Friday, August 26, 2016

An Afternoon Sojourn to Cefalu Beach, Sicily

(June 2016) The previous evening in Messina, we had enjoyed a group celebration dinner at La Tonnaro Restaurant. Known for its fresh seafood, we were happy with the large platters of mussels and calamari we started with, along with a local sparkling wine made from the inzolia grape. The next course was a seafood risotto, followed by a main course of stuffed swordfish. We ordered a variety of wines including several made of the grillo grape, which many people had fallen in love with, along with two different bottles of nero d’avola.

Platters of Mussels at la Tonnaro Restaurant in Messina Sicily

We were grateful for the celebration dinner, because the next day was our last day on Sicily, before taking the night train from Palermo to Rome. To insure we enjoyed our final day, several people suggested we stop at Cefalu for lunch, located halfway between Messina and Palermo.

Charming Seaside Village of Cefalu, Sicily

Pronounced “Chefalu”, Cefalu is a charming seaside village famous for its white sandy beach. When we arrived the gray clouds that had been following us all morning had just starting to thin, but it was still breezy with a hint of rain. Therefore, everyone split up to wander the narrow streets of the charming old town, looking for a place to eat lunch. We ended up at one of the many small cafés that line the beach, and felt fortunate to get a table overlooking the water. I ordered calamari and we shared a bottle of grillo – our new favorite Sicilian white wine that is slightly reminiscent of pinot grigio and perfect for the beach and seafood.

Cannoli Dessert

After splitting a cannoli for dessert, we wandered down to the beach.  The sun came out and soon it was quite hot. After wading in the water for a while, I settled down on the sand and took a short nap. When I woke up, it was almost time to meet everyone at the bus, so I wandered back through the narrow streets of the town and found the Duomo di Cefalù. After climbing the steps and visiting the famous cathedral, I found a small café to purchase food and water for the train, and then headed back to the bus.

Falling Asleep on the Beach at Cefalu

On the way, I encountered other members of our group watching Lorenzo, our guide, rescue a driver who had gotten his tiny car stuck in an even tinier street. We watched as Lorenzo spent an excruciating ten minutes trying to maneuver the car out of the tight spot, where the walls of the houses were so close that the car mirrors scraped both sides. Afterwards when I congratulated Lorenzo on being such a good Samaritan, he said, “Remember, it is important to be kind to people in need, especially in Sicily.”

Duomo di Cefalù

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