Five EBTC members spent one memorable week cycling in Sicily, Italy. In September 2018, we explored the south-eastern part of the island, pedalling through the Baroque gems of Ragusa, Modica, Noto and up to Syracuse, the ancient Greek capital.
Our adventure started in Palazzolo Acreide, a maze of narrow streets and Baroque churches built after the 1693’s earthquake on the site of the Greek Akrai, which was founded in 664 BC. We took the scenic roads to Modica, riding through the lower valleys of the Iblean Mountains, passing olive plantations and dry-stone walls. A few hills on that day lol.
On our second day of riding, before leaving Modica, we had a taste of the original Aztec chocolate recipe that is famous in Modica. We then made our way downhill, along a ravine to Marzamemi. On days 3 and 4, our ride took us through the coastal wetlands Patano Longarini and Patano Cuba. We followed the coastline to reach Sicily’s southernmost point: Isola delle Correnti, where the waters of the Ionian and the Mediterranean seas merge. Yes! Some of us did take a dip in the sea! We then turned back north to the town of Noto, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Day 6 was a challenging climb towards San Corrado to reach the canyon of Cavagrande del Cassibile. After a well-deserved cappuccino, we had quite the winding descent to the coastal plain and the sea at Syracuse, the capital of Magna Graecia.
A typical day of riding started around 8:30 with a mid-morning coffee break and later in the day a beautifully prepared lunch of local cheeses, olives, tomatoes, bread and a few surprises. By 3:00 we were usually at our hotel and with a chance to relax and look forward to a group supper that of course always included wine. Not only was this trip a learning experience about the Sicilian culture, but also an awesome bonding experience between the five Canucks and our new found friends.