Messina Mudslides, Impromptu Visit to Cefalú

Cefalu Travel Blog

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Actually, Messina. This is the view from our hotel window when we woke up after the mudslide debacle.
Friday, 10/2/09

In the morning we opened the curtains and realized we were on the waterfront of Messina, which surprised us. We were facing a huge statue in the port. We turned on Italian news and saw the horrendous mudslides and flooding in Messina that we had narrowly missed. Worst rains Sicily has seen in 50 years apparently.

We had breakfast downstairs with Mom and Dad and then found out from the desk clerk (either an Italian with a British accent or a Brit working in Italy, we couldn't decide which) that the roads were still closed, but none of us wanted to stay in Messina (it's...well, it's a big port city...'nuff said). So, we gritted our teeth and headed back out for the long journey towards Palermo to eventually get to Aci Sant'Antonio.
Ah, Cefalú - a welcome respite from the horrendous night before.
We realized that the charming Baroque city of Cefalú was on the way, so after a few hours, we decided to stop there and check it out. We parked in the new part of town, and walked around the old part of town, seeing the cathedral and the huge main square, having a nice lunch in a restaurant that looked like a tiny opera house, checking out the medieval open-air washing area where water was still flowing, and popping into a wine shop to grab some of our favorite Sicilian red wine, Nero D'Avola. Right as we were leaving it started raining again, but nothing like the night before.

We continued our journey on the southeast autostrada, and a few hours later we were back at the villa, so not the 8 hour trip the police were telling me about, but they probably thought it best that nobody be driving in that rain. Everyone seemed to take the whole thing in stride, and we had a great day, actually.
The main piazza in Cefalú
Maybe we're just getting used to the way things go here in Sicily.

In the afternoon, Mags, Liz and I drove to Catania airport to pick up Lynn. Lynn is Roberta's friend, and Roberta is Mom's friend, but we had never met or spoken with Lynn before - didn't know what she looked like, etc. Apparently, her plane had arrived HOURS earlier (she used to work for Continental, and had travel vouchers for life, but had to go on planes with space available, so her plans had to be a little fluid). We also exchanged our tiny Fiat Idea car (sorry, George Clooney - but the damn thing rattled in 2nd and 3rd gear and the rattle was getting worse as the week wore on) for a Volkswagon Golf, which was clearly an upgrade and also switched out the Magellan GPS which was constantly giving that battery error message. This was my 3rd time at Hertz (2nd time was adding Mags and Liz as drivers to the rental agreement...which they charge 6 Euros per day per driver!...but he just charged us for one extra driver), and I had the same customer service guy all 3 times. When I walked in this time, he said, “You again?" I said, "I PROMISE this will be the last time I see you before I drop off the car to go home!"
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Actually, Messina.  This is the vi…
Actually, Messina. This is the v…
Ah, Cefalú - a welcome respite fr…
Ah, Cefalú - a welcome respite f…
The main piazza in Cefalú
The main piazza in Cefalú
The cathedral
The cathedral
Cathedral interior
Cathedral interior
Beautifully ornate ceiling...
Beautifully ornate ceiling...
...and (in my opinion) hideously m…
...and (in my opinion) hideously …
Our adorable restaurant for lunch …
Our adorable restaurant for lunch…
View from the old town onto the bay
View from the old town onto the bay
One of the wider streets in Cefal…
One of the wider streets in Cefal…
The medieval clothes-washing area
The medieval clothes-washing area
Water still flowing
Water still flowing
View of the whole city, before the…
View of the whole city, before th…
Cefalu
photo by: zetez