Sicilian treats and a cappaccino in the afternoon


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April 13th 2013
Published: April 14th 2013
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Todays gelato flavour - N/A but had cannoli(Sicilian pastries)instead

Fine weather equals beach so the short trip to Golfo di Castellammare about 40 odd kilometres away was planned.

There was always going to be a chance that the at least one of the neighbourhood dogs would decide to bark during the night and so it was to be.We couldn't work out how close the dog was as sound carries in the narrow valley the apartment is located in.If we had been able to work out where it was then it would have got the sharp end of our tongue.Thankfully it finally settled and the neighbours all got back to sleep.

Breakfast was again on the terrace in the sun listening to Jim Sutton on Newstalk ZB(it is the only radio station we can get that we can understand and it does keep us in touch with NZ)

The road to the Golfo(gulf)started at the bottom of our street and took us up the side of the valley through a couple of small towns with houses and apartments clinging to the steep hillside.

At the top the road went through a pass and then down the other side with hillsides so steep that nothing much grew on them.There were a couple of galleries to stop falling rocks making it to the roadway.

Ahead of us was the picturesque Golfo which from end to end is about 30km wide flanked at both ends by steep cliffs.To us from Nz we would probably call it a very large bay.

The road Victoria was taking us avoided the mass of towns on the flat land back from the sea until we got to Castellammare at the far western end.We needed a local map to check out the location of a beach we had read about that looking beautiful and also had a grotto and we spotted one on the promenade in the town in the nick of time.

With the ongoing route planned we headed off.Up until now driving had been a breeze but suddenly that changed.Perhaps it is the sight of policewomen with their lollipop sticks that causes the traffic to snarl and this again was just the same.The cars did crawl along as we negotiating tight bends to get to the road we wanted and then only to find that the road the GPS was taking us to,was closed!So back we went through it all again in reverse although by the time we got back to where the policewomen were they were gone and traffic was flowing freely.

We found our way to Scapello further around the Golfo towards Cap San Vito but here when we programme in the final destination to the GPS Vicky wanted to take us by another completely different route 52km away.

We gave the idea away and after a boot lunch took a walk along the coast road to admire the scenery.Below was a small bay with people walking down to it after handing over Euros to a girl sitting by the gate which stated 'private property'.That wasn't for us and as it turned out when we got another angle to view the water and 'beach'area all that the people going down had to sit or lie on was a very large slab of white concrete.It was very secluded and the colour of the water was exquisite but not worth any Euros just to be next to the water.

We resolved then to drive to a town Fausto had told us about and which claimed the Sicilian sweet pastry Cannoli as its own.The town was Piano degli Albanesi and by the GPS reckoning we would be there just in time for afternoon tea.

This time we took the highway back across the Golfo and headed inland through reasonably flat and rolling farmland which was distinctly different to the coastal scene.

As we drove on we entered a valley taking us on a gentle rise towards the coast again with what seemed like a mountain ahead blocking our path as the valley started to narrow.We had climbed to just over 800 metres at this point.The road we needed then took a turn off he main road and we climbed even higher and got to a point where one corner was obviously so severe that a bridge had had to be built out into mid air with a sweeping curve to negotiate the hillside.Quite spectacular and must have been a huge cost for such a minor road.

We have decided after about 1400km of driving that the Italians must have spent so much money on their roads,bridges and tunnels outside the towns in years gone by that there is nothing left to fix the streets inside the towns!

P a Albenesi was a sleepy looking town on a Saturday afternoon but there was a bar open and on entering we were faced with a wide array of sweet treats including the famous cannoli,a sort of chocolate pastry tube filled with ricotto cream,small but very sweet and worth giving up the gelato for.

We don't think they had seen may English speaking people or Kiwis for that matter in this bar before as we got the royal treatment with our cake selection served on a plate rather than a serviette which seemed to be the traditional way of doing things.

We sat in the sun enjoying our Sicilian treats and a cappaccino,this time complete with chocolate for the first time in Italy for us.

The drive home was back down the hill and around that same piece of roadway that went out into midair to get around the hairpin bend and then up and over the pass between the mountains we had admired before we turned off earlier.

After dinner it was time for some video and tonight it was Cliff's World Tour of 2003 when he played at the Mission,a concert we went to with my sister KJ and partner Tim.Tiredness overcame us before the DVD finished and we will have to watch the rest another night.

Here's hoping for a full nights sleep without the neighbourhood dogs getting up before dawn!


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14th April 2013

Another most entertaining travelogue well underway
Reading your beautifully illustrated blog is the next best thing to being there. Your brain to keyboard skills are amazing Graheme, not to speak of those of navigation and communication. Hats off to the both of you. That hairpin bend on with the outrigger viaduct photographed above brings to mind a similar but complete spiral in the line the Bernina Express took us on our day trip into Northern Italy from Switzerland a few years ago. Keep blogging on. Cheers O&R

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