March 13, 2012 (Day 7)
We woke up this morning in our water room at the art hotel. Unfortunately, the weather outside was very cloudy and threatening rain. I was hoping for some sunrise photos this morning, but there was no way that was going to happen with the clouds as they were. So, we slept in and watched the clouds roll in. The room was really rather amazing, though. We fell asleep with floating candles lit in our little pond. Breakfast was served in our room and by the time we slowly got up and moving, the clouds had cleared and a beautiful clear, sunny day was waiting for us.
While checking out of the hotel, I was able to meet the artist that designed our room. Luckily he spoke some English, but even still I was unprepared to make artsy comments on our room to him. We were also able to get a tour of the rest of the art rooms that were open. Many were under renovation and re-painting to get ready for the busy season.
Finally, we stepped outside to the ocean and sat sunning ourselves very much like the two cats on the next bench over who were stretched out enjoying the sun. Our plan for the day was to take a driving tour of the outdoor modern art that was surrounding us. We got a map from the hotel and headed off. I thought the art was going to be closer together, but we really took the whole day to make our drive to see about 11 very large pieces of modern art placed along the road in random places.
The first piece of art was a huge blue square on the coast, and by huge, I mean, absolutely enormous. Mark wasn’t even as tall as the bottom portion of the hollow square. Then, we drove inland and found the day to be absolutely picture perfect. Just one or two clouds were in the sky and it was warm enough to get down to short sleeves even for part of the day. The wildflowers were abundant along the sides of the country roads. Fields and fields of yellow flowers dotted the country and we drove up and down mountain roads, winding our way through the farms. We found plenty of sheep, horses, and donkeys. We even found a few cattle along the way. Mostly, though we just could not get enough of the views as we climbed up the mountains and then descended down into the valleys.
Another piece of art was a huge mural along the side of the road. The art was sculpted onto the mural and was really very interesting. There were many sculptures in the mural and along the road. Here is where we nearly bumped into a herd of donkeys that were walking up the road to meet us as we walked down taking photos of the art. Luckily the donkeys were only interested in eating the fresh greens along the side of the road and stayed clear of us.
Probably the most interesting piece of art was a labyrinth built at the top of a mountain with 360 degree views. The labyrinth was circular and had a tall and narrow arch for an entrance. Once inside, there was only one way to go (it was not a maze) so we followed the twisting turns and walked in circles until we found the middle with a small olive tree. The concrete walls were all taller than Mark and when we got separated we could hear each other walking along the other side of the wall.
Our last two pieces of art were interesting (a large modern sculpture under the highway overpass, and a huge pyramid on top of another mountain. However, neither seemed to have paths leading to them, so we just admired them from the road as we drove past on our way to Cefalu.
Our hotel for the next 2 nights is Astro Suite in Cefalu. Cefalu is a tourist town and already bigger than any of the other towns we’ve visited so far. Well, other than Taormina of course. We were amazed to actually find some traffic and lots of people out on the streets. We’ve been feeling rather lonely when we’ve been out in the towns previous to this one. Our hotel turned out to be recently built and I was surprised to see we had a suite with 3 rooms including a kitchen. Now we have a fridge to cool down the Dr. Pepper I brought for Mark and a nice big kitchen sink for me to do laundry in. Yes, I do get excited about sink sizes while traveling. =) We are located right on the coast and just in time for sunset we went outside to take some photos. Perfect end to a picture perfect day!
We just cannot figure out what time people are eating dinner around here. Usually in Europe, and in Italy especially, dinnertime does not start until 8 or 8:30 in the evening. However, since we are traveling in the shoulder season, so far we’ve only found 1 or 2 restaurants even open at all and we feel as if we don’t eat by 7:30, the restaurants will close. We figured maybe since we were in a larger town, this might be different tonight. However, we were hungry early and went ahead and found a place for dinner by 7:30. Of course we were the only people inside eating, but even at 8:30 when we left, there were no other patrons. We peeked in some restaurants on the way back and didn’t see anyone sitting down to eat then either. I think we are just traveling at the wrong time of year.
Our dinner was very good as all of the have been. Mark had a wonderful swordfish plate for dinner and I had a marvelous beef sirloin. The spinach and potato side dishes we ordered did not go to waste either.
Now that we are back in the hotel with internet, I’m working through to post some more of the previous blogs. We haven’t really had a good internet connection in a couple days, so it’s nice to have wifi again.