Sciacca to La Scala dei Turchi - Springtime Spin in Sicily 2018 - CycleBlaze

May 23, 2018

Sciacca to La Scala dei Turchi

Mario has run his B&B here in Sciacca for two years. He is also a cyclist and was intrigued by our folding bikes. The B&B’s interior design and fixtures here are ... italian, which is to say they are modern, sleek and beautifully engineered. Mario’s vintage collectors bikes (50 yrs old) were part of the decor. 

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Today’s route was very quiet along secondary roads. Although there are few cars on our route, you have to remain vigilant because they drive with the pedal to the metal here. Speed limits are meaningless to the Sicilians. The good thing is that they are always avoiding obstacles when they drive so they are quite used to going around whatever is in front of them, whether it’s a dog, a car, a pedestrian, or whatever. At least that’s what I am hoping. 

It can be breath taking to watch the risks taken by some of the drivers, both at high speed on the highways and at low speed in the town centres. Nobody gets particularly excited although I did watch a young woman, cell phone to her ear, and an old man have a set-to in front of a grocery store. He decided to back up into her car to get a potential parking spot in front of a grocery store and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. He just kept barking at her as he backed up. The entire street was quickly engulfed in the argument. I guess the old guy won because he got the parking spot.

This old bridge has done its duty.
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 This road slumping is a common scene here and it happens on highways as well. Instead of fixing it, they may put a sign in front of it directing traffic to avoid the drop-off or more likely they leave alone.

More slumping in the roadway.
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Below is a pic of the alternate new highway as it tunnelled through a mountain. Seeing the road conditions here, it makes me wonder how long it will be before these elevated concrete highways give in.

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We rode through olive groves and gentle rolling terrain of sprawling hillsides and valleys, eventually coming out to the coast near Realmonte. There’s a section of the cliff here where strata of white marlstone juts out above the beach. It is quite soft and is weathered smooth by the wind and rain. It’s called the Turkish Steps. They take on different looks at different times of day. The stark contrast of the white steps against the turquoise waters of the Medterranean is beautiful and it’s no wonder it’s a popular spot for photographers.

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You can shimmy around the corner if you dare....we didn’t.
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To get to the steps, you take along set of stairs to the beach the walk along until you reach a big fence warning you to stay out. Hop over this fence and it’s a short walk to from there. Now, just why is a tourist attraction fenced off to the public?  I think it might be their way of showing you that you go there at your own risk.

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See those grey clouds in the pictures above?  They were soon shooting bolts of lightning down on us so we scooted off the steps and headed down the beach to a nice new bar for drinks. They serve platters of snacks with your drinks in the afternoon.

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We had reservations for 8 pm in the pizzeria overlooking the steps. We arrived at 8, the first to arrive as usual, and were shown to a table for two. It faced into the kitchen so we asked for a table by the window. No, we were not allowed to have that table! OK. We chose another table and ordered our pizza. Meanwhile an elderly couple arrived and were seated at the window table. Fair enough. They ordered their primi course, a huge plate of spaghetti and every kind of seafood mounded on top. They noshed away while we munched on our pizzas, which were delicious. I was only able to eat half my pizza and David ate 3/4 of his and as we were packing our pizza for take-away, the old couple were being served their secondi plate...another huge mound of seafood but without the pasta. Holy batman, what appetites they had!

We strolled back to our B&B and fell asleep to the sound of barking dogs. That’s a story for another day.

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Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 314 km (195 miles)

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Scott AndersonI see that you were able to walk on the Turkish Steps last year. I couldn’t remember, so I went back to check. They were blocked off this year, possibly permanently? You may have been among the last that were able to experience seeing them up close.
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2 years ago