Italy - Sicily part 1

Blog Italy – Sicily part 1. Written on: 10-10-2023

Overzicht dag 332 - 343

30 September - 11 October 2023


Km’s Cycled







Regggio Calabria - Sant'Alessio Siculo - Catania - Nicolosi - Piedimonte Etneo

Crossing over to Sicily

The crossing to Sicily takes about 20 minutes. While we are waiting to board, traffic is leaving the ferry. It’s complete chaos! Nothing is guided, no one gives anyone priority and they all move forward as if they have to set a world record. Anyway, we have an idea of what awaits us in Sicily. And indeed when we arrive in Messina it is also chaos. Unfortunately, it appears to be just as chaotic on the roads. We have the feeling that getting your drivers license in Sicily is slightly different than in the Netherlands. “park your car in the middle of the roundabout to do your shopping; Drive your car at least one meter over the stop line and then look to see if anyone is coming; Drive with one hand while calling your mother with the other hand and smoking a cigarette at the same time.” No kidding, we really encounter this every hour. We’ll be busy getting out of Messina for a while. In addition to their bizarre driving style, and the idea that you can park anywhere when it suits you (which causes a lot of congestion), there are also a huge number of holes, cracks and potholes in the road. We have the feeling that every new piece of asphalt is broken up again after a week, because they forgot to install teh drainage systems.

We only cycle 50km that day, but we are still quite tired when we finally reach the campsite.

It works out well

In Sicily we have a few highlights we really want to see: Etna, Valley of the Temples and Scala di Turchi. And on October 20 we have to be in Palermo for the boat. Due to the chaotic traffic, we decide that we will definitely take the route through the mountains, away from the (more) touristy coast. After planning the route, it turns out we still have 7 days to spare. No problem of course, as there is still plenty to see/do, so we’ll see. But then we are asked via Work-away if we would like to do a house sitting in Sicily, on the edge of Mount Etna, at short notice. Of course that works out great!

In the meantime we had already cycled towards Etna and we were already at campsites with shuttles to the national park. We therefore decide to first climb Etna and then cycle back to the address of the workaway.

Overtocht naar Sicilië
Isola Bella
Sicilië Canoli
Elfduizend kilometer fietsen


The shuttle drops us off at the bottom of the cable car. However, we decide not to take this and walk up via the right side. There are several routes, but no signs and in the lava ash it is not very clear where a path goes. So we just do something. Call it wandering. The park is beautiful and it is special to be able to view such a volcanic landscape up close. We had read up on the rules in the park in advance. Since it is an active volcano, you can only go up to a certain height without a guide. Only we don’t see any signs, warnings, barriers or anything that indicates that you are not allowed to enter a certain area. After a walk up and seeing some craters and viewpoints, we enjoy have lunch on our picnic blanket with a view on the volcano. Rob even takes a little nap. Until then we have adhered to the rules of the park. But we  see many people walking up to the top and no signs, warnings or people to stop them.

We decide to take a look. It is a big climb that is most like climbing a sanddune. Fortunately we are in excellent condition and within 20 minutes we are at the top and have a beautiful view of Etna. We get a Bonjour from a bunch of Americans who have probably forgotten that they are in Italy and not France, and eventually descend back to the start of the cable car.

Top van Etna

Workaway number 3

We cycle through mountainous area to the workaway. We can pick up the keys in the village and after doing some shopping, we cycle to the house. The owners are not there, so we have to bring the house back to life. Shutters open, switches on, boiler on. It is a gigantic house with a beautiful garden all around and a roof terrace with a view of Mount Etna. It has many rooms, but luckily we don’t have to use them all. However, the house and garden could indeed use some maintenance. If you take a quick look, it all looks very neat and tidy, but there are quite a few flaws here and there. Because the weather is nice, we mainly work in the garden. Rob can finally to use a shovel again and can start a fire, and some raking, sweeping and cutting needs to be done. They would also like it if we could paint the gate.

For us it is especially nice that we have a refrigerator and an oven again, can wash all our things thoroughly and sort out quite a few things. With a large to-do list, both personally and for the chores around the house, the week flies by.

Stukje duwen
Here we go again! Hike-a-Bike
schudden voor gebruik
Shake before use
And guess who's doing all the work....
lekker rusten

And we continue

And then it’s time to continue cycling again. We still have a good week ahead of us in Sicily. On October 20 we will take the boat from Palermo to Napoli. And on October 25 we board the plane…

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