Napoli – Modica 2003

The last leg of my cycle south to the bottom of Sicily. Continuing on from where I left off in Napoli in 2002, I cycled south to Sicily, climbing Etna twice, and reaching the southern most point of Italy.

The trip started off at a volcano: Vesuvio, and ended on a volcano: Etna. On looking back at these photos, I discovered that I inaugurated my favourite cycling cap on this trip. 🙂

Vesuvio

Vesuvio

The trip followed the coast. Sometimes on roads winding up and down and around and around. Sometimes on main roads with lots of traffic. Sometimes on small roads that curved down into a valley and then wound their way back out: the same distance covered by 100m on the main road bridge. It was hot going in the Italian summer sun.

Coast road

Coast road

Coast road

Coast road

A long cut

A long cut

I had my fair share of beach places to stay. The stay on the beach at Fuscaldo was cut short when I discovered that I had left my passport at the previous night stop. An evening train trip back and forth. It was dark on the beach by the time I returned.

Fuscaldo

Fuscaldo

Tropea

Tropea

Tropea is a beautiful village perched on a cliff face overlooking a magical beach. It was lovely weather and a warm evening. I sat that evening at a pizzeria on the cobblestone market square. I remember that evening well, even though I am writing this 10 years later. The square was lit in a soft light from the lanterns. Happy couples were sitting facing each other over dinner and a glass of wine. Families were there, children playing, parents watching over them. Dinner took a while, but that was ok.

I sat. I studied the map, planning my route for the next day. I ate my pizza. I drank my drink. I returned to my hostel. I was tired, and my day was cycle, eat, sleep.

The cycling was fun. The scenery was nice. I was experiencing a lot. But, there was noone to share anything with. My boyfriend was home (he is not an avid cycler). I realised that such long distance trips were sometimes a lonely affair.

Also, southern Italy may not be my optimal cycling destination. It is hot, it is mountainous, and there is a lot of cycling on main roads with lots of traffic. This trip was my last long cycle trip until 2012. After this trip I started long distance running, and ran in quite a few marathons. The same physical exertion, in a shorter time span.

Then the boat over to Sicily, and up Etna: twice. From the hot, sunny coast to the cold, barren, lava landscape of a mighty volcano.

The ferry to Sicily

The ferry to Sicily

Lava on Etna

Lava on Etna

Etna

Etna

The road to Etna

The road to Etna

My friend Elke and her boyfriend were touring around Sicily at the time, and so I had a day off with them. We went to the beautiful Taormina.

Taormina

Taormina

Taormina

Taormina

Siracusa is another beautiful city in the south of Sicily. I spent a lovely evening there wandering around the medieval streets.

Siracusa

Siracusa

Siracusa

Siracusa

I arrived in the southernmost town on Sicily: Portopalo. I then made my way to Modica where I took the bus to Palermo. There were no camping grounds in the middle of Sicily, and I wouldn’t be able to cycle across in one day. And time was running short. My trip to the south of Italy was at its end.

And that was my last bike trip for nearly 10 years.
What made me decide to go on another long bike trip? Well, it was Norway. I was there in the winter of 2011, and I was captivated by Tromsø. I was there in the middle of winter when the sun only approaches the horizon and bathes the winter landscape in a deep blue twilight. I wanted to see this place again, but in the eternal sun of summer. Also, Norway is cold. No worries about excessive sweating. And the roads aren’t busy. Oh, and the scenery is absolutely spectacular.

On that trip in Norway, I didn’t experience the lonliness. I met lots of fellow cyclists. And, yes: blogging and facebook made me feel like I was sharing my trip with my loved ones. The wonders of modern technology! In 2013 I will be doing my longest bike trip yet. I am excited already!

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