Day 346, Palermo, 21.850 km

I can hear the reactions of some of you already: « What? Another article? But it’s only been two days… He should spend more time pedaling than writing his nonsense… » And then right after: « Cecilia. But who is she? What has he been up to again? « . Don’t worry, I’ll make it short for today, anyway, not much has happened in the last two days. And Cecilia is in this case only a song (sorry for those who already saw the concept of « Love is on the bike », it will not be for this time…), a song that has been in my head for a few days (I put the link here, it will save you some searching time). And when I hear the chorus, I hear « Sicilia ». And since I’m in Sicily, it’s worth an article title, isn’t it?

I leave Messina a bit late, I didn’t have the courage to finish the article the night before, so it takes me a bit of time in the morning, and then I have to get ready, pack my stuff, and the already stifling heat doesn’t encourage me to be more active than necessary. I start by following the coastline to Torre Faro, at the end of the northeastern tip of the island. My host told me: « you’ll see, it’s beautiful, very natural, in addition there are two salt lakes that communicate with the sea, a tower, I really recommend it! « Yeah. There are indeed lakes, and on one of them boats and waste. A metal tower too. And a beach. But beautiful would not be necessarily the word that I would have chosen… We take one last look at the continent, then go on with the tour of the island…

The lake, the city of Margi, and the mountains of the continent in the background

The road passes then during some kilometers in the middle of pine trees, very pleasant, especially since the temperature is more clement (it is funny how 32°, a little wind and some clouds make a pleasant temperature…). But quickly, I find myself in the city, in the middle of industrial areas and trucks. Not good. I try to get closer to the beach, but we are more on sad, grey beaches, with big heaps of garbage that hide the sea. Not that great. Even some drops of rain. But really some drops: the time to take out the hood of Jay it stopped raining… Easy. Then comes a small climb that precedes the nice part of the stage: a delicious downhill, on the edge of the cliff, with a light wind at the back and the sun coming out of the clouds… What a pleasure!

I get caught by a group of electric bikes, which gives me the opportunity to make my second joke in Italian, which I have been preparing for a few days. « No elettricita? No, solo pizza i pasta ». The guy gives me a look that says: « What is this guy telling me? « . I rub my belly to add the image to the sound, but it doesn’t seem to convince him… He throws me an embarrassed smile and tells me that he has to join his buddies. Ha Ha Ha. This joke makes me laugh, I’ll have to try it again! In the evening I have a hard time to find a bivouac but finally I find an abandoned factory on the beach: perfect! And moreover I am sheltered from the wind!

The next day, short stage to Palermo. It’s hot again, and I spend the day looking for water to fill my bottles. Fortunately, there is no lack of fountains! I pass many small villages with funny names: yesterday I had Mortelle (deadly in French, not a very cheerful place), Olivieri (all the inhabitants must be called Olivier I guess), Rometta (no resemblance with Rome, except the name), Sparta (sadly, I couldn’t say hi to Leonidas), Tarantonio (in homage to the Italian cousin of the director), and today it’s Finale (yet the road doesn’t stop) and the highlight: Mount San Calogero. I have to climb to the top of a lookout, but I manage to catch it red-handed: it faces the sea (Calogero is a French singer, and one of his hits is “Face à la mer”: facing the sea).

Mount San Calogero, facing the sea, from the lookout of Termini Imerese

I continue to Palermo, with nice views on the sea and the rocks. Once in town, I treat myself to a pizza before going to the hostel. I realize when I leave that someone has been there while I was eating (not even pizza, they only make them in the evening): no more cables to charge my watch and my phone, no more spare battery or charging system connected to the dynamo… That’s going to be a lesson: NEVER leave my bike unattended… And to top it all off, my rear tire is flat.

So I decide to stay one more day in Palermo, to be able to replace what was stolen, to repair my bike and to visit Palermo a bit too…  

The Cathedral of Palermo

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