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Sicily 2006!!

Rhode Island
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109 posts
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Sicily 2006!!

My wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Sicily in the spring or fall of 2006. Let me give you a little background before I go any further:

I used to live in Sicily for 2 years from Nov 1983 to Oct 1985 when I was in the Navy but I am sure some things have changed by now. My current wife has never been there before so it will all be new to her.

My question is whether to do this trip as an independent trip or take a tour such as Trafalgar or Globus? Even though I lived there for 2years I didn't learn much about the Island as I was basically working all the time. Yes, I did get to Agrigento and Siracuse and Taormina but didn't learn much about the history,etc. I did however fall in love with Mt. Etna and have always wanted to go back and take a tour to near the top.

Is there anyone out there that has done both the tour and independent way? Any ideas about this subject would be appreciated.

Mike

DEnver, CO
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1. Re: Sicily 2006!!

I travelled to Sicily in 1998 independently, however, only staying for about 4 days. We made the whirlwind tour of Palermo, Taormina and the Vally of the Temples. My ancestors are from Sicily and I felt a real connection with the place. I enjoyed it so mucn more than mainland Italy. Better prices and awesome food and friendly people! I will be returning in June this year for a 12 day visit with my 18 year old daughter. We will be touring the island independently, renting a car and we have booked all of our lodging on line. I believe it will be an awesome experience to tour this wonderful place on our own. We are doing a lot of research. There are so many wonderful guide books..Frommers is good! It is a little more stressful to tour independently, however, it makes the adventure more exciting. I am taking Italian lessons in anticipation for the trip.

I beleive it is hard to say whether it would be better for you to tour with a group or independently because it depends on how much effort you want to put into the preparation and what you want to get out of the trip.

Rhode Island
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2. Re: Sicily 2006!!

Yeah, Im not sure what to do either. I mean going the independent route wouldn't bother me too much since I used to live there. I am also considering the cost effectiveness as well. Let me know when your trip is finished how the hotels,etc. were. It's nice you are taking your 18 year old daughter. I have a 20 year old who was born in Italy while I was stationed over there but she isn't ready to visit yet.

Mapua, New Zealand
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3. Re: Sicily 2006!!

My husband and I are touring Sicily independently in May this year. We prefer the flexibility of doing our own thing and whilst I agree it can be a little stressful we are very happy to do it this way. We have toured most of Italy independently and loved every minute of it.

Speaking a little Italian help enourmously to break down barriers. We have been learning Italian over the last few years and enjoy having conversations, allbeit basic with the locals. Doing your own thing gives you the flexibily to stay longer in places you enjoy and skip the ones you don't like.

Rhode Island
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4. Re: Sicily 2006!!

BevChris, thanks for your input. I agree knowing a little bit of italian goes a long way. I know enough to get me by. My concern is learning about the culture and history from someone that is an expert. I lived there for two years and really didn't get a chance to explore much or really learn all that much either.

I just found a real good deal from GCT for a 14day tour for only 1695 for the time I would like to go which would be October timeframe. It's a Real nice time of the year over there during that period.

Well, I still have plenty of time to mull this over.

Melbourne, Florida
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5. Re: Sicily 2006!!

Did you ever take any ITT (MWR) tours from the base while you were stationed here? I am assuming you are eligible to visit the 'new' Sigonella base? Their trips are wonderful and very informative while still CHEAP! Just an idea. We are stationed here right now and the whole military place has had a facelift.

As you know there are so many little undiscovered places you could visit. Maybe you should check out Fodors.com and their brilliant feedback from personal experiences. Plenty ideas and honest opinions on their forum if you just type in Sicily into the search box many items will pop up. Good luck!

Rhode Island
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6. Re: Sicily 2006!!

THanks! Sorry for taking so long to respond to your response. SO you are stationed there now?? I used to work at the communications detachment at the end of NAS2 but I think it's a full blown station now.

I never took any tours while I was stationed there but got around most of sicily with the exception of Palermo and west of Palermo. My daughter was actually born in Naples in 1984 since at the time the navy in sicily didn't have the facilities for childbirth.

I still am not sure what to do about 2006. As it looks right now, I may take a GCT as it seems like it is the best bet for the money and you also get lots of free time to explore on our own with a rental car.

Vermont
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7. Re: Sicily 2006!!

Hi, Tony and I did the Grand Circle Sicily trip and really enjoyed it - great guides to make sure you see all the highlights

and learn a lot about them in a short time (loved Agrigento, Piazza Amerina, Taormina...) However, we opted out of one of the tours to take a train to central Sicily and briefly visited the two towns where Tony's granparents were born. We *really* loved that day, the small towns that are so unchanged, the scenery, the people. So this year we are doing an independent trip in April - 2 weeks staying at a recommended agriturismo near those villages and planning lots of short day trips to little towns nearby (beautiful churches in every tiny town, old castles and ruins........) We dont feel the need to do the "famous" places, since we have seen them - if we only went independently, I think we would have been trying too hard to do it all! By the way, if you do the GC Sicily tour I *highly* recommend doing the 4 day pre trip in Rome (reasonable price - low key, only one city tour included) great to get over jet lag, and you can see a *lot* in a few days - loved the Forum, catacombs - and gelato!! Enjoy

Rhode Island
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8. Re: Sicily 2006!!

BarbV, thanks so much for your reply and explanation you sent to me. I will be waiting until the brochures come out for the trafalgar/Globus tours for winter 2005/06 seasons and see how much they will be. To me, that looks like the way to go if you really want to do it with a guide and not cost you a small fortune.

Rhode Island
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9. Re: Sicily 2006!!

Does anyone else out there have any other ideas for my trip next year?

Prince Edward...
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10. Re: Sicily 2006!!

Have you thought about a land-only tour? You book your own flights and just have to get to the tour's starting point on time. Then after the tour, you could rent a car or use the trains to travel back to places where you wanted to spend more time -- or places you didn't get to see at all. Another idea is to go independently, but book shorter excursions when you're there. When we were in Palermo, we took a one-day bus tour that covered a lot of the city, and Monreale. That was enough scheduled time for us. Our best days there were when we wandered around, got lost, and stumbled upon things we'd never imagined.