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.
Cefalù: historic town, tall peninsula, golden beach, and stormy weather.
When I reached Cefalù this afternoon, I originally intended to seek out one of the nearby campsites (there are a few just out of the town), and to spend the night there. However, the miserable weather — combined with two days of roughing it in the mountains, difficulty in finding said campsites, and the abundance of accommodation in town — made a night of proper comfort simply too tempting to resist. Plus, it is such a nice town, that it seemed worthwhile spending a night right inside it, and soaking up the atmosphere of those narrow, cobbled Sicilian streets.
Only problem: accommodation in Cefalù is a bit pricey (even in November). However, I stumbled across an interesting and somewhat cheaper option than the usual hotel or B&B stay — I spent the night in the local convent, with the Cefalù nuns! Apparently, it's quite common for convents to double as guesthouses here in Italy; and apart from a bedtime curfew (which was 10:30pm here — more than late enough for my tired self), they're really no different from any other hotel. Staying in the convent was a great experience: my room was quiet and comfortable; the nuns were very friendly and hospitable; and it was right in the centre of town.
Sicily cycle map, day 4.
It was a pleasant and relaxing evening in Cefalù. I stumbled across a middle-aged English couple, who are here on vacation for a few days — and we chatted over a few drinks in a bar. I found some (rather expensive) Internet, which allowed for a quick check of ye 'ol email (first access I've had, since leaving Messina 4 days ago). Grabbed some tasty pizza for dinner; explored the narrow alleys of the town centre; stocked up on supplies at the local supermarket; and tucked in nice and early, since I was utterly exhausted, and since it was a cold Wednesday night.