We’ve had a chance to experience the Italian driver on our road trip. Drivers here go way too fast, they text while driving (which you’ll know because they go about half their normal speed when composing a message), they don’t stay in their lanes, they forget to switch off turn signals, they tailgate… I could go on. So after braving the overly narrow roads of the Amalfi Coast (and witnessing a pretty bad accident in our rear view mirror), we were relieved to be back on the modern tollways headed to Sicily. That was, of course, until we saw that the drivers in Sicily are perhaps the craziest of them all. Fortunately, we and our VW Polo made it through unscathed, and have nothing but positive memories of our time in Catania, Mt. Etna, and Cefalù. We even got a rare photo taken of us that wasn’t a selfie.
We decided to stay at the Four Points Sheraton in Catania because it was just 4,000 Starpoints per night, and the other hotel options with parking weren’t all that great. It was a bit outside of the city center, but we were planning to do Mt. Etna with our car, and use their free shuttle when going into town. We had seen the news headlines that Mt. Etna was erupting, so we decided to spend our first full day in Sicily checking out the mountain, and possibly skiing. When we arrived at the gondola, we discovered it wasn’t running due to high winds. We snapped a bunch of photos, explored a bit, and decided we would come back the next day to try again. Here are a bunch of shots from our 2 days on an erupting volcano.
I thought Amanda was just taking photos, hence my awkward pauses during the second half of this video. You can’t see any lava spewing, sorry.
We’d been told over and over that the food in Sicily is the highlight, especially street food in Catania and Palermo. On our last day in Catania, therefore, we booked a Streat Catania Tour, which we highly recommend. The folks who run this thing know their stuff, not just when it comes to street food, but also the history of the places you’re visiting. We really enjoyed our guide, Aureliano, and also had a chance to meet the company’s founders from Palermo, Glenda and Marco. They gave us a passport, which we had stamped after tasting each new item. This part is a bit gimmicky, but actually really helped us remember what we were having.
We didn’t eat the horse meat sandwich, although there was a spot where I ate boiled intestines, which came from pig, cow and horse.
After our tour, we hopped in the car bound for Cefalù, our final destination in Sicily. Cefalù is considered one of the best seaside resort towns on the Tyrrhenian Coast, which we could see why once we got there. Aside from the great hike we did up La Rocca, the city center has tons of charm. Since we were there during low season it didn’t feel touristy, surrounded mostly by locals. And our Airbnb had a great view, and delicious breakfast.
Here are a bunch of highlights around town, as well as during our hike up La Rocca to the castle at the top. We expected this hike to be more like a casual stroll, but it turned out to be steeper and longer than we thought. Fortunately, we had some water with us (though not enough), as well as a yummy lunch of prosciutto and provolone from a market in town. The views from the top were so good.
We loved Sicily, and are so glad we ventured down there, despite the extra kilometers and crazy drivers. We were sad to leave, but excited to visit Puglia (the heel of the “boot”) next.