To Diamante, and the train to Scilla - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

June 20, 2019

To Diamante, and the train to Scilla

We’re nearing the end of the tour.  Today is virtually the last day on the mainland, and the beginning of our return to Palermo.  Our original plan was to take the train from Maratea to Palermo, but we decided that it would be more secure to break the journey into two days since a ferry across the Strait of Messina is also involved.  It seemed a bit too complex to get a train to the ferry, catch the ferry, and then catch the train to Palermo all in the same day.

So, the plan for today instead is to return to Scilla for tonight.  From Scilla it is only an easy six mile ride to the ferry, and since we loved the town when we stayed there before anyway, it feels like a perfect solution.

We could have just caught the train from Maratea to Scilla, making today a rest  day.  We’ve just had a rest day though, and want to feel entitled to a decent dinner tonight.  We have plenty of time, so we decide to bike to Diamante and catch the train from there.

The first part of the ride, to Scalea, is just more of the same.  In other words, it’s spectacular.  The coastline all the way from Palinuro to Scalea really is fantastic.  Parts of it make you think of the Amalfi coast really, except without all the tourists.  A wonderful ride.

A last look back up to old Maratea and its Redeemer. The town will disappear from view shortly after this.
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There’s a bit of cloud cover over the peaks this morning, keeping us cooler until it burns off.
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Older rocks, newer rocks - another Cycle365 Challenge photo.
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Looking back north up the coast.
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Like the ride into Maratea two days ago, we’re on a dramatic, cliff-hugging road most of the way to Scalea.
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Cooling off in Piazza della Resistenza, Praia a Mare.
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Agave and castle
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Looking back at the beach by Atrigna, and Isola di Dino.
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Rachael on the bridge - you figure out which one.
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Looking back at the gap through the last headland we just crossed.
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What a tangle! We can’t tell for certain from here which of those roads are ours.
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There’s a bit of cloud cover as we approach Scalea, but it’s not covering us.
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Wonderful but hot, that is.  When we arrive in Scalea we’re overheated, sweaty, a bit dehydrated, and feel like we’ve had enough fun for the day.  We decide to stop biking and catch the train here so we drop by the Scalea train station.  We leave frustrated though - the ticket window is closed, and the departures board doesn’t show any regional trains going to Scalea.  I don’t really understand, but we decide to just bike on to Diamante.  We know we can catch a regional train to Scilla from there, because we looked at the online schedule this morning and also took it going the other direction seven weeks ago when we bailed out on riding from Amantea in the rain.

So, on to Diamante it is.  Just another ten miles, which goes quickly - it’s flat (the coastal fireworks end at Scalea), straight, fairly busy, and boring.  And hot.

The ticket window in Diamante is also closed, but there’s a notice to go to the bar across the street for tickets.  At the bar, the nice woman sells us two tickets to Scilla and two tickets at the same price for the bicycles.  I ask her the departure time, but she has no idea.  She indicates to me to check the departure board at the station.

We go back to the departure board.  There’s no train to Scilla listed - the schedule looks just like the one in Scalea.  It takes a minute to realize that there must be a transfer involved, at Paola.  And now we remember - we had to make this transfer going the other direction also, just missed our connection, and had a nice chat Kirsten from Cosenza/Edinburgh while we waited two and a half hours for the next one.

So, the short story about the train.  It leaves in fifteen minutes, and we catch it without incident.  On board, the agent asks why we purchased tickets for the bicycles, since they should be free given the price of our tickets.   Annoying, but there’s nothing to be done; but we don’t mind supporting the trains anyway.  We have a very tight connection at Paola again, but knowing so this time we rush to make it, and barely do.  The train starts moving almost as soon as we have both the bikes and our baggage on board.

It’s great to see Scilla again, but it’s too hot when we arrive to really appreciate; and we don’t especially appreciate that we booked a room in the upper town this time, and have to bike up there.  It’s a fine place though, has good space for the bikes, good WiFi, good everything.  B&B Maestro Francesco: highly recommended, but be ready to climb some steep stairs to get to your room.

Waiting for the Regionale, Diamonte.
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Italian regional trains are hit and miss. They normally take bikes, but they may not actually have useful accommodations for them. This is one of the better ones.
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After checking in to our B&B we walk over to a nearby bar for a snack and beverages and then return to the room to stay close by the air conditioner until dinner.

We descend to the waterfront again at sundown, check out all the options, and end up with a table overlooking the sea.  As we wait for our orders to arrive, we puzzle over a photo shoot occurring close by.  Looking up, there’s a stylish couple at one of the windows of the hotel associated with the restaurant, looking lovingly at each other and the sea as the photographer documents their apparent bliss.  A few minutes later, they descend and take up a waterside table close to ours and the photo shoot continues.  They eye each other fondly, toast each other, take in the views, peruse their menus.  They look as great closer up as they did from a distance - classy, fit, well dressed, well groomed.

Finally, the show is over.  The photographer leaves, and the adoring young couple leaves too without actually ordering a meal.  It’s all been an act.  Our guess is that the photos are for the hotel, for advertising and brochures.  Stay here - this could be you!

We’re certainly eating though.  We have an excellent meal, and our enjoyment of the setting is authentic, not staged.  A great last evening on the road.  Tomorrow, Palermo!

Looking north from the top of the Rocca, Scilla
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Scilla’s Rocca and fortress.
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The waterfront beside our restaurant
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Chianalea, the fishing village on the north side of Scilla, is where most of waterfront restaurants are.
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I’m not sure why this photo taken from our table made it in. I just like boats, I guess.
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Jen GrumbyI'm glad this photo made the cut.

Very peaceful.
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2 months ago
You’ll recall that our room is up at the top of the town. Many stairs are involved, but a pistachio/cafe gelato helps the time pass more quickly.
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Chiesa dell’ Immacolata and the castle.
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It’s hard to tell at night, but Scilla is a much different place than it was seven weeks ago: the beaches are crowded, the restaurants are open.
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Ride stats today: 33 miles, 1,600’; for the tour: 2,364 miles, 149,300’

Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 2,406 miles (3,872 km)

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