Friday, November 6, 2015

Aww sweet Cefalu'

Woke up this morning and finally, finally felt like I was on vacation in Italy.  Young children shouting on their way to school, horns honking on their way to work, voices of mothers shouting in the piazza.  Water running through the pipes, and yes, wake up, its time to hit the train station and see lovely Cefalu'.

Cefalu' is pronounced Chef a loo, with emphasis on the loo.  It is a one hour train ride from Palermo.  The ride itself is beautiful as it clicks and clacks along the coastline, revealing hidden towns and bays.  Fishermen dot the sea horizon as we pass the small villages.  The water is remarkably flat and just as blue as the sea on the Amalfi Coast.  You can tell that once, maybe in the 1950's that this was a wonderful fishing village.  Now it is half fishing, half tourist - or maybe 80 percent tourism.

Corbett arrives in Cefalu'

the inlet in complete overcast with mountain cloud cover

The little village is snugged safely in the tiniest spot of real sand on this coast.  I love the colors of the houses and windows.  I am very thankful the day is not hot and the wind is not strong.  Rain had wetted the cobblestone streets and thankfully washed away the scent of dogs.  There is not a sacred corner in Italy, or perhaps they are all sacred.

With the wet, I gingerly tread the streets. I think we walk for at least a mile or so before deciding to stop and eat.  It wasn't great, but it was "classico".  How can you go wrong with pomodora and cheese, basil wrap with olive oil and oregano?  If you don't know what to order, order what they do well.  Wine menus often require you order the bottle. As we had miles to go, I had a Beck birre instead.

Off touring again.  We walk the streets and look at the views.  There is a monument to WWI soldiers.  Our first stop in the village.

 We trudge onward and find the port and the little cay or inlet.  The scenery is breathtaking.  One can envision the summer tourist invasion on this tiny town.  I am very happy to be here in November.

 The few tourists that are here, are European or Asian.  We run into very few Americans, which were so common in Napoli (Naples).  The shop keepers here run from the ice man who says nothing, to the lady at Helios that explains what matapalo is, which is really marzipan.  Corbett bought the bright colored fruit and was disappointed to find the almond paste as the center of the brightly colored fruits.  Turns out these are pastry that monks made to keep funds coming into their abbeys.  I liked them, but a tiny bit goes a long way.  Speaking of a tiny bit, I am a big fan of the local "digestive" which means a spirited shot usually  The shot of digestive for Sicily is Tutone Anice Unico.  A product of Palermo.  It tastes like licorice on fire.  Which at first sip - I do mean tiny sip - is a little alarming.  A full shot takes about a half hour to consume, at least for us Tallahasseeans...  I love licorice, so I was all in for the bottle.  It's a small bottle.  And it will most likely have some in it for the next guest.


The train ride back was funny as a Swedish couple sat across from us.  The only thing they understood on the train was English instructions, just as we do.  When we leave the train terminal, we all exit crossing the street in front of the station which is a large circle of roaring vehicles. Buses, cars scooters.  Her husband darts out and goes half way turning to look for her.  She runs back and stands with us.  Then, there are enough of us to barge out to the road.  We cross and her husband is gleeful and he says, " It is so exciting!"  and she and I agree, only for men.  We try to find the grocery, but give up after our long day.  The night has descended and warnings of purse snatchers and thieves send us back to our lovely apartment.  Three bathrooms, one for each person!  Lovely.

Tomorrow is Monreale, a trip up the mountains to see a duomo.  A lovely day all in all.