly on the blue sea! What an amazing view!

Burnie and I got seated on the loggia while our humans took their shower and made all those humans treatments humans essentially need for getting presentable to others of their species. Makes us laugh again and again!

Well, and then the busy day started with the breakfast buffet. Humans enjoyed this on the beautiful outdoor facilities of the restaurant.

They had to hurry up. At 9.30 a.m. the travel agency’s local guide had her welcome for the newcomers. Returning to our room humans presented two tickets for a bus tour to Palermo, the capital of Sicily on upcoming Thursday.

But then the activities must had to come to an end. Mum and dad changed their clothes into bathing robes. What a sight! I mean humans have nearly no own fur (only daddy has some hair remains on his head and sparse on his body) and a glance on them in their swimming clothes really made us bears burst into laugh!

We bears took place on the loggia and stared at the pool. When our humans came into view they looked like two swimming old seals! So funny honey! We sat there poking in each other sides not being able to stop laughing! Unfortunately we couldn't operate the video camera as this was locked inside the safe. Your entertainment could being guaranteed!

For the humans it was very comfortable just to come up to the room with their wet bathing robes and then taking a shower and getting refreshed.

 

Time came for when they went down to the restaurant for their first dinner. They had half-board and a comfortable table has already been reserved at a nice place. The buffet was amazing! You could find there all these various Italian delicious antipasti (warm and cold) followed by fresh homemade variations of pasta. The buffet seemed to be endless. One room after the other did refer to over boarding opulent tables. Every dish was homemade and freshly served and at once refilled by request.

There you could find different sorts of roast and fried beef, pork or chicken; various fishes, prawns and octopus followed by the soup of the day.

There is no doubt about: the highlight has been the dessert creations! Of course those changed daily and words cannot describe the masterpieces of the pastry cooks! Delicious...Sicilian "dolce" at its BEST!

Well, we decided not to repeat ourselves with the reports about the wonderful dinner buffets. They only differed from the day before in the food variants, not in the presentations.

 

From the first dinner up till the farewell dinner the order of events remained similar. Our humans went to dinner at 7.30 p.m. enjoyed their fantastic dinner including a bottle of fabulous Sicilian white wine and a big bottle of water. When they finished their dinner they either went outside and found themselves a nice seat in the garden or went upstairs to their room and got seated on the loggia. Every evening the hotel offered some life entertainment. The best place to enjoy these was the conveniences of the private loggia, lazy sitting on the comfortable easy chairs.

The daily evening performances were quite colourful. The program started with the appearance of a disguised

member of the hotel's entertainment crew. Giuseppe took care of the kids during the day at the hotel's Kindergarten. In the evening all these kids impatiently waited for him to pop up in his latest disguise.

 

For instance he appeared as Tweety or Sylvester, a pirate, a musketeer, an old Roman noble or wearing a historical Sicilian costume. The kids were invited to follow him either on a treasure hunt or other activities.

About 9.30 p.m. was the beginning of the entertainment shows. We laughed and were surprised by a magician who even conjured up a white rabbit. The little cutie looked so fluffy and tame. But we worried about its security. Mum and dad assured us that nobody would do any harm to the rabbit. Hope they are right.

The other night a young Italian rock group played quite interesting songs. Next evening a Sicilian traditional folk dancers group followed. And the program continued every night with another musician performance like a classical string group. Saturday was disco night and Marco acted as the disc jockey. The music...well, not quite our favourites, but the guests enjoyed dancing and fooling around in little quests and line dancing.

But one damage is still remaining since then: Marco's voice in the background of the old disco songs really did some harm to every ones ears. When "YMCA" is been heard from the radio we ALL get nervous as we're expecting the voice of Marco joining the singer..."YMCA...yeah..aha..." arghhhhhh!

 

Another member of the entertainment crew Vince (Vincenzo) gave a short Michael Jackson performance. Very good we must admit! When we talked to him the other day he surprised with the confession of being a member of 12 young men group performing a Michael Jackson show at Rome. He and his fiancé Sabrina are living at Rome and both are students at a dance academy there.

Well, you are wondering why mum has been able to talk to them so easily? The reason is funny and simple. Vince was born at New York and his parents were emigrants from a little Sicilian village. He just came over for visiting his Italian relatives, but then love came around the corner named Sabrina. That's the way life is!

The humans became acquainted with two German ladies, a mother at mum's age and her beautiful daughter, aged 26. On some evenings they enjoyed a nice long drink sitting at the garden facilities, getting entertained by the artists.

 

We think you've got a pretty good idea about our evenings at the beautiful Acacia Resort facilities.

But what about our days you may ask? Well, at this point it comes up ... yeah... it's time for a confession. Stay brave and being tough, here it comes:

Those lazy humans did...it's quite unbelievable, but nevertheless TRUE, NOTHING than having a good and relaxing time! Just finding themselves one of the camp beds in a nice shady place at the pool. There they prepared for a 'busy' day with books, I-pods and blankets. Every single day the same boring procedure! But they looked so HAPPY! They enjoyed themselves such a lot relaxing, reading, swimming, drinking water and cappuccino...!

We won't bother you with repeating ourselves so keep this picture in your mind when imagining the daily course.

But ONE highlight is worth to be talked about: our tour to Palermo, the capital of Sicily and the monastery of "Monreale"!

The bus picked us up at 8.30 a.m. in front of the hotel's gate. Then we drove straight to the huge monastery and cathedral situated upon this big mountain with the same name.

Oh my bear! There were numerous steps up from the parking lot to the city's centre and the cathedral "Duomo Santa Maria la Nuova". You had to pay for entering.

Our tour guide, a born Sicilian but raised up at Germany handsome guy, was very good informed. He was a professor for art and history and it was a pleasure to listen to him.

He explained all these paintings and coloured glass painted windows, but unfortunately we couldn't store these information into our small bear heads. Sorry!

The only fact we recall is that the Emperor Barbarossa (a German King of the Stauffer dynasty) was crowned there. He and his wife are buried at Palermo's big cathedral.

To be honest: we only remember old stones, musty air and many people!

 

Palermo is very noisy, dirty and the traffic is incredible! During the break, our humans found themselves a nice ristorante and we had some delicious ice cream bowls, cappuccino and water.

When it was time for hopping on the bus, we all were very happy to escape from the heat. The next and last aim was an unexpected scary one, the "Convento dei Cappuccini".

This monastery accommodates a macabre underground gallery with 8,000 corpses, most of them became mummies by the time.

The monks were setting up this burial gallery after the monastery's establishment in 1621. Monks, men, women and children are buried in separate departments. Mostly inside coffins, but the others are standing fully dressed up in their Sunday's best clothes along the walls like macabre puppets. Eeeekksss....

This special kind of burial practices was very expensive and only the wealthy people of Palermo could afford it. The families regular visited the dead corpses and changed their clothes. What a scary and macabre idea!

Because of hygienic reasons this practices were prohibited by law in 1881. But kept as secret burials some rich families continued until last century's early 20ties.

Burnie was still trembling when we drove back to the hotel. The humans had quite scary dreams the other night as well as we bears. No more scary monasteries!

After this macabre excursion we spent the rest of our holidays with business as usual: easy, lazy and comfy!

 

Two wonderful weeks at this beautiful resort came to end. We left by a new mini bus and had a nice 2 hours drive to Catania airport on the southern part of the island.

Everything was perfect: the flight was calm, the sight fantastic (we spotted the peaks of the Alps). And in the light of the setting sun we landed at Berlin-Tegel airport.

The taxi drove us home, where all family members were awaiting us with a big "Hello and welcome"!

This was the end of this journey, but another exciting one will start in September. Then we will fly to Canada! Bubsy.........we are COMING!!!