28 March 2013

To Sicily and the Sicilians

Sicily is an incredible place, both the physical and the sociocultural landscape. We had been talking about going for about a decade and we finally made it this past month. Our initial itinerary included a final week in Rome. After a day or two in Palermo and thinking about the papal conclave, we called the rental car company (Auto Europe) and extended the rental for the bulk of our three and a half weeks in Italy and stayed in Sicily from arrival on February 28th until leaving for an airport B&B the night before our transatlantic flight back to the States on March 23rd.

The pictures here are randomly selected. The mountaintop town is Caltabellotta, view from the castle back toward the town and beyond. The skies were often dramatic and we did see rain but only a few times did we get soaked (most memorably at the Cave de Cusa, near Selinunte, and as we tried to unload the car to get to the B&B in Enna).

You are never far from the sea or mountains or both. AND both.

This seaside view is from the Molo in Cefalù toward the newer part of town. Sometimes the sea was calm like this but we also saw crashing waves make sand piles on the road in Marsala on our second day with the Lancia Ypsilon which was sized right for the job (small for the narrow streets, powerful enough, manual transmission for the hills and curves, big enough trunk for two four-week suitcases). The Wikipedia page calls it a "luxury supermini." Hmm.

Our path counterclockwise around Sicily took us from Palermo to Trápani, Mazara del Vallo, Sciacca, Enna, Piazza Armerina, Ragusa, Noto, Aci Castello, Randazzo, Capo d'Orlando, Cefalù, and back to Palermo. Those are overnight places. The first picture in my Sicily 2013 set of pictures on Flickr is a map of the island with our route highlighted.

As much as the landscape and seascape thrilled and moved us, it is a populated landscape. It is my intention to write some tales of our adventures as thanks to the Sicilians who so enriched our circumnavigation of the island. Yes, circumnavigation implies boating and we did not do that. The Wikipedia page on "circumnavigation" talks of land travels and the person in the other front seat of the car is usually the navigator.

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