Coasting to Castellammare del Golfo - Springtime Spin in Sicily 2018 - CycleBlaze

May 17, 2018

Coasting to Castellammare del Golfo

Today is the day we have been waiting for, when we get to get to saddle up and start pedalling. We walked for over 7 hours yesterday, but riding is what we came for. Our balcony was big enough for David to assemble the bikes so he set about putting them together after our liesurely breakfast on the upper terrace.

Here’s how a Bike Friday travels...in a suitcase.
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The maestro at work.
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We had perfect weather for a day of cycling, about 16 degrees in the morning, with a light tailwind. Horseshoes, I say! I had planned a light day for our first ride so we only had to ride 32k. It would be our first look at Sicilian roads and importantly a first hand experience with the wild animals, as Salvo liked to refer to the drivers in Sicily. His advice to us was to make eye contact and stare them down. That won’t work for cycling but it did seem to work as a pedestrian.

This was the scenery for today. Gorgeous clear azure water lapping the sandy, sometimes pebbled, beaches.

View towards Castellammare del Golfo.
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Flowers, flowers everywhere.
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We were both surprised by how lush the foliage is here. Sicily is rather well known for its wildflowers but nothing can really prepare you for it. Words fail me on this...and this was only day one. I lost count of the numbers of different flowers, and we’re talking about big sprays and rambling bushes and shrubbery loaded with flowers. It’s as though they are on steroids (more likely, it’s sunshine and moisture). We have geraniums at home, nice bright flowers that we like to block plant is groupings. Here, they grow as big climbing shrubs. Sorry I don’t have photos but if I stopped for all the beautiful flowers I would not get anywhere! Of course they also cultivate grapes here as well. Marsala, the city, is not far from here.

Most traffic is on the Autostrade.
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There were many dilapidated and deserted concrete buildings along the way, especially as we got closer to Castellammare. One wonders which era of strife led to their abandonment. These were interspersed among other buildings that had been showered with architectural love (and $$$) and were someone’s gorgeous home. So, it was quite a surprise to round the corner of see the thriving little harbour and town at Castellammare. There was a very large marina with pleasure boats and a couple of yachts.

Harbour at Castellammare del Golfo.
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This is an ancient little town perched on a steep hill that rises up from the harbour. Which is to say, the streets are a maze and it’a not unusual for a street to become a staircase along the way. Our gps suggested we ride up this street from the harbour to reach our B&B. As it turned out after a little sleuthing around there was an actual road one block over that we could push our bikes up. 

Our gps told us to ride UP this street.
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We were welcomed by our host Anna who encouraged us to stroll the old city and gave us a recommendation for dinner.  We strolled through the old stone alleyways and stopped at the harbour for a panini and fresh squeezed juice, which was hand pressed from two pomegranates, two blood oranges and one lemon.  David had a pistachio frappe with his sandwich. 

I had to wonder who might be searching for the autostrade at this junction in the old city. You never know when you have to make a hot retreat and get of town I guess.

When you least need it, the sign will be there directing you to Palermo. In other parts of Italy, all roads lead to Rome.
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We stopped at the Egesta Mare for dinner. It was as good as it looks and for about 60% of the price we would pay at home...as if we could find seafood or even pasta like this!

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How about some pasta to go with that seafood?
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We found the easy way back from dinner so we didn’t have to climb the staircase. By this time, the piazzas and pedestrian streets were pleasantly buzzing. We drifted off to sleep easily after the most amazing day.

Streets are actually sets of steps in these steep hillside towns.
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Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 32 km (20 miles)

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Joy DavisI'm going to have to add Sicily to my bucket list. Love your blog -- have a wonderful time...
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3 years ago
John ElsonHello fellow Vancouver Islanders! We too were inspired by Scott and Rachael’s fabulous journal and did a modified version of their trip from mid-March to mid-April. We hope you have as good a trip as we had - I’m pretty sure you’ll have better weather! We took the train from Syracuse to Taormina and didn’t regret it. We found the small road off of the SS115 that is part of the official cycle route to be impassable. Other than that, Scott’s directions and gps routes were highly reliable.
Have a great tour - we’ll be following it with envy!
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3 years ago
Anne AnastasiouWe're loving following your blog Anne. Thanks so much for sharing. It looks and sounds amazing! We're looking forward to seeing more! Great work.
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3 years ago
Anne MathersTo Anne AnastasiouHappy to have you along on this amazing adventure. Thanks, Anne.
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3 years ago