We were not sure what to expect when we decided to go to Cefalù. All I knew from the internet research was a beach town with a Norman-Arab-Byzantine cathedral and some old ruins on top of the mountain. We were also highly recommended by the tourist information guide in Palermo that Cefalù is easy and quick to get to by train since there are many trains going east and then north to Rome.
The train ride was very pleasant -- train was on schedule (OMG...can't believe it) and the Sicily coast line was just so beautiful that we couldn't take our eyes off the window. We were also thinking... what a beautiful and warm day to spend in a beach town! We walked toward to the town center and stopped by the tourist office to get a map and some tips for what and where to see. The lady in the office quickly recommended us to check out the mountain ruins. Then she specifically looked at our shoes and said "hm... I think you are okay to go up." We were like "What is she talking about? Well, whatever... at least she said it's okay." So, we headed to the hills. At the beginning, there were some well placed rocky steps so we didn't understand why the lady checked our shoes. About 15 minutes later, we could see the roof top of the houses, ocean, a lot of cactus, and the outer ring of the old ruins -- rocky walls and some old structure (couldn't tell what it was). After the fist part of the ruins, there was a guide with a note pad asking people where they were from. Then, we noticed that there were no longer nice steps for us to use climbing. It was more like small rocky and dirt path (see the picture on left which was not the worse part yet). After five minutes, the path was completely gone. It was a very steep hill and all we could do was to follow previous people's footprints. I was so afraid to look down, so I kept my head up. Then I saw an Italian couple maybe in their mid 50s hiking up the hill like us. The husband was fully in outdoor hiking outfit and the wife was wearing a dress with a 2" high heel shoes. I was thinking... does Italian hiking shoes requires 2" heel or is it an Italian woman should always be stylish even when hiking? I also thought that they must have not been to the local tourist information office; I wondered what the tourist office lady would say about her shoes.
It was so hot by midday... probably 90 degrees! Remember it was 40 degrees two weeks ago in Helsinki. What a difference!!
The view from the top of ruins was magnificent. No wonder people coming down from the hill said it was worth the hike. We walked all around the top... did not want to miss any pretty angles. Also, we wanted to enjoy this gorgeous view a little longer since it was a lot of hard hiking to get up there.
Down hill was so much easier but still scary. At the bottom of the hill (not where we started- was the other side) we saw a sign saying "BE CAREFUL - You must use tracking or sport shoes."
It was great to be back to sea level. We walked around the town center and checked out the cathedral. Out side of the cathedral, we even ran into the people we met on the bus from the day before. We told them about the hike and they were glad that they did not try because they could not take the heat even at the sea level with very minimum activity. They were smart though because they brought their swimming suites and they were ready to go the ocean. We wish that we had brought ours too. We were so hot.
Food... oh my... never once have we had bad food in Italy. This time, we even found a restaurant with a "Michelin" plaque on the wall. I don't remember how many stars there were but I remember it was goooooood!!!
Surprisingly, Cefalù has very nice walking path alone the coast line (just not on the hill. Interesting.) We walked along the seashore and enjoyed the ocean breeze. It was so nice. At the same time, Josh was trying to find some broken roof tiles falling from the old house at the edge of the cliff. It's funny that I got him into my roof tile collection.