We left Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, on the weekly ferry towards Palermo in Sicily and arrived early in the morning. The weather was clear and cold as we rolled down the ferry ramp and into the city. We did not book any accommodation and only had a few hours to see the city before heading towards more rural areas to pitch our tent.
We visited the Cattedrale di Palermo and Cappella Palatina, two gigantic churches filled with impressive murals, suspicious amounts of riches and a lot of holy clutter. We didn’t feel particularly guilty not leaving donations next to the presented gold and silver treasures.
The impressive landmarks were connected by busy but charming streets and we would have loved to spend more time in the city. Instead, we headed East, racing the setting sun through traffic and over dirt roads to find a suitable site. After 60km and with the last light of the day we set camp on a small beach between motorway and industrial harbor. That night we dreamt of Sardinia’s clean secluded beaches.
The next day we followed the motorway inland only to find out that our navigation app’s idea of rideable “hiking paths” and “single tracks” was quite different to ours.
We climbed hills, crossed rivers (multiple times!) and slowly progressed into the mountains of central Sicily.
Slowly the landscape changed and littered streets turned into quiet mountain roads, surprising us with new views around every corner.
Up here the temperatures were freezing and one day we got rained in, spending 24 hours in an olive grove. We were ready to drop down towards the East coast, Catania and Europe’s highest active volcano.
Shortly before reaching our final Italian destination, we decided to camp at Lago Pazzillo, judging from the map one of Italy’s biggest lakes. But what we found upon arrival stunned us…
The lake was completely dried out, leaving a huge crater behind and giving the whole area an outer-worldly feel. After a long wander, we continued to the East coast, where we stayed near Catania in a penthouse with an incredible view of Mt. Etna.
On our last day, we ditched our bikes a final time and hiked around the volcano, taking in the dried lava streams, the big ash fields and the views of the newly formed coast (about 2000 years ago).
We packed our bikes for the night train, thankfully didn’t get kicked off despite building a fort in our cabin with our bike boxes, and traveled back to the UK.
We are taking a break celebrating a friend’s wedding and Christmas with our families before heading off once more in January. This time we will go far… See ya’ll next year.