Have you ever been so full that you wanted to take home the food because you couldn’t finish?
Do you like pasta, pistachios, sunshine, olives, the Mediterranean, vino, the sound of Italian?
Do you appreciate locals that are welcoming and a culture that embraces lingering meals, siestas and long walks through history?
Biking through Sicily’s hilly countryside may be the best natural serotonin uptick you can come by.
Sicily in May is bursting with fields of gold poppies, oranges and lemons heavy with juice which cling miraculously to their boughs and olive trees that dot the landscape as they have for centuries. Wineries are flourishing and tastings are easy to find of both wine and olive oil.
Cyprus trees and cool limestone walls dot the small villages undisturbed.
Hotel rooms with white fresh linen and water that is drinkable and welcoming hosts are easy to find.
Sicily is a place where slow is the pace and sensuality Is embraced.
A place where talking trumps cell phones and hellos require 2 kisses.
Where you don’t have to compromise good food or lodging because you aren’t paying top dollar?
If all this sounds good to you, best to book your trip to Sicily.
We were invited to join our friends who ride the PMC on a 5 day bike trip organized by Duvine Bike Tours ignoring warnings of extreme hill climbs, windy knuckle breaking descents and crazy Italian drivers (which were in fact part of our experience).
We were glad we replied yes and didn’t look at the weather forecasts. (The coldest spring on record).
After all we thought it would be a great way to train for my 32nd and Bill’s 12th annual August PMC fundraising event.
Caveat: I cannot profess to be an expert on Sicily after just one week of travel mostly on a bike but if you are thinking or going there’s a few things you need to know:
Allora (That means, ok then, or something close to that).
Before you go:
Try to eat less to make room for what is to come.
Download Perfect Symphony, the Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli video and auto repeat to set the mood.
Language prep requires learning a small bit of vocabulary:
That should do it
You are ready.
There was no nonstop to Sicily so we connected in Rome from JFK to Catania. With no delays we easily made our flight to Catania and hopped in a taxi to our hotel but it’s further than you think. (flight time NY to Rome was 10 hours coming home).
The itinerary for Duvine can be found on their website, but our first night we were on our own in Siracusa and the place an elegant start to our trip which set the tone. Our hotel was fantastic… Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
We had a top floor room with a view of rooftops and sea
The city noises were relatively quiet and welcome.
And for that first afternoon, we strolled the historic streets trying to stave off hunger until the cafes opened for lunch.
Pasta for lunch and vino, caprese and espresso set the tone and that menu remained on
auto repeat for the next 6 days… with a few more indulgences:Olives, bread dipped in olive oil and cannoli for dessert at every meal.
Endless pasta variations:
Black pasta made from squid
Red wine pasta (my favorite)
Pasta with fava beansGnocchi with pesto
Cavatelli with eggplant
There’s so much to Sicily beyond the food but it was so outstanding, it’s hard not to focus on it as the main event despite the 25 to 40 miles of riding each day.
Allora, it’s back to the soft boiled eggs and lettuce diet to shed the vacation poundage, but it was worth every inch.