I envisioned Sicily in my head before we arrived. The reality however, does not (yet) match this vision. Sicily is complex. The people we’ve met are very friendly and helpful. Garbage can be found everywher, on the side of the roads and in parking lots. The villages are compact and impressive (very often on mountain tops) but lack the friendly, welcoming feeling e.g. of the old villages in southern France.
Petralia Sottana, the village we are staying at right now is beautiful but rather quiet with only few restaurants, some small shops and a Pasticceria. The Rustico which we rented trough AirBnB is located at the border of the Madonie National Park and close to the village. Ludovica, the owner and AirBnB host does everything to make us feel at home. As the night temperatures up here are significantly cooler than on the coast, we make extensive use of the fire place.
We also took a short trip to Cefalu, which seems quite popular among tourists. The old city with its small streets and tiny shops (most of them offering the usual kitsch that only tourists will buy) was quite impressive. we had lunch at restaurant overlooking the beach but the quality of the food was in direct contradiction to its price. Maybe the cook was on vacation or they simply just didn’t care. Whatever it was, it definitely didn’t match our idea of a nice italian lunch.
Sicily seems different. It’s tougher, not just on the edges. In the villages we can feel the struggle to survive. There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of job opportunities and the tourist business ain’t comparable to other regions in Italy that are more popular. Sicily is far away and still carries a bad image (you will get robbed, your car will be broken into, etc.). None of this Mafia image seems to apply. We parked our car everywhere and we always feel secure. Nevertheless we’ve changed our original plan of staying in Sicily over the winter.
At the beginning of November we will continue our journey to Greece by driving to Bari and taking the overnight ferry to Igoumenitsa. From there we’ll have a little over 3 weeks to reach Sitia on the island of Crete with the intention to spent the winter there. Will Crete be much different? We don’t know but we’re going to find out. After all, Life is all about change and exploration.
One Life. Live It.
PS: I’ve changed the routing of including all the pics in the each blog entry. The responding photos can all be found in the Photo Gallery