A Day of Duomi and Desserts

Phew, what a day! I am relaxing by the water with tired feet and a stomach full of strawberries after an exciting day in Cefalù.

We began the day with a drive along the coast of the island from our hotel in Santa Flavia to Cefalù, a city made famous by its appearance in the 1988 film Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. As our driver, Carmelo, navigated the twists and turns in the road in front of us, our guide, Tita, described some of the geological history of the island as well as the Greek and Roman influence behind the symbols and flags that we might see during our explorations. 

We soon arrived in Cefalù and after a quick snack break--during which I enjoyed a gelato of cioccolato e fragole (chocolate and strawberry)--we headed into the cathedral.

Marzipan fruit in the window of a pasticceria
I enjoyed visiting this cathedral even more than the Cappella Palatina or the Cathedral of Monreale yesterday. During those tours I found myself overwhelmed by the frescoes, statues, gold leaf, and detailed mosaics that seemed to fill every inch of the chapels and cathedrals of Palermo and Monreale, but today I was able to focus on individual elements of the church. 

After touring the inside of the cathedral, Tita led us through a small wooden doorway and into a garden against the back of the building filled with orange and lemon trees, and overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. To the left of the garden lay the beautiful turquoise water, and to the right rose yellow and white cliffs.

The back of the cathedral

and the neighboring cliffs.
Before splitting up for lunch, the group explored some city's narrow streets on foot. We came across a set of small, stone basins used to wash clothing. These pools were at the base of a curved stone staircase attached to one of the main roads. The stone basins are filled by an underground stream that enters through an opening in the left wall and continually fills the pools with with fresh water. 

Pools of water used to wash clothing.

The stream carries the dirty water  out through a passage...

...and empties onto the beach.
For lunch Jazzy, Lauren, Jaymie, Evelyn, and I stopped into a little restaurant about 5 minutes from the piazza in front of the cathedral. We enjoyed a yummy lunch of fresh seafood in a trattoria and dessert bought from a friendly street vendor. I wasn't sure if I had enough money to buy any dessert, but luckily Santa Paola, the patron saint of loose change, had visited me that morning, so I was able to buy a small bag of the vendor's fresh, sweet strawberries. 

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