Is Sicily an easy trip?

Sicily as a travel destination requires — how should I say it? — some adjustment.

MANGIA
How do you like to start your morning? Are you a person who enjoys a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs? Or maybe you favor a fancy brunch with quiche and champagne? How about a simple bowl of porridge with fruit? Sorry. Breakfast restaurants aren’t really a “thing” in Sicily.  Unless you have your own airbnb kitchen to cook something up yourself, it’s pastries and donuts (albeit, really good pastries and donuts) with your espresso at the local cafe-patisserie. (Many hotels, however, do provide a selection of meats, hard-boiled eggs and cheeses — with their pastries.) Lunch starts around 12:30 and dinner is served later, like many other European countries, with restaurants opening around 7:30. Many do not get busy until 8:30 or so. It’s always funny for me to see kids out for dinner at 9:00!

The food, as expected, is fabulous and needs little “adjustment.” Seafood is fresh and cooked to perfection. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful. And the pasta — oh the pasta! Nick and Maddie choose to eat gluten-free whenever possible. They always found plenty of choices when we ate out and we were all pleased to find that Sicily is ahead of the game with gluten-free pasta that actually tastes good. Needless to say, their gluten-free diet was often set aside on this island where sweet treats are everywhere and are as delicious as they are beautiful.

SHOPPING
Most stores, including grocery stores and pharmacies, close from 1 to 4, so you just need to plan your shopping accordingly.

DRIVING
Driving is an experience in itself. Although the highways in the south seem to be in better shape than those in the north (which are inundated with “reduced speeds” and crossovers due to construction), the speed limit is pretty much unenforced. We were amazed at the excessive speed of the small cars which appear out of nowhere and then fly by — even around hairpin curves and through countless long, dark tunnels. The towns have extremely narrow roads and drivers zip through, cutting in front of cars and barely dodging pedestrians. Cars are parked every which way — backwards, ends sticking out, double, even triple parked. In bigger cities, driving is, in a word, INSANE. There are very few cars without scrapes and large dents.

And don’t place all your confidence in your GPS. More than once, Siri told us to turn the wrong way down a one-way or up a street that was a stairway! Like I say, adjustment. And flexibility.

NO GUARANTEES
Sicily in the off-season requires some patience as well. Searching for opening hours on a website or Google does not guarantee that a restaurant or tourist sight is open. Call ahead and make a reservation whenever possible.

IS IT WORTH IT?
Unequivocally! Sicily is a beautiful and historically fascinating country. Every town and region is unique and there is so much to discover, to taste and to relish. Yes, it might take a little effort but that’s what makes the treasure all the more appreciated.

Enjoy a peek at our second road trip around the island. It was a such an amazing opportunity to discover new places, revisit others and see the country through the eyes of Maddie and our boys . . .

 

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2 thoughts on “Is Sicily an easy trip?

  1. Beautiful family time! My sister and her family lived in Sicily for 3 years back in the late ’90s. AND, I was fortunate enough to visit her in Sicily! So wonderful. She lived near to Catania. We had a fabulous time taking in the people, the food, and the culture. Cefalu and Taormina were among the towns we visited. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your adventure!

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    • Thanks for commenting. Sicily is a wonderful place to visit and I wonder how your sister liked living there. Was not a fan of the bigger cities – dirty and chaotic, but the rest is just so beautiful and makes up for it. The people are curious of outsiders and not super friendly and, although they teach English in the schools, few seem to have grasped it. What was her experience?

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