Pandering around Sicily

Ray's dream has come true. After the debacle of the initial car hire, we were able to use a local firm in Cefalu, get a car for half the price and with no extra charges for another driver and they pick up the car when we leave, but even better still, we got a Panda! If anyone followed our previous trip, you would realise Ray's obsession with Fiat Pandas. Deanne was over the moon too, as her dog is called Panda.

We took the Panda to Taormina yesterday. What stunning scenery! We left in the rain and cold, but arrived to bright sunshine and the amazing sight of Mt Etna. After a fabulous lunch we wandered around the famous amphitheatre, and made our way to 9th April Square via lots of photo opportunities. Deciding to return to Cefalu via the inland route, we got caught in traffic, but it was worth it for the more stunning scenery on the way home.

Today the sun rose bright and strong, so that we were able to breakfast outside. Ray spent about an hour turning the washing machine on. It really has a mind of its own. We are busy making a YouTube video of how to turn on the machine, as many in the past have done. (None successfully). Alex Deanne Ray, the Panda and I decided to go to Segesta to visit the 5th century BC temple and the amphitheatre and then to visit Palermo. More stunning scenery. By 2pm we had had enough of the old stuff and as we were starving, repaired to the nearest pizzeria. After having been seated and shown the menu and deciding on the pizzas, we were told that there was no pizza or pasta available. We reluctantly left for greener pastas, and lucked upon the best Italiano food in the world at Catellamare Di Golfo. The ristorante was right on the beach and the fish was freshly caught on said beach. And, the beach had real sand.

We then ventured into Palermo. Oh my, what traffic. Just imagine the worst Italian traffic and double it - scooters pedestrians roundabouts bikes no lanes Ray driving Alex not knowing his left from his right door cars opening and when we finally made it to the central underground car park, I had to change my pants! It only took one hour to go about 5 kms.  just

The duomo, the palace and the dog shit were entirely covered. And we had the best gelato to boot. We must have been getting used to the traffic, as it only took us 45 minutes to go back the 5 kms to the autostrada. What an adventure. Home at last for a well earned drink.

taunting coast

From the top of Taormina across the eastern Sicilian Coast

Thanks to Alex, we visited Taormina which has this massive ancient amphitheatre. In the top right you will be able to see the snow covered top of Mt Etna, which is smoking as I took the pic.

Turns out the Mt Etna is the highest peak in Europe outside the Alps, so it is massive - and active, so it may even get taller over time.


Coming back from Taormina through the middle of Sicily, we happened upon this mountain top town called Enna. Yes, those are multi storey units atop a bloody big hill.

Segesta-Palermo 1

When you first climb the hill to go to the nearby Teatro, the Temple at Segesta seemed like a mirage.

Segesta-Palermo 2

After climbing up a very steep hill of almost 1.5 klms, we come across this Teatro which holds around 5000 people.

Segesta-Palermo 3

It may well be that this temple was never completed. It now appears that just as they were about to put the roof on, the Segestians (or Suggestions) got themselves into a war which scuttled their plans. Their conquerers had other priorities.

Segesta-Palermo 4

It is showing signs of age, but for around 1800 years old it is holding up well. The same cannot be said for some of the relatively recent remedial works that have been attempted

Segesta-Palermo 5

On our way back from Segesta we happened upon a little uncut gem - the Vanity Beach Ristorante. According to Deanne, this seafood Ravioli was one of her best meals ever.

Segesta-Palermo 6

In the Norman era, their heros were not ripped, unlike during the renaissance. Mustaches were impressive though in one of the earlier Palermo city walls. Just to the left of this is a very impressive gelateria and pastichieria. Well worth the visit alone.

Segesta-Palermo 7

Don't ask me, I have no idea.

Segesta-Palermo 8

The impressive Palermo Duomo, due in no small measure to King Roger.

Segesta-Palermo 9

Alex just discoved that he had to navigate out of Palermo. Note the sole of the left foot - you guessed it!


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