The money saving word of the day Ridotto

OK this is to all you seniors out there.  In the past senior discounts were restricted to EU residents.  Recently more places are extending the discounts to everyone.  It never hurts to ask, may not work in the Uffizi or other major attractions. Worked in Castelbuono, and in Tindari both in Sicily.   Text from my UltraLingua dictionary.

The road to Hell, or we made it from Castelbuono to Gangi and back alive.

I have been driving in Italy since 2001. Each time we go back I forget what is can be like. I have lost mirrors in Palermo and Napoli. Been backed into by a young driver in Agrigento. Twice driven the Amalfi coast which is  a piece of cake compared to driving from Castelbuono to Gangi.  These GPS screenshots do not give you the true picture. For each 180 degree turn, it seems to have been followed by another 180 degree turn. Some times the turn was so tight, that 10 mph was too fast.  We watched as cars crossed the centerline and came at us only to pull back to their side. This definitely was more than I hoped for.
The GSP said the 19 miles would take 1 hour. I took 1.5 hours. The 5 speed transmission only needed three speeds.  That said, Gangi was worth the trip. It is the town  that was selling homes for  1 Euro to attract residents back in. It has been quite successful and many homes have been renovated and more are in progress.  Search The NY Times air the Telegram for more info. 
It is high up on a hill and it is a challening drive. But if you can make the trip it is worth it.

​I think you would appreciate this city of art and restoration.
Ciao a tutti. 

At the beach. 

La spiaggia  is where it’s at in Augustbin Sicily. 


All over the beaches are crowded. There are charges at many beaches for the use of umbrellas and lounge chairs. Fees range from €10-20 depending on weekends or holidays. You have it for the entire day plus use of the WC and the showers. 


It is also possible to find some beaches with no crowds 


Here we found a beach near the port of Cefalù. There was a bar about 300 meters away where you could use the WC with no charge. The port area is one of the few places you can park and avoid the €14 daily charge. 

The hell with AT&T if you are headed to Europe or beyond. 

The idea of paying your cell phone carrier a bundle of cash is rediculous.   Have your phone unlocked. If you have met your contract term, go to your carriers site and request an unlock. It will take very little time. You can chuechase GSM phones from Amazon and others for reasonable amounts. I supplement the phone time by using Skype from my 10G data plan. 


I walked into the TIM store at the Rome Airport  and got a two month plan with 10 gig of tata and 165 min of calls for $42 dolllars US.  The clerk put the new SIM card in, and activated the phone in less than 10 minutes. 


Up and running with time to spare for my next flight.  For more info Google using a SIM card in Europe or where ever you will be traveling to.   Do some research on your present phone to find out it’s capabilities in other countries.  The iPhone is a good choice and you can purchase a used unlocked iPhone  6 for about $275 from Amazon.   AT&T wants you to use their $10 a day plan for roaming. Not worth it!!!!!Bella Cefalù, Sicily. 

Off to Italy

Today we leave for Sicily and Italy. A fifty one day journey that will take us to the Madonie Natural Park, the shores of Lake Garda, and the center of Rome.

Planning has been extensive, but we always depend upon serendipity. Planning is great, but the unexpected is what keeps us going.

Follow along as we travel through the next two months.

 

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My idea of a shoppers heaven.DSCN8497.jpg

A view from north of Catania

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Sorrento

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A closed theater in Siracusa.DSCN8333.jpg

A calm stretch of road in Sicily.

 

 

 

Saving Money On Car Rentals

Car rental rates have soared in the last several years.  Even using  sites like Kayak and Priceline you tend to get some high rates.  Some time ago I saw a reference in the New York Times to a site called Autoslash.com.   I tried it earlier this summer and was able to get a very reasonable rate for the July 4th week in Hartford, Connecticut.   previously my best rate for the week was about $400. I ended up paying $241 and got the car from Hertz. That was a substantial savings thanks to AutoSlash.

I have booked a 21 day rental in Sicily and did quite a bit of shopping.  I searched Hertz, Auto Europe, and Avis.  Each gave me rates that were in the  $800 range. AUTOSLASH 2 2017-08-11 at 4.04.39 PM.jpgAUTO SLASH SAVINGS.jpg Hertz got down to about $760 and it was looking better. I got a quote from AutoSlash and found that they could get me a $747 rate for the same period and they would continue to search for updates to the rate. Hertz is the provider.

Now  for the really good news! We leave on Tuesday and today I got an email saying they checked rates and it went from $765.51 to $305.89.  This is a substantial savings.  Note the original quote I got was $747 but Hertz raised it. When I brought this to the attention of AutoSlash they contacted Hertz and got the rate reduced.

Give AutoSlash a try and compare with other search engines. Hotwire, Hotels.com, Kayak have been helpful to me in the past, but not have reduced the rates after booking.

You do not pay up front!  Also keep in mind many credit card companies will cover your CDW which can save you several hundred dollars on a rental.

I have no affiliation with any site mentioned above. P1010826.jpg

Always good to have some tape. In Palermo a driver strayed into my land and hit the mirror. He then continued as if nothing had happened.  Luckily I had some tape and we survived.  I rented with Europcar and got it through InItaly.com.  They covered the damage  but still charged me $100.   That is why credit card CDW is better. BUT read your credit card agreement throughly.