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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 37.9325, 14.0873
Time Check: 1755
Location: Castelbuono: The Relais Santa Anastasia
Position: "FLOPPED" Having just guzzled 2 Moretti Beers in about 6 seconds after a mammooth 300km/6 hour drive from Castelmola to Castelbuono involving mile after mile of hairpin bends and spectacularly bad driving from the locals.
The highways department must have been on LSD when planning the road systems. Sure they have had to negotiate tricky terrain that is mostly mountainous and descends rapidly to narrow coastal flats........but there seems to be a plethora of roads that go nowhere........ cobbled dead ends and crazy switch-back junctions involving "plasma bag" popping turnouts! .....trash lorries coming head on at high speed with oblivious and bonkers moped drivers overtaking on blind corners! Absolutely no road discipline whatsoever!
In the last two days I have had to use all my BSM (British a School of Motoring) training to the full!......one case involved reversing 400m down a 1:4 narrow street with locals watching every inch..........a tunnel that avoided the "old town" was closed and I was forced to negotiate the cobbled tourist infested lanes that got narrower and steeper by the second. Eventually it petered out with a helpful local making rude gestures...........the grim reality set in........as
I had no option to reverse back down..........I inched my way backwards for about 20 mins.....thankfully no scrapes.....RECAP:
In the last 3 days we have circumnavigated Etna, explored the backstreets of Taormina and driven through spectacular scenery interspersed with mediaeval citadels perched high above us.
At 0900hrs yesterday (after a hearty breakfast of salami and cheese) we set off in the sturdy and "techno trouser" OTTO. He was laidened down with essential goodies as we were going to spend 4 nights into a more remote region near CEFALU in the north eastern region. Our essential supplies mostly included various varieties of beer and crisps..........a distinct aroma of beer wafted from the back seat from one of the beers had sprung a leak!
Ignoring the advice of our receptionist "David" to take the motorway we decided to negotiate the "direct route" through the interior of Sicily. This turned out to be an adventurous rally through little villages and remote mountains...........a 3 hour drive blossomed into a 6 hour marathon.
By the time we saw the little sign cheerful announcing "28km to Castelbuono" the champagne was on ice! However, there turned out to be two Castelbuonos.......one in the hills and one on the coast some 20km
down the hill! Three wrong villages and a call to the hotel for directions later we eventually found a sign for The Relais St Anastasia in a useful FONT 6 lurking behind a bush.......... We had made it!
OBSERVATIONS:Italian Bathrooms: Let me introduce you to the "TWIGLET" Spraybooth shower cabinet. The pink doors slide open at right angles to allow a generous 9 inch gap through which ones silf like body squeezes. Turning around is a problem in itself so shutting the doors is almost impossible! OK there is loads of hot water but as your arms are trapped above your waist due to the confined area.......you are forced to wash you feet using........guess what....your feet......It gets worse....as certain regions are dependant on reflected spray from on high......
Everything in rural Sicily is slightly run down, closed and in need of repair. However it all seems to work! The rustic markets are full of fresh food and the locals are sitting in cafes eating ice cream at 1000hrs on a weekday.........OK the cars are full of dents and the balconies rusting through........but they seem very happy!........ In the UK we are deluged in emails, pedalling like hell
and slowly disappearing under a sea of "answer me now" technology............. Who has got it right?
Tot: 3.02s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 11; qc: 47; dbt: 0.0408s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb