It has been a week since we got back to Germany from our epic cruise vacation, and boy am I feeling it. We had a mostly sunny week but as I sit here typing, watching the rain fall, I really wish I was in Sicily again.
Our third port of call was Palermo, the capitol of Sicily, the autonomous island region just off the toe of Italy’s boot, so to say (geography shown below). In 1946 the island, and some smaller surrounding ones, were granted a special independent status where the region of Sicily would be part of Italy, but be autonomous. It really is a unique place. We drove through Palermo, but didn’t really see much of the port city. Our destination was a little over an hour away, Cefalu.
Along the drive it was almost eerie how many of the town names I recognized. As you may know I grew up in New Jersey, a state where almost 1 in 5 residents is Italian. That being said, literally, every town I recognized as a last name of a classmate. Messina, Catania, Vittoria, and of course Marsala and Syracuse. It was really uncanny. But the land was unbelievably beautiful. Really stunning. The island was incredibly mountainous, which we could tell as soon as we got close. This picture of the island we took while still approaching the island in the morning.
The mountains were only broken up by perfectly green fields and orchards. The colors were truly breath taking. I had trouble catching all of the information our guide told us on the bus, but I did understand that the islands main product is citrus fruit. Because of the climate and volcanic soil, Sicily is known for producing some of the world’s best oranges, lemons, and other produce like olives. She said that in truth they don’t really eat these products on the island because their export value is so much higher.
Once we got off the highway, the bus magically wound through the narrow and twisting streets to bring us from high up in Cefalu to the coast, and old part of town. We had the option to walk with the group or go on our own, but we only had a few hours in town. I wish we could have stayed much longer. We walked with the group to the cathedral, and then went on our own. The cathedral was constructed in 1131 by the Normans, and considering its age, was really quite nice. We didn’t stay long because we were really excited to explore and were already watching the clock.
We wandered the quiet streets stopping along the way to look at Sicilian pottery. I had my eye on some pieces that were simply too big for our luggage, and never found just the right piece to take home. We had a bite to eat at a fast little café. We had hoped for a full Sicilian lunch, but not many places were open for lunch and we really felt the time crunch. Fil had a small calzone, and I had to try Sicilian lasagna… delicious. After walking for a bit more we ended up stopping to get a slice of pizza too. Fil said to me “I don’t want to disappoint your dad, I need to get anchovy pizza”.
We found some, and to be honest it tasted just like any pizza place you would pop into in New Jersey! I laughed about it, but Fil was a bit sad that it wasn’t as amazing as the pizza the day before in Rome.
We found a small beach, and I desperately wanted to play with Brock in the sand and waves, but we were really out of time. I can honestly say that I would vacation in Cefalu again, but for a proper week long vacation. It was simply beautiful. I felt relaxed and struggled to get back on the bus. I could have stayed forever.
It was hard to leave Cefalu, but we did have one thing drawing us back on board. It was gala night. There would be two while we were on board, and if there was ever a time to dress up this was it. Brock looked so cute, even with the McQueen hat—that he wouldn’t take off for dinner. Not even for one minute.
Our day in Sicily was short but wonderful. It was one of my favorite parts of our trip. Truly, I cannot wait to return… and that is not something I often say about the places we visit. We always enjoy our trips, but I often feel like, “ok we did that, what’s next”. It is pretty rare that I am left with a desire to return. This was really a special place.
After such a wonderful day we were really looking forward to the next day, our last in Italy. The next stop was Cagliari, on the island of Sardinia. After that there were only two stops in Spain and then back to Marseille.