Thu January 03 2013  —  e-mail Manfred

Giro d'Italia, Sicily/Sicilia. The beauty and the heat.

Flag Italy

Tuesday, June 26 2007

2 years, 11 months, 4 days

Palermo, Sicilia

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of ThisFabTrek.com, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Land Rover 50,203km

Trekking 335km

Ferry 1,134km

Train 238km

Other cars 32,911km

(MB307 6,846km)

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm.

www.thisfabtrek.com > journey > europe > italy > 20070626-palermo

Leaving mainland Italy.

Map, Italian journey.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

When Basilicata was so nature untouched, Calabria such a rubbish bin and Puglia full of culture and vineyards and olive and fruit trees, then Sicilia (wiki) is all of it at once.

I thought of keeping the southern politician banner flying.

But really people on Mount Etna does Sicily more justice/honour.

Well, Italy has been a photography school to me. Not so much people and landscapes (apart from Mt. Etna) or festivals. More cities and architecture. Taking pictures of architecture has always been a bit of a mystery to me. But there is probably no better place then Italy to become enthused about design and styles and arrangements of buildings. Would I want to go back to university and study architecture? This is too long a shot for the moment.

back to top

Taormina.

There are not many places that sound like Taormina (wiki) in my ear. But only because it was the name of a pizza joint in Berlin that served cheap red wine and we quit liked going there. And there was this poster of Taormina at the wall.

Taormina, San Guiseppe church.
Taormina, San Guiseppe church.
Taormina
All bright and shiny.

Taormina, Cathedral.
Cathedral.
Taormina, Cathedral, Piazza del duomo, fountain, blue sky.
Piazza del duomo fountain.

Taormina, rose, violette plant.
This u find a lot.
Taormina, Violette Bushes, Grand Hotel Timeo.
here the Timeo Grand Hotel.

Taormina, Greek theater, Teatro Greco, International Film Festival.
International Film Festival, Etna in back.
Taormina, Daniel and David.Boys alright. David, mosquitoes have bitten allover his head.

back to top

Mount Etna.

Mount Etna.
Mount Etna.
Mount Etna.
Mount Etna.
Mount Etna.
Mount Etna view base at 1900m.

Mount Etna summit in clouds.
Etna summit 3,326 m, camp is at 2,900m.

Mount Etna (wiki), Europe's largest volcano, still an active one, is classified as a gentle giant with the latest eruptions occurring in 2001-2003. Etna is also one of the best monitored volcanoes world wide.

Above pictures show views from southern base camp at around 1,800m. Below pictures taken at around 2,900m.

It's all a big National Park now, still around the refugio, commercialisation efforts have taken its toll.

Must we really ski on volcanoes?, on bulldozer cut out slopes? And really isn't the area around the Refugio Sapienza on the southern slopes of Etna, with all the souvenir shops, restaurants and parking laid out excessively large? Well, it makes me wish for an immediate eruption to wipe out what wounds man has inflicted on Etna.

Mount Etna top.
Mount Etna top cratar people/tourists..
Mount Etna top cratar people/tourists..

Mount Etna, snow on top of 2,900m.
Snowy top of Etna.
Mount Etna, snow on top of 2,900m, girl in hotpants and sandals.
Some are ill prepared.

Mount Etna, top of 2,900m, Mercedez Unimogs, tourists, blue sky.
Unimogs taking us up to the top.
Mount Etna top road leading up to 2,900m.
4x4 road to the top.

Mount Etna, House destroyed by lava in last eruption.
Buried under lava/2003.
Mount Etna, in a distance, old olive tree in front.
From a distance.
Mount Etna, in a distance, gorse/Ginster, yellow.
Gorse and Etna.
Gorse, gorse/Ginster, yellow.
There is so much of it.

We reach the southern Refugio of Sapienza late at night, The MB 300 is just a snail in climbing mountains. We make it to the top of Etna the next morning, take the cable railway with the boys, Unimog then after, as usual they hardly complain.

Later in the day we tour all around Etna and only then we realise what vast territory it covers.

The evening we reach Riposto at the coast.

back to top

Riposto fish market.

There is a busy fish market in the morning with all the fresh fish and shellfish, the Mediterranean sea offers.

Riposto, fish market, seafood.
Riposto, sea food.
Riposto, fish market, seafood.
Fish market.

back to top

Catania.

Wikipedia.

Catania, cathedral.
Catania Duomo.
Catania vegetable markets.

back to top

Past Catania, Capo San Croce, Last view of Mount Etna

Etna, too humid to see, evening, sunset, sea..
Etna evening.
Etna, morning hazy view over the sea.
Etna morning.

back to top

Siracusa/Syracuse, Ortygia island.

After Etna the next highlight Siracusa (wiki) in Sicily. And the weather is fine.

Siracusa/Syracuse cathedral/duomo, balloons.
Cathedral ...
Siracusa/Syracuse cathedral/duomo, balloons.
... and balloons.
Siracusa/Syracuse cathedral/duomo, balloons.
Late light.
Siracusa/Syracuse cathedral/duomo, balloons.
Siracusa/Syracuse cathedral/duomo, front.
Front..
Siracusa/Syracuse Ferrari.
20 Ferraris on Piazza Duomo.
Siracusa/Syracuse Church.
Another church.
Siracusa/Syracusem Fontana Aretusa.Pond with big fish.
Siracusa/Syracusem, Cafe at corner near Fontana Aretusa.
Siracusa/Syracuse, Hasna green door..
Hasna.

back to top

Siracusa earlier, Orecchio di Dionigi, Ear of the devil.

Siracusa/Syracuse, Latomia del Paradiso. Orecchio di Dionigi
Siracusa/Syracuse, Latomia del Paradiso. Orecchio di Dionigi.

Famous for the acoustics, hence its name.

back to top

Siracusa Later, Travelling Band, Gone Mis sing.

Siracusa/Syracuse, travelling/traveling band, Neil, Staci. Josh, Luigie, Kia.
Kia, Staci, Luigie, Neil, Joshua.
Siracusa/Syracuse, travelling band, Neil, Staci. Josh, Luigie, Kia.
Josh and Staci.

English travelling band of Neil and Staci and their 3 children are playing their own songs and covers. A family rock band and the young give it the beat/the rhythm. I was particularly impressed by Luigie's drums.

We stay 3 days with them on the beach. It's good to talk some English after all the Italian babble recently.

We leave the friends on 20th of June, we still have much to do in Sicily. We drive around the most southern cape (Isla di Correnti ? - there is nothing) and move on to the West. This is an area for intensive vegetable and fruit farming, as you would expect - but when you cover all plantations in plastic what remains of the land, - and those picturesque villages on hill tops near by. Is it just the tourist who cares about view?

Sicily/Sicilia very South, Plastic covered plantantions, fields, village against very hazy setting sun.
Growing plastic vegetables in Sicily?

back to top

Ragusa, comiso, Piazza Amerina, Enna.

It is getting hot.

I read it in Catania in a bar in Giornale di Sicilia or this was the only thing I could decode. "The days ahead would be the hottest couple of days this year so-far". But really, we have not seen anything hot yet.

This land inward trip via Ragusa (wiki) and Comiso (wiki) to Enna (wiki) gives us a first taste of what is coming. This is interesting beautiful country with crowded hill top towns and their historic centres. Any number of houses crammed around a big all dominating cathedral on top. And there's another duomo in the next town and sometimes two, and countless churches and palazzos and narrow streets and stairways and sometimes it's a lot of going up and down.

Ragusa, Cathedral.
Ragusa Church San Giuseppe.
Ragusa, church.
Ragusa, church on the other side.
Comiso, duomo, palms.
Comiso, duomo 1.
Comiso, duomo, blue sky.
Comiso, duomo 2.
Comiso, cuppola, sun, palms.
Comiso, it's hot.
Comiso, Daniel sweats.
Sometimes, it's hot.

back to top

Enna, we missed out on it a bit.

Villa Romana del Casale.
Villa Romana del Casale.

We come a bit late into Enna (wiki) after Villa Romana del Casale (wiki) with its 1,600 year old floor mosaics. But I am glad we came the long way anyway. We have given a miss to many towns on our route, Caltagirone, Mirabella Imbacaria, Piazza Amerina and had we chosen a different path we would have stumbled across another set of towns and their historic centres and duomos. There is simply too much.

Enna after all the driving has a beauty and busyness. Churches, beer, Palazzos, beer, the duomo and more beer. I search for an internet connection and Hasna for the shopping mall. She's more successful.

I would have loved to have more time and longer light. Late we drive back to the coast to Gela.

Enna, church.
Enna Church.
Enna, Cathedral.
Enna Cathedral.
Enna, Cathedral.
its left side.
Enna, San Francesco.
Church San Francesco.

back to top

The Southern coast. Agrigento.

Agrigento (wiki) we don't like. The heat, the monstrous concrete ministry what ever right next to the fourteenth century cathedral. They say it is Mafia and it feels like it.

So we go for the Greek temples but it is even hotter and the guy on the parking with his "I don't care attitude" is a real filth face, and as light is of mid day haze I cannot be bothered. We leave.

Hmm. This one I really would have loved to see.

But anyway it is too hot. Not far we find a camping on a beach, and take the boys swimming.

The sea will be the only real rescue from the heat for the boys in the next few days. Temps rise to 46°C. But the sea and the beach also bear the risk of a severe sunburn, so it is swimming in long sleeves for the boys, under the umbrella, again swimming, a cold sweet water shower and back inside the bus, under cold wet light blankets. They manage remarkably well and never complain. And the bath in the sea they actually enjoy.

Daniel, evening slightly sun tanned.
Daniel, evening slightly sun tanned.
David, evening slightly sun tanned.
So is David, he has had carrots.

back to top

Marsala.

Marsala (wiki) is hot. In mid day heat I walk around the empty town (Sunday lunch time) while Hasna keeps the boys cool wrapping wet cloth around their heads and bodies.

Marsala.
Marsala.
Marsala, Purgatory church.
Purgatory church.

back to top

Trapani.

So we arrive in Trapani (wiki) early afternoon the 24th of June. The day's heat is still on and it won't cool down much. Peroni seems a solution.

Trapani, sunset sea.
Trapani.

Trapani is laid back, a peninsula, sea to the north and the south. It does not wake up much at night, except around Calvino's Pizza Siciliana. We wait 40 minutes, but it is all worth it. 8 Euros a double, and you smell and taste the freshness. And I have seen the guy in the kitchen tearing in part cherry tomatoes, squeezing the juice out of each single one. Real hand made stuff. And this - you taste.

We drink beer half the night, sweat and sleep the other half. We wake up early.

The morning allows a stroll around the fishing harbour.

Later it is too hot again to move. We find the first internet cafe since two weeks, and the only one (Grimon Cafe) out of three in Trapani that allows me to connect my own computer. Italy feels like the 90s in terms of usability of Internet Cafes. We stay inside the air conditioned cafe (it is a real cafe with food and coffee and stuff as well) till 3 in the afternoon. Then they really don't want to let us go - for the sake of the boys. It is too hot.

Trapani, fisher boats, cutter, old harbor, port.
Trapani.
Trapani, fisher boats, cutter, old harbor, port.
Trapani.
Trapani, fisher boats, cutter, old harbor, port.
Trapani.
Trapani, fisher boats, fishing cutter, old harbor, port.
Trapani.

We drive north to San Vito lo Capo. Cool us and the kids down with a swim. But a strong wind is already blowing. We buy mussels and scampi for a seafood pasta. But we won't eat it. The night sees hurricane style extremely hot winds, more then 100km per hour.

The van shakes dangerously. We cannot touch the sides, the plastic windows, anything metal I touch seems to burn through the skin. The high speed wind takes up sand throws it against the van, later in the sea, where it steers up water and makes it flying.

And the boys, we keep them under wet towels. They aren't afraid. We leave very early morning for Palermo, fearing the wind could knock over our van. And we throw away the sea food.

Near San Vito lo Capo, Camp.
Near San Vito lo Capo. Camp.
Near San Vito lo Capo, Camp, 2 Peroni, chair and table, sea and sunset in back.
Near San Vito lo Capo. Peroni as a solution. Still quiet.

back to top

Palermo.

46°C, we wait. There is another ferry in 4 days. Fire fighter planes pass over head. From the sea to the wildfires around Palermo (wiki). Smoke prohibits any view onto the mountains in the north.

We wait, we calculate the number of days. We have appointments in Southern France to make and head to Morocco then after. Really there is no time left and there can always be a problem with the van.

We wait to buy a ticket, but there is no electricity. Blackouts through out Palermo. The heat, for a week now. All these air conditions just consume too much power.

Palermo, Piazza Pretoria.
Palermo, Piazza Pretoria.

So we see Palermo in a short day (I need to come back, - and to Rome), return to Trapani, take the night ferry to Cagliari, Sardegna/Sardinia.

27th of June. We drive 50 kms and there is a problem with the car, the gearbox needs replacing. That grounds us for 2 days, but it is less hot here in Sardegna.

And we have survived the heat wave that has caused numerous death around Europe and Sicily.

Wildfires Sicily, Palermo
Wildfires around Palermo.

www.thisfabtrek.com > journey > europe > italy > 20070626-palermo

back to top