So what about the actual holiday?
Being the first trip since the pandemic, it felt safer to go overland. Travelling with our own car instead of catching public transport helped put us more at ease. We still needed to take a ferry (since we live on a small island cut off from the rest of the world), but several health precautions were being taken. I tend to say, ‘we only went to Sicily’. It’s become almost commonplace for most locals to cross the sea by boat and step onto our first point of contact with the rest of Europe. The fact that the journey doesn’t involve a plane, doesn’t really help me get that feeling that these trips are a holiday. This offered a little something different though…
Nature – A touch of magic
I love to explore new countries, learn about different cultures, visit museums, and try to imagine living in a particular city. That is what a holiday would generally be for me. This time however, the whole point of the trip was the mental break, and it seems that to me this means being away from people.
A three-night stay in an ‘agriturismo’ in the middle of the mountains did the trick. For a couple of days, I felt like I could be cut off from reality and it felt magical. My family and I had visited this agriturismo years ago and had really enjoyed our stay, so there was no fear of disappointment. The plan was just to sleep there and spend the days exploring neighbouring towns and villages, but the peace the mountains offered kept calling, and I couldn’t resist their whispers. So after a day of shopping and exhausted feet, the next day was spent in this little haven.
Arriving on a Thursday evening, we were lucky to have the agriturismo to ourselves for the first two nights, so we were treated pretty much like royalty. On Friday, a whole feast was prepared for breakfast, literally just for us. The table setting was like something out of a magazine or (forgive my over-the-top imagination) a table set for a tea party after Marilla Cuthbert spends a day baking. Everything on the table is made from fresh produce that is grown on their grounds. This particular agriturismo specialises in olive oil production, so we were literally in the middle of an olive grove in the mountains, but the owners also grow all sorts of fruit and veg and breed livestock. Breakfast was followed by a stroll through the grounds and, camera in hand, I had a multitude of glorious pictures to capture, from landscapes and wilderness, to details of flowers and tiny creatures. The sun was shining brightly and the swimming pool looked so inviting, but the June mountain air was still quite chilly and I just didn’t feel ready to dive in. We just lounged around and let our minds drift into nothingness and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings. Dinner was another banquet. There was enough food to feed a village, and everything tasted heavenly, from the antipasti to the main course, to the infamous, homemade, Sicilian Cannoli. The table wine that is also made locally flowed in abundance and felt rather smooth on the palette, so quite a few glasses were consumed.
On the third day, seeing that more guests were around, we decided to finally leave the little magical nook, and drive over to the nearby villages. We mainly just wandered aimlessly with the occasional visit to a coffee shop, or a gelateria, and being in the land of Aperol Spritz, the temptation was too great to turn it down. We visited Termini Immerse which is home to this beautiful magnificent Belvedere and adjacent public garden, and Bagheria before making our way up to Palermo.
One thing that really impressed me was finding an art exhibition in the middle of a tiny piazza, in the smallest of villages, on a Saturday afternoon. I was blown away with the importance given to art and culture, which sometimes feels so lacking in my homeland. The coast felt incredibly warm compared to the mountains however, and Palermo was way too busy, which threw me into a bit of a panic. The same thing had happened the previous day when we had escaped the mindfulness of the mountains in an attempt to visit Cefalu, where the beach was packed making it too loud and rowdy. I wanted nothing more than to go back to my little wonderous haven and listen to the birds and the bees. In fact, the drive over to the beach lasted longer than the visit.
End of the road
The last day of a trip always brings me down. A holiday never feels long enough and having a full day of travelling to make it back home only renders the situation all the worse. Taking the wrong motorway does not help either 😛 This time around, the worst feeling was knowing that I’ll need to be surrounded by people instead of nature again, but I guess there’s no avoiding that in life. The contrast however, makes those couple of days in such a peaceful setting all the more special. If only they could become more regular.
But why am I writing months later, you might ask? Well, I guess the travel bug is currently hitting hard. I’m craving a little time away from this island. I’m just hoping that the time to get on a plane or boat comes around very soon. Do you have any plans for trips in the pipeline? (I also needed a good excuse to share all the photos 😛 )