Throwback Thursday: Travel Post – Sicily

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At the piazza in Taormina, Sicily

This month’s Throwback Thursday series is going to be a little different. Usually, in my past ones I revisited old movies or songs, but this time I thought that revisiting a location I hadn’t been to for a while was enough for me to write about it for this series.

I usually try to make it out to Sicily, Italy every two years, but this time I hadn’t been back since 2016. I was in much need of relaxation and to get away for a while, so I took four weeks off of work to head out to Sicily. During my first week there, I met up with fellow Inkblotter, Phoebe who was staying in Catania. We stopped at one of my favourite bars, Prestipino (espresso and baba’ for me and Coke Zero for her).

My second week was spent going to the beach in Giardini Naxos and hanging out in Taormina with my cousin and some friends. During that time I also ate lots of thing that I don’t usually eat in California, such as gelato (sorry, just never have been a fan of American ice cream) and lots and lots of fish.

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View from my bedroom.

In between my third and second week, I decided to spend a few days at my apartment in Catania, where I just decided to sleep and relax. My usual week, while I’m in California, is always jam-packed that I’m always driving seven days a week and I never have time to sleep in, so sleeping in till 10 a.m. was an absolute luxury. Taking a break from driving and traffic felt very liberating and I also decided to unplug during my stay in Catania (no cell phone or internet for almost a week). I spent my days taking walks, eating lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish. At night I would relax with various face masks. It was a very relaxing and nourishing moment for my skin, mind, body, and soul.

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My final week was spent back in Taormina for a few final days of beach and shopping. I didn’t do a whole lot in regards to going out at night, although I occasionally did, I mostly wanted my stay in Sicily to be about recharging, spending time with my family and friends, and above all taking a moment to appreciate the little things in life. Like befriending a couple of feral kitties, or savouring all my favourite dishes.

I really enjoyed my stay in Sicily, and can’t wait to go back. Because as all Sicilians know, no one ever leaves Sicily forever. It’s always a ‘See you later,’ never a farewell.

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Travel Post – Fort Point, San Francisco

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I had a chance to visit San Francisco this past July with my boyfriend. I had been there before in 2016 and it was the sort of city where I had fantasized about it so much in my head that ultimately it didn’t live p to my own hype. Back then I had gone in August and it was so cold and windy that I had to wear a winter jacket to be remotely comfortable (and finally understood why Frank Sinatra had once said, “The coldest winter of my life was a summer in San Francisco,”).

Despite that, the city still houses one of my most favourite bridges of all time, The Golden Gate Bridge. So when I went there in July, I had to revisit the bridge. In doing so, we discovered Fort Point.

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View from inside Fort Point

Fort Point is a military port located on the southern side of The Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. To say that it was cold and windy is an understatement. However, getting a chance to explore this fort was extremely interesting for the history buff in me. This fort was completed right before the Civil War as a way to defend San Francisco from any outside invaders.

A Brief History

Spain occupied San Francisco in 1769, and by 1776 had settled the area. To help protect the area from the Russians or British invaders, the Spanish first built a fort where Fort Point stands today and it housed around thirteen cannons. When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, it gained control of that region, including the fort. Only the Mexicans didn’t upkeep the fort, allowing it to crumble amidst the rain and wind. During the Mexican-American War in 1846, the Americans captured the fort and disabled the cannons, gaining control of the fort. But it wasn’t until 1853 that the American Army began working on rebuilding the fort. This took the effort of 200 men in an 8-year span. During the Civil War, it was thought that the Confederate raider would attack, but this never occurred.

Throughout the years the fort has been used for barracks, training, and storage. And although the fort today holds no real value to the military, it has been chosen to be preserved as a national monument.

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Typical Officer Quarters

In Pop-Culture

Recently, Fort Point was featured in 2014’s film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where the humans use Fort Point’s armory to increase their weaponry against the apes. And British indie band Editors used a photo of Fort Point as their album cover in 2005, for The Back Room.

If you’re in San Francisco, I highly recommend visiting Fort Point as it’s interesting to see how soldiers (and many times even their wives and children) were living during the 1800’s. It’s a little piece of California history that I didn’t know about, and the plus side is that admission is free! So check it out, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two. It’s the perfect place for a family outing or school field trips.

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For more details on hours check here.

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Empire State Building Visit

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During my one week vacation where I visited four cities, one of the stops was New York City. Being someone who loves seeing the skylines of cities from high buildings, one of the places I had to go to was the Empire State Building. This building was the tallest building in the world from 1930-1970. It’s a 102-story skyscraper that is situated on Fifth Avenue.

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The visitors wishing to visit the building may do so by purchasing a ticket for $31. There’s only two places that the visitors are allowed to go to. The 80th floor to see the city from behind the windows, and then 86th floor where there’s Observatory Deck that you can go outside and see the city from there. The view from up there is absolutely breath-taking and very much worth the visit. It’s probably the tallest building I’ve ever been up to, and in a way being up that high kinda felt the same way when you’re up on a high mountain.

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Apart for having a penchant for tall buildings, another reason why I wished to visit the Empire State Building is because one of my favorite photos depicts a suicide where a young woman (Evelyn McHale) lept to her death from the 86th floor to land upon a limousine parked directly below. Since the opening the Observatory there’s been about thirty suicides, and actually a few that didn’t result in death.

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So if you’re planning to visit New York City, I absolutely recommend visiting the Empire State Building. You won’t regret it!

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For more info visit: https://www.esbnyc.com/

By: Azzurra Nox