Friday, March 04, 2016

Cefalu', Sicily, Italy

Cefalu' is an hour train ride to the east of Palermo along the coast, usually a day trip. We chose to overnight in Cefalu', as we planned to do a little walking in the Maidone National Park; to do major walking a car is needed as public transport does not extend too high up the mountains.

In the morning, we took the bus to Gibilmanna, a Catholic pilgrimage site because of some miracle. We chose this place because it boasts splendid views from its 800m of altitude. However, in keeping with our usual luck, the visibility this morning was about 8 meters and rainy. The church was tightly shut in spite of the hours posted, so much for our usual plan for seeking refuge in Catholic churches from weather (heat, cold, rain), noise, people....especially considering our distance to Mecca, I mean, the Vatican. To keep warm, we had to start walking, since we already had all of our layers on.

As promised by the weather forecast, the rain soon stopped, and the sun came out. It turned out to be a beautiful walk, though we had to overcome, 1) one hour detour due to impassable water crossing, 2) sticky mud, and 3) barking dogs.

Our destination was the picturesque village of Castelbuono. The village was more populated than I had expected. From where even higher villages can be seen in the distance. It puzzles me what supported those villages in the old days, what supports them today?! If I had come in the middle of summer?....

Cefalu' itself we wandered through in half an afternoon and morning. The cathedral (duomo) was the only church that had its doors open (this may be a good thing, I wouldn't go dizzy). Its millennium-old mosaic apse was impressive to see, though I wish it were closer with more light :(

The old town streets are narrow, stairs, odd angles, multifarious buildings. It would have been a lot more fun exploring, if I was not kept so busy dodging cars. Judging by the number of souvenir shops in town, surely they wouldn't co-mingle cars and tourists in the summer!

On the train to Cefalu.
Cefalu, Sicily, Italy

The Cefalu Duomo; outside then inside.
Cefalu, Sicily, Italy

Cefalu, Sicily, Italy

Wednesday evening the port was breezy.
Cefalu, Sicily, Italy

Friday morning the port was very breezy.
Cefalu, Sicily, Italy

We started the hike to Castelbuono at Giblimanna Santuario at 800 meters above sea level in a cool, wet, cloud.
Giblimanna, Sicily, Italy

Then, ten minutes later, the rain stopped almost instantly, the clouds blew away, and the sky was blue. But we carried on for awhile with our rain jackets and pants still on.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

A couple of views towards the town of Isnello.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

The trail became quite sticky after a bit of drying the in sun and wind. Sun-Lings displays her boots for the record.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

Then unexpectedly, just as we spotted Castelbuono in the distance, the muddy track turns into a newly paved road.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

Olive trees and trail marker.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

After a failed shortcut, aborted after warnings of high water from a farmer and which necessitated a tense return pass of a vicious sheep dog (sorry no photo), we found ourselves once again on the new road, replete with locally made guardrails.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

The town of Castelbuono (castle at left) from far and nearer.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

The Castle.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

Castelbuono historic center.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

Every building had many balconies support by train track rails.

Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

Bonus: the bus ride back to Cefalu from Castelbuono finished along the Mediterranean Coast.
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

And pizza for dinner at a not-for-tourists restaurant.
Cefalu, Sicily, Italy

2 comments:

Kathy said...

"Its millennium-old mosaic apse was impressive to see, though I wish it were closer with more light :("

All the more reason to visit Monreale...

That was some serious mud!

Crash Eddy said...

Wow! Google maps shows 18 km from Gibilmanna to Castelbuono by road SP9. Doesn't show any trail you may've taken. SP9 has a significant switchback so I assume it gains much elevation. Lucky your return bus ride took the coastal road SS113 instead of the higher level E90 so you saw the coast.

Wow again, just suffered an electrical spike that darkened the monitor I'm typing on as it's not on UPS, other monitor is. Came back on after a few seconds. I'll post before I lose my typing effort.