travel

PUBLISHED: Sicily

Story and photography by Catherine Roscoe Barr

Sicily sits just three kilometres across the Strait of Messina below mainland Italy and only 160 kilometres northeast of Tunisia in Northern Africa. Its central position in the Mediterranean Sea has made the island a hot commodity since it was first inhabited 13,000 years ago, the flux of different ethnicities seasoning it with many flavours.

At just over 25,000 square kilometres and 5,000,000 citizens, Sicily is half the size of Nova Scotia with more than five times the population. Its agricultural inhabitants are ample, too, with over 50 per cent of its land area used to raise livestock and grow crops, not to mention countless family gardens brimming with the likes of tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant.

A Mediterranean climate and divergent landscape—primarily rolling hills and soaring mountain ranges, most notably the 3,350-metre Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe—provide numerous fertile microclimates that support a wide range of plant life, much of it delightfully edible.
— Montecristo Magazine, Winter 2015


For more on TRAVEL, check out the following:

4 B.C. road trips you need to take this year

(Image: Rick Graham / HelloBC.com)

(Image: Rick Graham / HelloBC.com)

How much do you love a good road trip? I love them so much!

Exploring new places, sightseeing, long talks, comfortable silence, impromptu photo ops, road trip tunes.

Everything about a road trip makes me happy. (Well, almost everything – I don’t like air conditioning, and sometimes I lose that battle). Even getting lost can be fun!

We are so blessed in British Columbia to have so many great places to explore and enjoy.

Below are a few of my favourite B.C. road trips.

Check out the hashtag #exploreBC across social media, and visit HelloBC.com for many more road trip ideas.

 

Coast Mountain Circle Route

Clockwise or counterclockwise, and from wherever you start, the Coast Mountain Circle Route is a scenic, 600-kilometre loop – with a few thrilling, harrowingly narrow cliff-side bits – connecting Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet, Lytton and Hope.

>>> For a roundup of where to stay, eat and visit click HERE <<<

 

 

Kootenay Rockies

Even if my little brother and his wife didn’t live in Nelson, I would still be in love with this beautiful region of the province! Rugged, wild and pristine – but still many spots for good food and drink. Honestly, what else could you ask for?

>>> Check out <<<

 

Okanagan Valley

Sunny days, breathtaking scenery, award-winning food, and some of the world’s best wine. Need I say more? Didn’t think so.

>>> For a roundup of where to stay, eat and visit click HERE <<<

 

Sunshine Coast

I fell madly in love with the Sunshine Coast the first time I took the short trip over on the ferry. You absolutely have to experience this part of B.C.!

>>> For a roundup of where to stay, eat and visit click HERE <<<

 

 

Got wanderlust?

>>> Click HERE to read my post, Why travel is good for mind, body and spirit <<<

 

 

Why travel is good for mind, body and spirit

 

For our 13th wedding anniversary last summer, we took an incredible road trip through BC's Kootenay Rockies region.

Watch the video, below, and plan your next adventure with HelloBC.com, here.

 

All of my work as a fitness, food and travel writer feeds my work as a wellness coach, and vice versa.

Travel, especially, feeds three important components of The Life Delicious wellness curriculum: connection with self, connection with others, and connection with nature.

 

1. Connection with self

When you learn new things about the world, you learn new things about yourself.

Travelling allows you to challenge your strength, your ability to navigate new situations, your mastery of self-care.

Travelling expands your knowledge and builds self-trust.

Travelling forces you to answer new questions and solve new problems.

Travelling transforms your experience of life.

 

2. Connection with others

  Travelling allows you to satisfy your curiosity about the way other people live.

If you're open to it, travelling connects you with myriad communities, weaving webs of good will and friendship around the globe.

Travelling lets you "recognize the other person is you."

Travelling shows you that you're not alone, you're not separate. You are connected.

Travelling expands your capacity to love.

Travelling heightens your awareness of unity among all beings on this tiny, precious planet.

 

3. Connection with nature

  Travelling strengthens your bond with Mother Earth.

Travelling intimately links you with trees, rivers, meadows, ponds, forests, waterfalls, wetlands, soils, and oceans.

"We protect what we revere," says yogi and blissologist Eoin Finn. We can only revere what we know.

Knowing the power, the beauty and the value of nature arouses planet stewardship.

Planet stewardship informs the way we consume and, ultimately, informs our impact on the world.

Travelling galvanizes planet stewardship.

 

 

 

Travel: Victoria

Victoria, BC The food scene in Victoria is crazy awesome right now! There are so many fantastic restaurants serving utterly delicious food that’s local, seasonal, sustainable and ethical.

I’m especially excited about the new Victoria Public Market, with tons of tasty vendors, Be Love, a new restaurant serving to-die-for organic cuisine and awesome drinks, and Fol Epi organic bakery, with out-of-this-world baked goods, breads and pastries.

But Victoria is one of my favourite places to visit beyond it's fabulous food and drink, and there will be a lot more of the historic city in my future as my parents are retiring there later this year. They're big walkers and with their enthusiastic help I'm slowly discovering all of the city's scenic, historic and natural nooks and crannies.

Every time I visit Victoria, I discover something new. Here are a few stories I’ve written about British Columbia’s quaint capital:

Below are highlights from some of my recent visits. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.

STAY: Beaconsfield Inn Bed and Breakfast

Beaconsfield Inn(Image: Aaron Barr)

STAY: Inn at Laurel Point

Inn at Laurel Point(Image: Inn at Laurel Point) 

STAY: Fairmont Empress

Fairmont Empress(Image: Aaron Barr)

EAT: 10 Acres Bistro and Bar

10 Acres(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: AURA Waterfront Restaurant

Aura

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: The Bengal Lounge

Bengal Lounge

(Image: Bengal Lounge)

EAT: Bubby's Kitchen

Bubby's Kitchen

(Image: Bubby's Kitchen)

EAT: Camille’s Fine West Coast Dining

Camille's

(Image: Camille’s Fine West Coast Dining)

EAT: Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Spinnakers

(Image: Aaron Barr)

EAT: Veneto Tapa Lounge

Veneto

(Image: Veneto Tapa Lounge)

EAT: Be Love

Be Love

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Victoria Public Market – Vij’s Sutra 

Sutra

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Victoria Public Market – La Cocina de mama Oli 

Mama Oli

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Victoria Public Market – Roast Meat Shop and Sandwiches 

Roast

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: The White Heather Tea Room 

The White Heather

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Fol Epi organic bakery 

Fol Epi

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

EAT: Fry’s Bakery 

Fry's Bakery

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

VISIT: Boathouse Spa and Baths at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel 

Boathouse Spa

(Image: Boathouse Spa and Baths)

VISIT: Spa Magnolia at The Magnolia Hotel 

Spa Magnolia

(Image: Spa Magnolia)

VISIT: SORA Spa at the Hotel Grand Pacific 

SORA spa

(Image: SORA Spa)

VISIT: The Pedaler cycling tours 

The Pedaler

(Image: The Pedaler)

VISIT: Discover the Past walking tours 

Discover the Past

(Image: Aaron Barr)

VISIT: Silk Road Tea 

Silk Road Tea

(Image: Aaron Barr)

VISIT: Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum

(Image: Aaron Barr)

TRAVEL: Harbour Air 

Harbour Air

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

Travel: California Road Trip Part 2 – Cambria, Santa Monica & San Diego

Hotel del Coronado San Diego San Diego's Hotel del Coronado celebrated its 125th birthday in 2013.

Last summer my parents, my husband and I flew to San Francisco, rented a car, and took a week to drive along the coast to San Diego.

It was only our second trip to California, so we chose to visit as many seaside communities as possible to get a taste for each one, with overnight stays in San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Cambria, Santa Monica and San Diego.

Each city was so wonderful and unique. I gladly would have stayed the entire week in our San Francisco boutique hotel, Half Moon Bay luxury resort, Carmel historic inn, Cambria cozy bed and breakfast, Santa Monica swanky bungalow, or San Diego quintessential summer retreat.

It was truly the trip of a lifetime and a very special experience to share with three of my favourite people on the planet.

To read more about our California adventures, check out:

Below are some of the highlights from our incredible whirlwind trip. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.

Click here for California Road Trip Part 1 – San Francisco, Half Moon Bay & Carmel-by-the-Sea

STAY: Olallieberry Inn

Olallieberry Inn

STAY: Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows

Fairmont Miramar

STAY: Hotel del Coronado 

Hotel del Coronado

EAT: Robin’s Restaurant

Robin's Restaurant

VISIT: Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

VISIT: Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

VISIT: San Diego Zoo 

San Diego Zoo

(All images: Aaron Barr)

Travel: California Road Trip Part 1 – San Francisco, Half Moon Bay & Carmel-by-the-Sea

San Francisco A boat cruise is one of the best ways to experience San Francisco's cityscape.

Last summer my parents, my husband and I flew to San Francisco, rented a car, and took a week to drive along the coast to San Diego.

It was only our second trip to California, so we chose to visit as many seaside communities as possible to get a taste for each one, with overnight stays in San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Cambria, Santa Monica and San Diego.

Each city was so wonderful and unique. I gladly would have stayed the entire week in our San Francisco boutique hotel, Half Moon Bay luxury resort, Carmel historic inn, Cambria cozy bed and breakfast, Santa Monica swanky bungalow, or San Diego quintessential summer retreat.

It was truly the trip of a lifetime and a very special experience to share with three of my favourite people on the planet.

To read more about our California adventures, check out:

Below are some of the highlights from our incredible whirlwind trip. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.

[Stay tuned for California Road Trip Part 2 – Cambria, Santa Monica and San Diego]

STAY: Mystic Hotel by Charlie Palmer

Mystic Hotel by Charlie Palmer

STAY: Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

STAY: Cypress Inn

Cypress Inn

EAT: Burritt Room + Tavern

Burritt Room + Tavern

EAT: It’s Italia

It's Italia

EAT: Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

EAT: Navio

Navio

EAT: Terry’s Lounge

Terry's Lounge

VISIT: Alcatraz Cruises

Alcatraz Cruises

VISIT: Red and White Fleet Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Redand White Fleet

VISIT: City Sightseeing Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Bus Tour

VISIT: California Coastal Trail (San Mateo Sections 5, 6 and 7)

California Coastal Trail

(All images: Aaron Barr)

Travel: The Okanagan Valley

Okanagan Sunny, spectacularly beautiful, and bountiful with food and wine, the Okanagan Valley is one of my favourite places in the world – and every time I visit I discover something new and wonderful.

To read more about my adventures in the Okanagan, check out:

Below are some of the best places I’ve been to. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.

Stay: Manteo Resort 

2-Manteo-Resort

Stay: Sparkling Hill Resort 

3-SparklingHill

Stay: Spirit Ridge Vineyard, Resort and Spa

4-SpiritRidge

Stay: Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa 

5-SummerlandResort

Stay: Watermark Beach Resort 

6-Watermark

Eat: Bogner’s of Penticton

7-Bogners

Eat: Eldorado Hotel’s Lakeside Restaurant 

8-Eldorado

Eat: Local Lounge and Grille

9-LocalLounge

Eat: Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek 

10-Miradoro

Eat: Sunset Organic Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

11-SunsetBistro

Eat: Terrafina at Hester Creek 

12-Terrafina

Visit: LaStella Winery

13-LaStella

Visit: Le Vieux Pin Winery

14-LeVieuxPin

Visit: Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

15-MissionHill

Visit: Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre and Nk'Mip Cellars

16-NkMip

Visit: Okanagan Crush Pad 

17-OkanaganCrushPad

Visit: Summerhill Pyramid Winery 

18-Summerhill

Visit: Tantalus Vineyards

19-Tantalus

Visit: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 

20-TinhornCreek

(All images: Aaron Barr & Catherine Roscoe Barr)

 

Travel: BC's Coast Mountain Circle Route

 

Last September, three of my best friends from high school in Montana – Leslie, Nissa and Katie – who I hadn’t seen in 15 years, came to Vancouver for an amazing RV adventure.

The four of us piled into a 26-foot RV from West Coast Mountain Campers, driven by yours truly, and set out for the 600-kilometre Coast Mountain Circle Route.

We stopped at RV sites in Harrison Hot Springs, Lillooet, Whistler and Vancouver, and visited some of my favourite parks and producers in British Columbia including The Farm House Natural Cheeses, Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, Fort Berens Estate Winery, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, and Mile One Eating House.

 

>>> Check out my story about our adventure for The Province HERE <<<

 

Below are the highlights from our trip. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.

 

STAY: West Coast Mountain Campers RV (rental)

(Image: Riverside Resort)

STAY: Capilano River RV Park, West Vancouver

(Image: Capilano River RV Park) 

EAT: The Copper Room at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort

Travel: The Sunshine Coast

Last year I visited the Sunshine Coast for the first – and second – time and wrote about my adventures for BC Living and The Province. It quickly became one of my favourite places on earth, I strongly recommend a visit if you’ve never been!

 

To read more about one of BC’s best getaways, check out:

 

Below are some highlights from my visits. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.

VISIT: Sunshine Coast Trail