A Very Merry Sicilian Christmas!

Charlie feeling festive! Thanks for reading, and happy xmas folks!

Dave the motorhome remains comfortably ensconced in the bargain €6 a night Eden Parking sosta at Giardini Naxos, Sicily. Not a single hairpin bend, first gear slope, Dave-width road, un-signed low bridge, lunatic moped nor car-reversing-from-a-side-street-without-caring-a-hoot-for-oncoming-traffic has had to be tackled. We’ve chilled out in the warming sun.

Last night we had a great time with our fellow Brit travellers. Suitably lubricated with vino, beer, limoncino and other assorted drinks (me and Helen faring the worse for this encounter with the evil drink), we ate and were merry, sharing stories of hilarious incidents and the beautiful places we’ve all visited. Our Italian neighbours cooked outside, a wok-type device sitting on top of a large gas bottle, frying up salt cod and cheesy sausage, which they popped around with a tasty sample. We wondered what to give them in return, settling on some Chocolate Fingers; I handed them over to a look of bewilderment; maybe they have them here too?

More beer, more vino, and off we popped to sing carols around the campsite, our four white pom-pommed santa hats bobbing about beneth people’s motorhome windows as we crooned. Some opened the door to shake hands and wish us boun natale, others drawing the curtains and leaning back into the dark, not unlike home! A few sparklers saw off the end of the evening, or at least the end of my memory of it, and we hit the sack at 2am.

Just look at my little beer-addled face, I love sparklers, even more so after a few beers.
Just look at my little beer-addled face, I love sparklers, even more so after a few beers.

Today, with a thick head, we’ve celebrated xmas in the sunshine. Skype sessions of varying success enabled us to catch up with our families from afar. Helen used Facetime to chat with her family, which looked a far more reliable and better quality connection than the ones we managed to get. Having said hello to all those in fair England, a bell rang and a shout went up around the site: time for food!

Our German neighbours pour out the wine, which tasted great, but not in my fragile state!
Our German neighbours pour out the wine, which tasted great, but not in my fragile state!

Inside a marquee at one end of the site, huddled in amongst an old wardrobe and various bits of cloth-covered furniture, the whole campsite had gathered on long tables. Queue a spectacle of international grub-munching as our host Rene stalked around between us all, flipping from language to language, joking and generally having fun. The food came in preposterous portions, anitpasti of olives, cubed cheese and cured meats, a primo of lasagne, a black-olived seasoned chicken secondo, huge piles of panatone and an alcoholic sweet cheese pink thingyness for pudding. In an assortment of wine bottles lay the same wine, each ‘corked’ with a wrapping of tin foil. A final fling with the booze came through a serving of champagne. To my discredit, I was so hung over (various methods of mime were used to convey this to our fellow diners) I hardly touched the lot, but it was a fine and fun way to share our Christmas day.

The Helens volunteering for food-delivery duties.
The Helens volunteering for food-delivery duties.
Yeah! Our 2012 Christmas dinner with the Helens, fabulous!
Yeah! Our 2012 Christmas dinner with the Helens, fabulous!

A walk to the beach, an expanse of pebbles split by black bubbly lava flows into the sea, aided my recovery and ensured a sleepy Charlie of an unwanted walk. Since then we’ve taken it easy, me drifting off to sleep to the sound of our noisy, lively neighbours going about their lives with the usual Italian passion (they insisted I sample their natural limincello before allowing me back into Dave). Waking an hour or so ago to Helen calling round to invite us over, I’ve serviced a desire for tinned salad, Ju’s scoffed one of her long-desired mince pies with mascarpone, and Charlie’s wide-eyed begged from us. Time to head off over to our friend’s van now, maybe I’m able to see off a teeny weeny beer?

A peek into Ju's dreams.
A peek into Ju’s dreams.

To everyone reading this, friends, family, acquaintance and all of you guys who share a fellow love of travel, we wish you a merry Christmas. Our travels are a wonder to us, but come at the price of friendship sometimes. We miss our family and our friends, but are comforted by the fact everyone is doing well, and by having fellow Brits to chat and laugh with (thanks for the match-making Glen – much appreciated!).

Charlie feeling festive! Thanks for reading, and happy xmas folks!
Charlie feeling festive! Thanks for reading, and happy xmas folks!



  1. Happy Christmas to you both.Since our chance meet in a grubby carpark somewhere in Belgium in late Sept,your blog has become mandatory daily reading.Thankyou for providing an amusing and informative on-line diary of life in a ‘van’ We admire your roving adventurous spirit and hope that with the publication of the book,you have found a means of supplementing your finances.All the best for the New Year and we look forward to hearing about the next book in the future.

    • I remember that car park well – one to remove from the places to stop list!! Glad you’re enjoying our adventure – have you any more of your own planned?

      Not sure they’ll be another book, this one took soooo long to pull together, but it was a great learning experience – so never say never. Have a great Christmas and New Year wherever you are and please keep in touch – our paths may cross one time when we can stop and share a box of wine instead of supping tea!



    • Thank Kevin, hope you had a great Xmas! 2013 is looking rather interesting, I can’t wait to get into Tunisia. Cheers, and happy new year, Jay

  2. Ciao amici,
    come sta en Sicilia? en UK piogga, pioggia, vento e brutto piogga normale!!
    Buona natale e felice nuovo anno per 2013.
    arrivederci e salute !! Mike.

    • Ha ha! Hi Mike! Our Italian is not coming on in leaps and bounds, but we are loving our time here. Off up Etna today, hopefully, staying overnight and taking the trip to the top in the morning. So far it’s cloudless blue sky, if it holds we’re in for a massive treat. Cheers, and happy new year! Jay

  3. we are waiting for our flight back home from Hongkong. After travelling, diving and stroling around in Hongkong, Philipines and Shanghai. We hope you are fine, had a stressless journey since we met you at the Oberalppass in Switzerland. Write more soon! All the best Petra and Josef

    All the best Petra and Josef

    • Hi guys, great to hear from you, sounds like you’ve had a fantastic adventure! Apart from driving and these crazy Italian roads, we’ve not had any stress at all, it’s beautiful. We’ll keep on writing mate, it’s great fun to look back at the places we’ve been! Cheers, and have a wonderful 2013, Jay

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