Situated between the cities of Palermo and Messina, on Sicily's north coast, Cefalù is a gorgeous and historic seaside town, and it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily. Fortunately, despite being overrun in the summer, Cefalù is nice and quiet in November. I spent a night in the town, before continuing on towards Palermo.
This morning I rode out of the lovely tourist town of Cefalù — which unlike yesterday evening, was now gorgeous and sunny — and headed west along the coast, towards the city of Términi Imerese. And all I can say is that — despite lovely weather — it was an evil morning, and I'll remember Términi as an evil city. It ended up being twice the distance that I thought it was, from Cefalù (I guess the map wasn't 100% accurate), and the journey took twice as long as I thought it would (over 2 hours, instead of 1 hour). When I got there, I had to make use of the local post office — and as I expected, dealing with the Italian postal service was hardly a fun experience. I went into several cafes and asked for a hot chocolate — but all anyone had was cappuccino, so I had to subsist on that. The city's roads were the worst I've encountered so far on my trip: they're steep; they wind uphill; they're narrow and cobbled; they're poorly signposted; they're largely one-way; and they're utterly traffic-jammed. Plus, I had great difficulty finding my way out of the damn place: the road south, into the mountains and towards the town of Caccamo, proved most elusive indeed. Thus it is that I dub Términi Imerese a place of great woes — not a place about which I hold any fond memories.
This afternoon I finished my two-day sojourn in the mountains of northern Sicily, by completing my descent through Le Madonie, and ending up in the coastal town of Cefalù. Cefalù is the most well-known and the most popular tourist spot on the Sicilian north coast, and I reached it at the bright-n-early time of 3pm. It's a gorgeous place — unlike the rest of the north coast, it's not just "another tacky generic beach resort", it's a quaint town with a very historic centre — but unfortunately, the weather there this afternoon was terrible. The mountains may have been sunny today; but the coast is stormy as can be, as well as decidedly chilly. Despite this, it was well worth spending the evening here, and soaking up the atmospheric ambiance without too many other tourists around.
This morning's ride to Geraci Siculo was a bit tough; but after that, the rest of the day was a breeze. Yesterday, I slogged through the long uphill climb into the Nebrodi mountains; and today, all that paid off, because it was a long downhill cruise through the neighbouring Madonie mountains, and back to the Sicilian north coast. Not only was the rest of the day completely downhill — it was also warm, sunny, and very pleasant scenery-wise. Like the Nebrodi, Le Madonie is also a pristine and protected area of Sicily; and it also boasts rolling farmland, lush forests, and charming mountain towns. I passed through Castelbuono — one such town — at lunchtime today; when I sat down at a cafe on the main drag there, one of the locals was even generous enough to buy me an espresso! Nothing like some warm, rural Sicilian hospitality, eh?