Day 63 Rosarno, Calabria to Cefalu, Sicily

We have finally arrived in Sicily, and so far, we are very impressed. We drove to Villa San Giovanni to catch the ferry with some apprehension, since catching the ferry in Barcelona had been pretty stressful due to lack of instructions and poor signage. However, here it was completely different, with ‘boat’ signs leading to the ferry terminal, and helpful staff where we bought our ticket. No sooner had we arrived, than we were boarded onto a rather good looking yellow ferry, and we were off. The crossing takes less than half an hour, barely time to drink our coffee, before we had to retrace our steps to the Car Deck, and drive off in Oscar. All in all, a very slick operation.
We followed signs to the Autoroute to Palermo, choosing to completely ignore Boris, who was with the fairies, as usual. The autoroute passes through a series of long tunnels and over high concrete viaducts as it winds it’s way along the north coast. As we set off, the sun was shining, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkled a gorgeous azure blue. In many of the tunnels, they had blocked one of the two lanes for roadworks, and the lighting seemed to get dimmer and dimmer. We realised that probably only about ten percent of the light bulbs in the tunnels were actually working. At one point, in a particularly long stretch of tunnel, we were passed by an Audi doing about 120 mph – but we had been previously warned about the driving in Sicily! Indeed the cars in Sicily are much larger than the ones we have seen on the mainland. Around Rome and Naples, they were exclusively small cars, with loads of Fiat 500s and Smart Cars. Here in Sicily, we have already noticed loads of Land Rover Discovery Sports, Audis and larger VWs. They clearly like their cars here!
As we pulled off the motorway, we drove along a beautiful stretch of coastline looking out back towards the mainland. We arrived at our campsite for the night in good time, so opted to visit the local town of Cefalu. Despite the sunshine disappearing, it proved a wonderful outing. We were really taken by this little medieval town hugging the coastline, in the shadow of the mountains beyond. The town is dominated by a rocky crag overlooking the town, where the Arabs had built their citadel prior to the Norman Conquest. The town comprises of attractive, slightly shabby, narrow streets, with the roads beyond a certain point only open to residents. We laughed as we watched little cars speed through the tiniest of streets, making our tentative driving on the Amalfi Coast look like cowardy custards! The piece de resistance of this lovely town is the 11th Century Norman cathedral. We walked along the narrow approach lane, which suddenly opens onto a large bustling square, with the Cathedral at the far side. It takes you by surprise, and is a magnificent sight. Inside, I was impressed by the unusual stained glass windows, which rather than the standard biblical scenes, were in a series of abstract colours. We couldn’t leave without stopping for a coffee in the square below, and we also failed to resist the delicious home-made gelato. Howard remarked we were developing a ‘one a day’ habit!
We re-traced our steps and registered at our campsite. It sits right on the coast, with the coastal railway running straight through the middle. That may sound awful, but in fact, the spot is sublime. The owner, who after establishing that both he and Howard were Leos (after checking the date of birth on his passport), decided that as a fellow Leo, we should be given the best camping spot on the site. Thankfully, it is away from the railway line (and the toilets and other campervans), but has uninterrupted views looking out over the ocean. It is just sublime! The only problem will be finding the toilets in the dark, but a small price to pay for such a lovely spot.
So our first day in Sicily has been very favourable. Tomorrow we head towards Palermo, if we can drag ourselves away from this place!

One thought on “Day 63 Rosarno, Calabria to Cefalu, Sicily

  1. Watched a tv programme tonight with Rick Stein finding wonderful dishes and cooks in Sicily – great co-incidence and was thinking of how much you would enjoy the island xx.


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