Our Apartment in Marigot Bay

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Some of you have asked for more details about our apartment.  We rented through VRBO and live in the Marina Village at the Marigot Bay Yacht Haven.  This is our building – we are around the side.

This is our street – looking left and right.  The building with the blue roof is the police station.  The water taxi to the beach and restaurants is a few steps away. 

There is a Hyatt resort next door, but they are very picky about who goes there.  But that’s ok – our goal is to live like locals, not be tourists.  And we love the local hang-outs.  (We can spot the hotel guests because they have to wear a wristband and look a little scared to leave their compound.) 

Frank is the man about town and knows all the taxi drivers, gate guards, and dock guys – they all share fishing stories.  When I go out with him, they all wave and greet “Mr. Frank.”

There is a lot of action in the Bay.  New boats anchor every night.  We also get a steady stream of cruise ship guests heading to shore excursions, which is fun.  A few times a day big catamarans playing music do a twirl through the Bay for the cruise ship guests to take pictures of what they say is the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean (we agree!).

Now for a tour of the apartment . . .

We have a spacious lounge and well-equipped kitchen.  Plus 3 bathrooms and laundry.

We have two bedrooms, so we can spread out and I can use one as an office (I am still working remotely after all). 

But the best is the balcony.  It is deep and fully covered, so we can sit out here even in the rain. 

I am writing this blog as the sun goes down.

Welcome to Marigot Bay!

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We have rented a VRBO apartment in Marigot Bay on the Island of St. Lucia.  We looked all around and thought this looked like the perfect place for two sailors.  Marigot Bay is a sheltered harbor with a marina, boat moorings, and a few small resorts.  It is away from the hustle and bustle of the big resorts and cruise ships. 

We rented the “apartment above the store” in the Marina Village (above) and can sit on our balcony and watch the boats come in all day long. 

There are seasoned cruisers who have sailed in from all over the world, bareboat charter groups, and even jaw-dropping mega yachts – more on that later.  Something is always going on in Marigot Bay.

There are 4 restaurants – two only accessible by water taxi or dinghy. 

The red boat below goes to Doolittles, across the way.

Then there is the general ferry, which can take you to the beach, other restaurants around the bay, or to your boat.

The big nightly action is at Chateau Mygo (below). They have live music most nights – from reggae bands to a steel drum guy, who will move his drum around and play at your table – he played “Fly Me To The Moon” for us. Dinghies tie up all along the edge.

Crocs are perfectly acceptable attire everywhere, and everyone trades boating stories. 

So we will leave the nightlife to the big resorts and sip a rum with the sailors as we watch the sun go down in Marigot Bay. 


Good-Bye COVID – Hello St. Lucia!

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The Two Fools are back – after some bumps in the road.  We decided to head to warmer weather for the month of February and rented an apartment in St. Lucia!

But – the night before we were to leave, Frank tested positive for COVID.

We have been very careful the last three years and don’t know where Frank picked it up. There is no good time for COVID, but within hours of our international flight seemed like a double whammy!  Plus Frank felt pretty bad.  It was our first time dealing with COVID, so things were a little scary the first few days. 

Fortunately, during the start of COVID when things were even scarier, we had drafted a quarantine plan – this is what you do when you’re married to a NASA engineer!  So we pulled that back out and retreated to our assigned spaces for 11 days.  We slept and ate in different rooms and wore masks if we were in the same vicinity.  I tested each day and continued to be negative. 

Finally, Frank was cleared to travel so we re-packed our bags, re-booked our flights, and got on the road. 

Our time in St. Lucia may be a little shorter – but it is a whole lot sweeter as we think about what might have been and how lucky we were compared to those who experienced COVID before vaccines and treatment.  We will savor this trip all the more.

And . . .  we will celebrate Frank’s 86th birthday and our 8th wedding anniversary!  Come along with us as go from this frosty scene . . .

To This One!

Our New View – Annapolis

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It has been a busy week. Frank and I flew from Sicily back to Paris, where we stayed over in the Sheraton Charles de Gaulle airport hotel so we could take our COVID test to get back to the US. (This hotel is a nice oasis in the middle of CDG, located in Terminal 2 where most international flights are, if you ever need an airport hotel in Paris.)

You have to take a test within one day of returning to the US. Since we were flying the day before, we had to take our test the day of our flight home, which was a little nerve-wracking. We scheduled a test at the clinic in the airport – which is one floor below the Sheraton – very convenient. We got the earliest appointment time and lined up with the other Americans needing to test. They swabbed us and made us all sit in a room for 30 minutes while we waited for results. Then they came out and announced results in batches – you either got a piece of paper that listed negative or you were whisked off somewhere else (we don’t know where!).

Thankfully, we were negative, so our flight was a “go.” We ran back upstairs to the Sheraton, grabbed our bags, and headed to check in for our flight.

So we are back home after a wonderful trip.  We faced uncertainty with COVID and were very careful all along the way – wearing our masks, foregoing museums or crowded spaces (we will have to go back for these), showing our CDC card everywhere if we wanted to eat indoors, and learning to be adaptable.

We also felt much closer to the war in Ukraine. We encountered refugees – the airports all had signs everywhere showing them where to go – but we also saw refugees sitting at the next table at dinner. They looked just like us. The war is not just on TV in Europe; it is on their doorstep. We got to know a waitress at our favorite local resaurant in Venice who helped bring her nephew from Kiev while we were there – we got the day-by-day update. Her son is in Moldova and she is worried about him, too – they are on the border and can hear the shelling from Ukraine. We traded contact information in case we can help. And all over Italy they are flying the rainbow flag to signify “Pace” or “Peace.”

We definitely will miss these views:

But also happy to back to our “new” view – HOME.

Thanks for following along with us.  Until next time!   

Frank’s Heritage

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While we were in Canicatti, we visited two very special places. 

Enza’s son, Salvio, drove to the oldest part of town – the “quartiere antico.”  We parked and had to search a few streets . . .

And we finally found it – the remains of the home where Frank’s mother lived as a girl – the home of his grandparents, whom he never got to meet. 

There is not much there now – just the walls, floor, and front steps.  But we could just picture the family sitting down to their own Pasqua or Antoinetta skipping down these streets.

We have been here before but there was too much debris to really see inside the house.  The debris has been removed, so we could finally could spy  . . . the window!  (If you look closely, you can see through the trees.)

The story goes that Frank’s father first saw his mother sitting in the window when she was just 16 and asked for her father for her hand in marriage.  Frank’s father went on to America and (we think), the two got married by proxy, which was common at the time for immigrants who were apart. He then sent for his new bride, and she sailed to Ellis Island when she was 18. All from sitting in this window.

It was very moving.  We said a prayer and reached in and took 3 stones from the crumbling walls – for each grandchild. A link from Frank’s grandparents to his granddaughters. We think Antoinetta would be proud.

Then a neighbor popped her head out.  Salvio explained what we were doing.  We think this woman’s family had lived on this street for many years, so she knew of the Buccheri Family.  She pointed us to the house around the corner – so off we went.

The orange house at the top of the stairs has been fixed up and was the home of Frank’s great-grandparents!  Antoinetta’s nonna and nonno.  Wow!

What a very meaningful day.


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Campanga Vista

After a huge Easter, Frank and I were invited to lunch with another side of the family.  This was to be a smaller affair.  But we should have known – nothing in Sicily is a small affair!  Our first hint was when we picked up Enza, dressed with flair.  : )

It turns out the day AFTER Easter is a big holiday, too – called Pasquetta (or “Little Easter”). 

As the family explained to us, Pasquetta is the day you go to your capagna (or country home) and grill out with family to celebrate the start of Spring.  (We aren’t sure if this is the case in all families, but everyone we know in Sicily seems to have a city home and a country home.)

Enza’s son, Johnny, drove us a little way’s out of town until there were trees and dirt roads, fronted by high stone walls.  We pulled up to a gate, and Johnny picked up a phone.  The gate opened to reveal a very nice country house indeed.

This was the capagna of Johnny’s in-laws (his wife, Monica’s, parents) – with beautiful vistas of the mountains . . .

A swimming pool in front of an olive grove (from which they press their own olive oil) . . .

Lemon and orange trees . . . .

And even a bust of Monica’s father presiding over the compound.

Inside, was a beehive of activity, while they sent Johnny and Frank to the outside kitchen to grill.

We had another feast of the traditional Pasquestta pasta, grilled sausages, grilled ribs, roasted potatoes, strawberries soaked in limoncello, and more tiramisu. 

Buona Pasquetta!

Buona Pasqua!  Part III (of III)

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After an Easter lunch brimming with dishes and molto molto famiglia visiting, we all settled down to rest.  Some dozed off, while others called and Zoomed with family all over the world to wish them “Buona Pasqua” and “Happy Easter,” depending on where they were. 

But there was more!

The pizza dough had been rising all this time, and as the sun was setting, Mirella set to work making homemade pizza.

And in their very own outside pizza oven!  Wow!

Another feast!

We wound down the night, with more wine and limoncello, laughing and telling family stories.  Frank and I finally climbed the stairs to bed around midnight. We drifted off to sleep to the sound of laughter still ringing from downstairs. 

What a Pasqua!

Buona Pasqua!  Part II (of III)

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Where we left off . . .

The whole family was resting after our delicious and huge Easter lunch – some dozing off, others talking.  When, to our surprise, all of a sudden there was a flurry of excitement – Part II was beginning!

Another part of the family, who had been at their own Easter lunch, came over to see us. 

This is the family of another of Frank’s first cousins.  They have had us to their home for dinner on past visits.  We had fun catching up on their lives. They have 3 children – one in high school, one at university in Milan, and one living in Milan working at Amazon.

We all sat back down for café, homemade tiramisu, and limoncello.

And finally – a family portrait.

A wonderful day!

But did you notice this was just Part II out of III?  Stay tuned . . . .

Buona Pasqua! Part I (of III)

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Preparations for Pasqua Pranzo (Easter Lunch) went on all morning.

In the indoor kitchen . . . .

In the outdoor kitchen . . .

Even in the herb garden . . .

The smells were wonderful!

Finally, the family gathered for the feast.

First we ate bowls of fresh ricotta with whey poured over (that Frank and I helped pick up at the farm that morning).  Enza told us this helps with digestion to get our stomachs ready for the meal. 

Then pasta al forno made in the outdoor oven, agnello griglia (grilled lamb), and roasted potatoes and artichokes (plus various side dishes).

Finally fruit and the traditional dessert of Pasqua – the Colombe – a cake shaped like a dove that Mirella made herself. 

Whew – we all rested.

But it wasn’t over! Next up – Part II!

Getting Ready for Pasqua

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It is a beautiful Easter Sunday in Canicatti!

But before we get to the pranzo (lunch), Frank and I were given a very important job – to accompany Benedetto (Mirella’s husband) to pick up fresh ricotta. 

Frank asked whether the market was even open on Easter.  The family just looked at us.  It turns out we were not going to a store – we were going straight to the source! 

We rode out into the countryside on a winding one-lane road, where you had to back up to let other cars go by – even passing by a herd of sheep, who had the right of way.

At the farm, there were dozens and dozens of sheep.

Workers were milking the sheep as fast as they could – the foreman yelling, “Vai, Vai, Vai” (Go, Go Go) and making the cheese right there.  Other cars like ours drove up a few at a time, ducking into the cheese room to carefully select their wheels or baskets of ricotta fresca for Easter lunch. Amazing!

Easter in Sicily.