The terror of a city with a Medieval street plan!

Cefalu Travel Blog

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Once we were off the stressful and at moments terrifying roads, I thought the worst was over, oh how wrong I was.  The drive into Cefalu was beautiful with the picturesque Sicilian countryside and beautiful coast.  Out first views of the town were coming around a bend where we could see the marina area with the buildings of the old town jutting out on a peninsula and the large flat topped mountain (La Rocca) dominates the background.  It was beautiful, but the light rain and traffic stopped us from getting a picture, that would have to wait. 


We had checked the TomTom and the closest parking listed was 55km from the guest house, something had to be wrong.  As we got closer to the guest house and deeper into the city’s orginal medieval streets began to narrow and sidewalks disappeared.

  Once we crossed into the old town where the guest house is located it was like a game of Operation.  There were shops close enough to reach out and touch the merchandise.  People had to move to allow the car through.  Where the street widened enough someone was parked.  I was terrified of hitting someone or something.  We finally reached the guest house and I left Brian with the luggage so I could part the car.


 Once again I tried the TomTom and once again there was nothing closer than 55km away.  I was still inching down a street that was getting narrower and I had a car behind me.  I finally came to an point where I could see a larger street ahead of me.  The trouble was the opening I had to get through!  I really thought I had driven down a pedestrian only street, but the other cars were still behind me.

  When I looked at the wall I could see scratch marks on the corners of the walls on either side.  I inched forward and managed to get the car almost stuck, and so close to on corner if I went forward I would rip the side open.  There older men were walking by at the point and started to give me directions on what to do.  I had to back up, after they pushed the mirrors into the side of the car.  I was sweating bullets at this point.  I did not want to destroy the rental car.  The men managed to get me backed up and then helped me to navigate out.  The secret was to go straight at the wall and then at the last second turn, did I mention this was a manual transmission car?  I don’t drive those well. 


Once I was through the opening without having altered the structure of the car, I made a right turn.

  This was the wrong thing to do, as it sent be out of town.  I did consider just driving on, but, turned around and headed back to the labyrinth that is the town.  I managed to navigate through the old town and get turned around on the approach to the guest house again.  It was now starting to rain.  As I drove I looked for parking signs.  As I was passing a street one caught my eye so I backed up, nearly taking out some elderly people who I figured at that point had had a good enough life.  I had to do a three point turn to go down the street.  When I reached the parking sign there was no garage so I guessed it meant street parking.  I saw a space ahead and took it.  These two elderly women started to give me dirty looks and told me to go on as they were starting to walk down the street. I ignored them and parked the car.  I had to back into the space going uphill.
  When I got out and checked, I discovered I had scraped the rear passenger door, luckily we bought insurance to cover everything.


It was now really raining hard.  I had no umbrella with me and had to walk 410 meters to the guesthouse.  On the way I passed the duomo.  As I approached the guesthouse I noticed Brian on the balcony.  I waved at him and he pointed out a parking spot in the front of the place that had opened up.  I was not moving the car if I didn’t have to.   He made the motions that he had tried to call, but he had my mobile in the room in one of the bags.


When I go inside I began climbing stairs and was shocked that there was no elevator, but should not have been.

  When reached the forth floor (American version, third in Europe) I was a little calmer from the exertion.  When I got to the room Brian told me he had to carry all the luggage (3 small but heavy suitcases and four small shopping bags) up by himself.  He did it in stages, bags up a flight down for the rest, repeat to top.  I told him about my experience and I won the contest for most awful torture of the day.


Once I caught a couple of breaths and looked at the room I floored by how large it was.  The view form the balcony was great.  We can see all the way out to the sea.  I checked with the manager of the guesthouse and where I parked the car was fine.  I was happy to leave it there.

  Brian and I got ourselves together and headed out into the town. 


We made our firs stop at the duomo piazza.  There was a wedding going on so we couldn’t go inside.  We kind of wandered around the piazza and noticed a sign for the museum.  I was ironically right down the one of the side streets.  We started to go towards it.  On the way were distracted by a souvenir shop.  We found a couple of really cute things.  I wanted a new mug for work and found one and another new one for home too.  We didn’t have enough cash so we had to run to an ATM.  Once we did Brian asked me to go back and get the stuff while he took pictures of the outside of the duomo.

  I retrieve out treasures and found Brian. 


We headed down to the museum.  On the way we passed a shop where the smell of cheese was intoxicating. The aroma made the sweet and robust flavor of the cheese come alive in ours mouth.  We forced ourselves to go on.  When we got to the museum we say it was open late and we could see it the next day in the early evening.  The rain had stopped and the sky had cleared, so Brian wanted to get pictures from the marina.  I know where it was thanks to my driving escapade and a bad turn in the area.  A way we went to the waterfront. 


When we got there Brian immediately noticed the row of house the sits on the water and recognized them from the books.

  We made our way out onto the pier and got super views of the old town.  While we were there boat can in a little white poodle jumped off and made for dry land.  After a little bit she came over and let me pet her. 


Brian and I move to a high walkway and went out to the end.  The sun was going down and giving us a really nice show.  There were some kids there messing around, the younger ones decided to hide behind us for protection.  It went on for a few minutes and then we became annoyed. We finally handed them over to the other kids.


With it beginning to get dark we decide to head back.  Along the way we stopped in a couple of shops and admired some truly unique and artistic pottery.



We were hungry, but did not want to go to a restaurant, so we decided to eat in.  We went to a small grocery and bought some tomatoes, basil, fresh fruit, water and drinks.  Then we went back to shop with the fabulous smelling cheese and bought some and Parma ham for me.  With our purchases in had it was back to the room.  I made Brian a caprese salad using the olive oil from Caccamo.  We had a nice quite dinner and then Brian started working on the blog, and finished hours later with his portion.  I finished reading my book, “ The Shadow of the Wind”, and started a new one, “Dead Until Dark”.  I was so tired I feel asleep long before Brian was done.  Tomorrow we could sleep in, YEAH!!!

puttyland says:
Wow, you took much better shots of Cefalú than I did - it was overcast and/or rainy most of the day I was there, but it was still lovely. We didn't climb to the top though. Sounds lovely! The driving in those little medieval towns is scary though, isn't it? I was lucky I had a friend with me who ENJOYED those tiny narrow streets.
Posted on: Oct 27, 2009
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Cefalu Hotels & Accommodations review
An extra large room vith a view
This b&b was reccomended by my friend Giorgio who's guesthouse we stay at in Palermo. It's in the depths of the Medieval old town and has a view o… read entire review
photo by: zetez