Well, Matt and I finally decided where to go during his vacation next month. While we absolutely love living in Portugal, it's not as easy to get to other countries as it would be if we were stationed in, say, Germany.
For a while, we were stumped and focused on The Algarve or Porto. But, we live in Portugal! We have weekends to visit even as far away as Porto. I want to see Europe on Matt's vacations! I had been to Spain and France. And, while I'd love to go again, I want to hit countries I haven't been to. What about Matt you say? Well, he's not all that interested in art, architecture, or history of Europe. If hiking/climbing or fishing isn't involved, he's tagging along to help out with the kids and enjoy the food. Winter-hiking in the Alps may be a dream of his, however, not something you can do with two small children and a wife who doesn't like the cold. `
So, we choose Sicily because it is mild and sunny all winter long. Actually, the winter months are recommended as good travel months due to the lower cost of air fare, mild climate and absence of foreign travelers (making it easier to mingle with locals). We were able to get airline tickets for all of us for about $1,300 (flying out of a major hub from the US to Sicily would be close to $5,000 - so, living in Europe does have its perks). We're staying at the US Navy Lodge in Sicily for a very reasonable price (though the rooms aren't as large as I would like and I predict poor sleep the whole week).
We know we'll visit Mount Etna, markets and wineries. However, if anyone reading this post has traveled to Sicily and has any recommendations, whether it be restaurants, shopping, site-seeing, off-the-beaten path secrets, etc., let us know! We'd love any recommendations!