We returned to the south coast and a new site at Secca Grande. Cathy and Graham joined us three days later. The beach walk was more of a scramble with Cathy leading the way at a fast pace. I managed to spill coffee over Sarah so she had to go in the sea to wash it off. Many splendid rock formations for Gerry later in the year.
We started our trip to Palermo by train from Cefalu. Our first visit was to the Catacombs dei Cappuccini. These house the bodies of over 8,000 mummies from 16th century onwards that are dressed in their clothing and hung in various postures on the walls. Very macabre and a little unnerving. Not for the squeamish. See link for pics as photos not allowed .
We then went to the Cappella Palatina inside the Palazzo dei Normanni. This is the palace of the 12th century Sicilian kings. Another fantastic display of mosaics and opulence. The city itself is just another city, not our thing really, big cities but worth the visit. The traffic is scary, you just have to cross the road with oblivion and keep walking, no one stops voluntarily at crossings it seems.
We had wonderful sandwiches and coffee in a little back street by the side of the road in the morning and beer and toasties by the harbour in the afternoon.
A trip to Monreale with Kathy and Graham, our new pals, proved a great day out. The town is pleasant and the Norman Cathedral built in 1174 by William 11 is spectacular. The mosaics cover almost 8,000 sq m and contain two tons of pure gold and depict scenes from the New testament. The drive back was an event in its self, with Graham deciding to take a “short cut” to miss out Palermo. How he managed to get his truck through some of the back streets i still do not know, sooner him than me. It was nice to get back to a good meal together.
Sarah’s family finally arrived after a few doubts earlier in the week. We picked them up from Palermo airport in the pouring rain and drove the two hire cars back to Cefalu and their villa.
We had good weather for the week and travelled to Mount Etna on New years day, where we sledged in the snow, and Matt, Audrey and Gerry took the cable car higher up the mountain. The scenery was fantastic with all the snow.
Two days later Etna erupted quite violently, Near Miss
Went walking in the mountains again in the snow at Piano Cervi on a route we had previously walked in October, it looked very different in it’s winter clothes.
In the afternoon the boy’s without Rob went in the sea, they looked frozen but very brave.
Log fires blazing every night and a good time was had by all.