Arriving in Sicily: First stop Cefalù:
On arrival in Trapani I immediately headed east towards Palermo and enjoyed a fortunate stop-off at the wonderful Cefalù. A chiefly tourist village, it has a beach (pictured below), an interesting cathedral and a mountain which bears the scars of the city’s brutal history.
Cefalù is located close to a former Greek colony and hence historians generally accept that they were the founders. It was hitherto conquered by the Romans and then later by the Byzantine Empire (many refer to them as Roman). The Arabs were next to covet this beautiful city followed by the Normans in 1063. This continued occupation is reflected in the fortification present on the huge rock which stands over the city. Each civilisation adapted the defence structures of the former to their particular needs and design.
On that holy mountain
I climbed to the top of this mountain where I met an out of breath German. He was keen to point out the fact that he had just climbed to the summit although I thought this was quite obvious. We endeavoured to communicate in Italian followed by in English and in the end resorted to the barbarian method of using a stick in the ground. He succeeded eventually in getting his point across when he drew “77” in the golden sun burned Sicilian clay and pointed to himself saying “Ich”. It took me a good half hour of careful climbing in the hot sun to reach the top, so the fact that he managed it at all at the age of 77 is quite impressive.
The city below is built at an angle stretching upwards from the beach. It makes for a fairly tiring walk from the beach to the cathedral which has a beautiful mosaic of Jesus on the dome above the alter. In front of the cathedral is a pleasant square and a shopping street. As regards night life there is nothing to do. I found one bar and they offered only karaoke. I left immediately. On the promenade you will find tourist type pizzeria’s and an Irish bar, both are expensive.
By day the beach is the place to be. Arches running under very traditional houses will take you to the beach. The arches were used to bring in the catch of the day now tourists take advantage of them for photo opportunities. Boats are moored to the right of the small beach where locals laze in total tranquillity.
If you mention Cefalù to anyone who’s been there they will invariably tell you they liked it. It’s hard to put your finger on what the charm is but it’s definitely there in abundance.
From Cefalù I went to Messina and finally Catania where I settled and began looking for work. Looking for the Sicilian Dream!
The Cathedral – Il duomo di Cefalù
John P Brady writes fiction, articles and a blog about life in Italy, where he has chosen to make his home. His first book, a collection, entitled Back to the Gaff has been recently published by Roadside Fiction. It concerns the wild happenings in Dublin by night and documents the attitudes of the youth in modern Irish society. Keep up to date with his writing by subscribing:
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Back to the Gaff
Scandalous Narratives of Contemporary Ireland
Back to the Gaff is a book by new author John P Brady, which describes the excessive and outrageous nature of Irish night life. Meet an array of eccentric individuals who populate the bars of Dublin, living lives of decadence and abandon. Their frolics inevitably lead to a trip ‘back to the gaff,’ which in Dublin-speak means gravitating towards someone’s place of residence where the depravity continues.
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