It’s time again for an update! Lot has happened and decisions are made 🙂 We left Sicily about three weeks ago. Lillian and Morgan went to the Netherlands for two weeks (Lillian also started a freelance job and met the team in the Netherlands) and Stephen explored the southern part of Italy. We met again in Bari and went to Venice to explore the city with dear friends.
The month of October we spent in Sicily with perfect temperatures. Average temperatures of 25 degrees during the day, lots of sun and not a lot of tourism. A literal highlight of the island was certainly the volcano Etna. Stephen researched to see if we could climb it ourselves without a guide and without spending a lot of money but the possibilities were difficult to figure out. We got a little bit allergic to commercial group tours. When we arrived at the Etna, Stephen met by coincidence a German man called Andy, an experienced mountaineer, who asked us if we wanted to join him climbing up the volcano at 04:00 in the morning. 1,500 meters climbing and at least 20 kilometers. We decided that that was a little bit too much for Morgan. The next morning Stephen went up with Andy. An experience which he would never forget. Watching the sunrise on an active volcano. Once at the top you could hear the loud growl of the mountain, the ground was shaking. You do feel very small up there. The top of this volcano is one large plateau with three craters, spread out over a length of at least 2 kilometers. One moment they got spooked because they didn’t realise when they walked over the plateau that the smog would hit their lungs immediately. They had to get out of there very quickly. They stayed up there for 2.5 hours. Something which Stephen will remember for life.
Italy is like an open-air museum. Everywhere you go you will find beautiful old buildings, history from the romans with a lot of culture. Of the bigger cities we loved Naples and Palermo. Places where the Italian culture comes together in terms of temperament, food and friendliness of the people. Stephen visited the Catacomb of Cappuchoni in Palermo by himself. More or less 8.000 mummified bodies and skeletons lie and hang in these catacombs. Monks, noblemen, doctors, professors and children of wealthy families, in their most beautiful clothes, have found a final resting place in the corridors.
In 1920 one last body was interred. The body of a two-year-old child, Rosalia was added to the underground catacombs. She is called the Sleeping Beauty. Really bizarre…. The photos you see here are not made by Stephen; they are from internet. But it gives you an idea of how the place looks. We found it too lugubrious for Morgan.
We have been in Italy for 5 months now. The question we always ask ourselves; could we live in this country? We were also exploring Italy to see if it had any future potential for us to create a home. After these 5 months we both totally agreed that we don’t see that happening. We noticed that we found it too busy. The country is quite full and the culture can sometimes be too intense. They call it the Italian temperament. Don’t get us wrong, we met really nice, incredible and lovely people but to live here would be a different ball game. It remains special to see how each country has its own culture and habits. The funny thing is that we do see a lot of similarities between the people of Turkey, Iran and the ones from Italy. Family is important and people love to get together. In Italy you stand side by side at the beach, in nature and at the campground. Where we are sometimes hoping to get some privacy (yes also we😊), the majority of the Italian prefers to be on top of each other. The villages and cities are great, but we do miss being out in nature and quiet places. Scandinavia showed us last year what it means to be in nature like we did there. A lesson well learned for the future. The last days we spend with an old friend of Stephen, Mireia aand her husband Thomasso and daughter Laia. Mireia and Stephen know each other through a mutual friend for more than 20 years.
Meanwhile, we both started working remotely. Lillian has found work at YTL hotels & resorts where she is involved with the revenue management for curtain properties. Stephen is still working 2 days a week at CanvasHeroes which goes well. Our journey has acquired a slightly different dimension now but in a good way. We like being busy again with some work and use a bit of our brains in a different way again. It also has given us the opportunity to look for an apartment in the France Alps, in which we succeeded. We will be going back to Bourg Saint Maurice, the place we worked as chalet hosts last year. We will spend another winter season there. No more chalet work, (Stephen is very sorry, not 😊.) but remote work for the both of us. Next to CanvasHeroes, Stephen will have more focus on the photography of the chalets in the area. We are really looking forward to going back to Bourg Saint Maurice again. We met really nice people, so it’s nice to meet up again with them. And, we will do a lot of snowboarding and skiing again!
Morgan will go back to the same school for 6 months. We hope it will help her to learn the French language even better. She got her foundations last year and with 6 months of extra French lessons we think she’s going to get a lot better at it. With her 8 years she will know 3 languages when we leave French. Morgan is doing very well. Her school does require more time these days, but we know how to combine this with our working days. She is still a happy child and wants to be with us in the camper exploring. Like her parents, (and logic of course) she prefers to be in nature. The busy cities are as less pleasant for her.
Before we arrived back in Bourg, we had a very nice meeting in Venice. Our dear friends Michael and Robert, whom we would visit with our camper in Australia went to Venice and would go on a road trip through Italie. We meet with them for 5 days. They came together with a dear friend of them Delini, who we also met in Australia already. Unfortunately, we still haven’t been able to meet them in Australia for all those years, but luckily, they also enjoy coming to Europe. We were super happy to see them. We explored the city together and, in that period, there are a lot of art exhibitions. We explored and enjoyed!
Okay, another update from our sides. Hopefully everybody is doing well.
Morgan, Lillian & Stephen