The rain stopped overnight and we awoke to a brilliant blue sky and blazing sunshine. We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and took a brief walk by the beach. Then it was time to check out, hop in the Fiesta and hit the road. Interestingly, there is an excavated ruin in the parking garage of the hotel. They really are everywhere. We travelled on the Autostade for about 200 miles to the east coast of Sicily – the Ionian Sea. About halfway there, we stopped at the hill town of Enna. Italy’s highest provincial Capitol, Enna presents a dramatic sight, perched at 931 m high atop a precipitous mountain. Contrary to the hill towns we visited previously in Tuscany, Enna is home to 28,000 people, a university and a thriving modern town. The views from all edges of the town are breathtaking! Enna has another amazing cemetary – resembles a housing area, with crypts of multiple stories. Shortly after leaving Enna, we stopped for a quick lunch at our favorite roadside establishment on our previous Italy trip – Autogrill!! While not of the mammoth proportions of some of our favorite locations, Harvey confirmed the cappuccino was excellent. We missed our Autogrill pals, Kristin & Justine! Sally took us on a circuitous route to our hotel, down narrow lanes in the centre of Acireale. We are certain there was a more direct route to the Ibis Styles Hotel and will check that out before venturing out in the car.
Harv was feeling a bit under the weather when we arrived so he had a nap while I blogged and did some CSTM website updates. When he woke up, we went for a walk to a neighbouring ‘shopping centre’. Not finding anything that looked quick to eat there, we had the hotel kitchen whip up a sandwich and settled in for the night.
Harv is now watching his new favorite TV show – it’s about two cops (he is calling them Starsky & Hutch) and is entirely in Italian – but he seems to know what is going on and is enjoying it. Thank goodness for my iPad!
Tomorrow is the carnival celebration! We saw some floats on our Sally journey through town and they looked amazing.
Cefalu was founded on a steep promontory along the Tyrrhenian Sea. The town has retained its medieval appearance set against the backdrop of La Rocca (the Rock). After breakfast at the hotel, we set out to explore the town. We strolled along the beach, where some hearty elderly Italian men were taking a dip in the chilly sea waters (of course, in their speedos). Harvey took a moment to draw Kristin’s trademark happy face! 🙂 As we walked through the old town streets, we came upon the famous Lavatoio, a stone fountain known as U’Ciumi. This area was used for washing clothes until as recently as a few years ago. Porta Marina is the only remaining city gate of the four that once afforded access to the town. A fun thing to watch were many school children (middle school to high school age) who were dashing around the old town on a type of scavenger hunt. It was also interesting to see the great debate among the workmen and by-standers on some minor work being done to a sign on the jetty wall. We continued along the seafront, which led us past the fisherman’s marina and around La Rocca. As we neared the end of our circle, we encountered La Rocca cemetery, a large walled complex. It was a wonderful find. The size and grandeur of these family crypts was amazing and my camera was busy. We made our way back to the Piazza Duomo, which was filled with the visiting students having their lunch. We had wanted to see the interior of the cathedral, but unfortunately didn’t hit the right times (shortened in the off- season). Cefalu has a number of other churches dating from the 17th century including Chiesa del Purgatorio with its Baroque exterior door decorations. After our long walk, it was time for a late lunch. We enjoyed sandwiches sitting along the seawall. We took a break in the day, hanging out at the hotel doing some blogging and photo organization. Harv also stopped in for brochures at the Fiat dealer, as apparently he can read car brochures in any language! The internet connection in our room ranged from poor to non- existent so I had to spend quite a bit of time at this comfortable spot in the hallway. Around 6 pm, we headed out for a walk – to our surprise, it was pouring rain! So back for our rain jackets and umbrellas and off we went. The passeggiata was somewhat deterred by the rain, although a few hearty soles were out, including costumed children. After about an hour of walking in the rain, we had enough and decided to return to the hotel. On our way in, we noticed a pizzaria directly across the street, with the very Italian name of White Horse Pizzaria. We decided that would be our dinner spot if the rain continued. It did, so around 8 pm, we dashed across the street and joined many of the locals for dinner.
Our antipasti (carpaccio of bresaola, rocket and Parmesan) and our pizza of tomato sauce, mozzarella di bufala (which by the way comes from the milk of water buffalo) and Italian salame were delicious and accompanied by a 375 ml. bottle of Corvo rosso (this was a much smarter choice than the 1 litre we ordered last night). It was a delightful day in Cefalu!