What do you imagine when you think about Sicily? Is it the hot sun and ice-cream melting and dropping from a cone on your hands? Well, that’s pretty accurate but let me show you more about this sunny island.
My first meeting with this adorable place started with the airport in Palermo. After the rainy Budapest, I felt like I arrived in paradise. Hot air knocked off my breath when I stepped out of the plane. My jeans and shirt felt so heavy and inappropriate like a diving suit on the ball. I wanted to put on summer light clothes and run to the beach. It was surprisingly shocking that the plane landed on the ground almost at the sea edge because the airport was built on the coastline. I’ve never seen that before. The azure water crashed on stones with whooshing sound as if it was greeting me. On the other side of the runway rose grey mountains like guardians protecting the city. Their black shadows fell on the ground shining from the heat. That moment I wished to escape the airport as quickly as possible and jump in cool water.
Sicily isn’t about sightseeing or resting on the beach. It’s far more than that. Firstly, it’s about people. We get used to a quick pace of life and feel that every minute of it is valuable and needed to be spent rationally. Indeed, but its significance can be used in another way. That’s what I learned from open-hearted Sicilians. While I was wandering around the city, visiting churches, and exploring local markets, I watched different people and discovered their secret of happiness. It’s quite simple: they know how to take the time. All you need to do is to take a deep breath, hold it, and then slowly breathe it out letting all your thoughts and fears blow with the dusty wind.
Two days after my arrival I was sitting in a cafe near the Massimo Theater which is located in the city center. Next to me there was a married couple eating bruschettas and drinking white wine. They were quietly chatting, laughing, and looking at each other like nobody else was nearby. Apparently, they learned how to enjoy the moment as well as another couple of elderly women who were charmingly chatting in Italian about their grandsons. Tourists were passing by that cafe in a hurry, desperately trying to win every minute of their life. While life was right there under their nose: in soft street music, delicious smells floating in the air, warm street lights around and, of course, mouth-watering food.
Palermo is a great place to hang around the beautiful masterpieces saved from ancient times. Compare to Rome where I felt the weight of history on my shoulders, Palermo was like an old street cat. It had its own pride and lots of stories. While lazily lying under the sun, it invited me to dive deeply into the streets where sand-colored houses paled under the burning sun what made them even more charming and authentic. So I grabbed my favorite lemon gelato and got lost in the old streets’ network which kept all the city memories.
Palermo is washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea, a part of the Mediterranean Sea. Its deep blue and green water felt like silk, cooling me down under the Sicilian sun. As for the beaches, I didn’t want to visit overcrowded central beaches and chose the nearest places like Cefalù and Scopello that worth it.
Cefalù was quiet and calm, full of elderly people taking their vacations and enjoying life. I found the most breathtaking views from the breakwater, located nearby the beach, and faced the endless sea. It whispered to me with its blue waters curling in soft white horses beneath my feet.
Another place, Scopello, is a national parkland so I needed to pay a small fee for entrance. The magnificent view of the rocks, floating on the water surface, opened from the hill. Its sky blue color hypnotized me from first sight. Water was crystal-clear and a lot of people were swimming with diving masks to enjoy the magic underworld. Huge floating rocks aroused my curiosity and I swam closer to them. Nearby they were even more stunning than I imagined. Their gorgeous silhouette rose above me and made me feel like a speckle of dust in the universe. That will be captured in my memory forever.
Sicily is one of the best places to watch sunsets when the hot sun is being swallowed by the dark sea. On my last day in Palermo, I went to the Capo Gallo Nature Reserve to say goodbye to amazing holidays. The place looked like an abandoned area, far from the road, deep inside the mountain range. I passed a lighthouse and found the viewpoint on the huge stones scattered across the deserted beach, surrounded by high mountain peaks. So I was sitting on the stones and was watching the sunset, completely fascinated. The yellowish-red sun softly touched the sea surface melting in its waters. The golden light drew the path from the horizon to the sea edge and the sun slowly falling down into the turquoise blue depth. The air was still hot and the salty wind danced between the stones, its voice of nature was talking to my soul.