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Clare
Clare

Day 7: Enna to Castelbuono

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It was another bright sunny day when we woke up this morning. From the window of our room, we had a view of Enna's main street where we'd seen the lights last night.

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We didn't take any photos of breakfast this morning, but it was the biggest selection we've had on this Sicily trip. A selection of cheese and meats, as well as an impressive array of cakes :) When we'd finished eating, we went out to see some of Enna by daylight.

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In one of the squares we found a viewpoint from which we could see down towards the lower town. We'd left our car somewhere down there :D 

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We continued walking up through the town...

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...until we got as far as the castle, which sits at its far end.

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This is Castello di Lombardia, which was built here in 1076.

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We walked around the edge of the castle, admiring the views out across the surrounding countryside.

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In particular, we caught sight of a large mountain in the distance. Could that possibly be Etna?

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As we came around the far side of the castle...

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...we saw a large rock which looked like it might provide an even better viewpoint.

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We climbed to the top of it and wow, the view was really amazing! In one direction we could see the little medieval village of Calascibetta, perched on the top of a hill.

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In the other direction, we had a really clear view towards Etna.

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When we looked back, we could see the castle too.

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Meanwhile the big wide road we could see cutting across the countryside was the motorway to Palermo. We'd be driving on it a bit later (though not as far as Palermo!).

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Climbing down from the rock was a little bit harder than climbing up.

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We made it down though and got back to the B&B on time to check out at 10.30. It was really good value, at just €60 for the night. Then we just needed to walk back down the steep and narrow roads which Google Maps had made us try and drive up yesterday.

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We retrieved the car and set off towards our destination for tonight: Castelbuono. As we left Enna on the nice wide main road, we could see back up towards the upper town where we'd been staying.

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Soon we were driving far below the town.

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There were some beautiful views as we made our way towards the motorway.

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We were driving towards the hilltop town of Gangi, which became famous a few years ago when the mayor started giving away abandoned houses for a Euro (on the condition that purchasers spent lots of money restoring them). It was difficult to get a good photo from the car, but you can make Gangi out on the right of this photo.

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When we arrived we found that the driving was crazy, even by Sicilian standards, and it was quite difficult to park, so we only had a quick look around. 

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It looked like it would be an interesting town but we felt too hot to climb all the way up this hill.

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Soon we were back on the road.

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To get to Castelbuono, we were driving on little roads through the Parco delle Madonie.

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This is a nature reserve, which is home to some of the highest mountains in Sicily.

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There were some amazing views as we drove, but unfortunately there weren't very many laybys or places to stop, so most of the photos are taken from a moving car.

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A lot of the time the landscape looked very dry and barren...

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...but in other places it was greener :) 

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At times Tim had to drive rather slowly because we got caught behind the local traffic :D

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It was around 2pm when we began to approach Castelbuono, which is situated to the east of the national park.

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We were a bit early to check into our apartment, so decided to get lunch. The only difficulty was trying to find a restaurant! We walked around the town for a while, failing to find anything, and eventually found a sign pointing towards a pizzeria. That sounded promising, but when we tracked it down the waiter told us that the pizza ovens weren't switched on yet so pizza was off the menu. That was a shame, but I was hopeful that I could have some pasta instead... until I looked at the menu and found that all the pasta dishes either involved fish or mushrooms :(  In desperation we looked at the meat section of the menu (which was quite small compared to the fish section!) and ended up ordering a large steak to share. And when the waiter said it was large, he meant large!

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After we'd ordered it, it occurred to me that we hadn't been asked how we wanted it cooked ... and my worst fears were confirmed when Tim cut into it and we found that it was the opposite of well done :o 

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It was actually really delicious, if you closed your eyes and tried not to think about what you were eating! By the time we had finished we were extremely full, so I was glad that we didn't have to walk too far to find our apartment.

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When we arrived and checked in, we found it was one of the best places we've ever stayed :) We've got a large living/dining room with a kitchen...

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...a spacious bedroom...

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...and, best of all, a roof terrace with amazing views :) 

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Not bad value for €70 - it's a shame we're only staying in Castelbuono for one night!

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