PC604 Sicily 4 : Enna and Northern Etna
- In the fourth part of my circuit I left Palermo to Enna, then later Etna railway.
- Tue - Leave to Enna and Leonforte
- Wed - across the hill castle towns to Etna : Agira Regalbutto, Biancavilla, Adrano, Maletto
- Thu - Tried to walk to Nelson's House (Bronte), Maletto Park, train to Randazzo, train and hitch to Castigleone
- Fri - Walk down to Villafranca, hitch to gorge at ..€11 entry, hitch to Gappi, walk across mountain top down to Castel
- Sat - Taormina tourist town, Giardini Naxos ruins, Chuiso domino so walk all day, before I find a camping at Santa Alessi
- Sunday - day off
- Mon - to Messina - campsite is chuiso of course.
- Tue - Villafranca to Messina
- Wed - leave to Italian mainland
Tue - Leave to Enna

- It took me ages to get organised and the flat tidy. Chose the bus cos it's direct and faster, but €10 for 90Km ouch... Motorway tunnel blocked.. I got down with everyone else at Enna. It tookme 30 minutes to figure out that I had got off the bus too early, this was not the historic Enna I wanted ... It was 3Km up a steep hill. Of course no bus info and no left luggage, so I was super annoyed to have to trek up the hill. By the time I arrived I had 80 minutes before the last bus to Leonforte where I wanted to camp, so rushed first through town to the tower for the views and then right to ghe far east for the castle. The views from this mount ridge are the most important thing.

- Got the bus to Leonforte ... This time got off in the centre only to find that the main site a historic 12 lion fountain was back down the hill. Did that then back through to other end of town to camp and be in position for bus tomorrow. Incredibly the tourist office was not closed and they told me there would be an 8am bus. A lot of new housing in this out of the way town with no jobs. I think you can build on farmland here so that means property prices are lower and families don't profit so much as the UK from selling their grandparents home.
- Vincenso a CSer from the next village came down to meet me.. He travelled in West Africa and Cuba before.

Wed -
- Before I had cut through the centre of Sicily on the Autopista, bUt coming to Leonforte had put me on a route through a chain of historic castle towns to the western side of Etna.

- For once I was up and packed ready for the bus at 8am.. I waited and waited and walked to the bus station ..the drivers said there is no 8am bus even though it's on the schedule. So walk 2Km back to near the camping place to star hitching. Got a ride the 15Km to Agira Regalbutto, Biancavilla, Adrano, Maletto

Sun -
- Mondello - meet Dave and team for walk move back to flat.

- Vilma wants to come to Italy in June... surely it will be too hot, I was getting sunburnt yesterday. Now August would be terrible, but surely May would be better... or September if you like the beach because the sea starts off cold and gets warmer through the summer.

Opinion : Why don't they rename Italy : "Chiuso" ?
- Bloody chiuso domino effect.
- Last year I had enormous problems with Greek idea of siesta now in Italy it's the same. Surely there is no reason in winter to have siesta. Even a the best of times it's problematic for me. I get delayed by something at night, so I get up a bit late; I get organised I get somewhere and enevitably everything is closed.

- Friday in Castigleone I packup go to the National Park Office, he talks a lot, but no good map to library who send me up the hill to the Municipalite who send me down the hill to the Tourist Info who don't have a map anyway. I set off on a clear path which disappears, but get down the mountain anyway to arrive in Francavilla. The internet shop is open and I need the internet to check for Taomina campsites etc since a virus on my memory card means I can't read the guidebook I have there, but since it's 1pm the local museum will close soon. I get the museum it's chuiso at 1pm, I get back to the internet café which is chiuso now. Then since now I am going to the mountain that means no information on Friday I'll have to get it on Saturday.

- Saturday after Camping on the mountain I walk down to Taomina go to the tourist office who tell me where I can find a campsite so I can dump my back before exploring town. NO when I find the tourist office it's chiuso on Saturdays..... A typical chuiso domino effect; if you don't get info first time, then the next time it's Saturday or Sunday or a holiday or something. The Caribineri tell me there is another office, but when I get to the place the Municipal police say there isn't. So I go to the internet café which is chiuso cos they don't open till lunchtime I guess. OK be a tourist I go to visit the Greek amphitheatre still carrying all my bags, they have a museum, but it's "siempre chiuso" (closed permanently).

- I'm 300m above sea level and I know the camping is probably down the steps. At the bottom I ask for the camping and the ticket office don't know, but I can walk 1Km south to the other tourist office. It turns out to be 1.5Km and chiuso on Saturdays. I pass a board a list of hotels and a campsite. The phone just steals my money. It's 1Km further so I walk to the campsite ..it's chiuso of course.

- What the hell the Greek ruins are 1Km further. I visit, it's free cos it's culture week. I do pass a cyber, but it's PC is so slow I can't get info. So I end up at 5.30pm walking back to the station getting a train 20 mins and walking another 1Km to a campsite where finally in the dark I put down, my bags.

- When I do get to the internet the guidebook says just North of the original station is a good campsite... I'm very annoyed that info would have saved me 5 hours of walking with my bags. Actually it seems that campsite isn't open as the phone doesn't answer.

- I'm so knackered, and I have to wash clothes that I decide to have a day off from travel on Sunday.

Mon- Tue - Messina
- to Messina - Walk around, look for internet, campsite is chuiso of course. Go to café find out about free concert in Villafranca Castle.
- Tue - Villafranca to Messina

- Wed - Basta of Sicily lets go to mainland

Opinion1 : NOT ITALY ...

- Because the time for Traveling in Europe has finished. 20 years you could travel a round Europe on a budget, but NOT now

....as the countries have developed - their prices now seem absolutely crazy.

- with many more people travelling - the experience is dominished ..you are not a person to be interested in, but rather another object to profit from

- and simple budget options have disappeared as the style is pushed up for bigger profits

- Before getting around by bus and train was easy, but now as everyone has got a car services have been cut and prices risen to cover the cost of all the empty sests.

- Last year I found that Albania was the last European country where budget travel is possible, but soon it will be like the rest of Europe.

- In Tunisia, Egypt, Indonesia, most of the undeveloped world you can get transport to most small towns several times a day, for less than $10, and when you arrive you can find a simple hotel room for less than $6 often for $2.
- In Europe you'll have difficulty finding transport when you do it will be tens of Euros, then when you arrive in a town the only option will be a fancy double room ...€50 seems a pretty regular price in Italy even Hostels are €20 plus for a dorm bed. Even then instead of the 1 to 1 experience of meeting the locals you'll found the town square full of German tour buses.

- It is a strange phenomenon that as developed countries have got richer, we are now actually poorer, in many aspects our standard of living in many things has fallen whereas developing countries continue to enjoy the good old days. In the 1960s when British people were complaining and desperate to move into a technological future the Primeminster Harold McMillan said "but you've never had it so good". Now most older people in the UK will tell you he was right and the standard of living was lower then. You could finish work at 5.30pm get a bus to one of the train stations then a ticket to the beach would cost 30 mins salary. You could then have a night out with food and drinks costing 2 hours salary and get the train back at 11.30pm or midnight or midnight 30pm. And now guess what ? Everyone has a car so buses run mostly empty so most services have been cut and ticket prices are phenomenal to pay for all the empty seats. Same for the train mosts services and stations have been cut.. You might be able to get a train back at 9pm for the price of 2 hours salary. Ah well everyone can drive straight from home. Yes fine in theory, but when people try it like at the time of Bank Holidays., the roads to the beach are gridlocked and parking is impossible to find.

- Cars
- going fancy

- 1. Be a couple or group - you can't be a single person cos of the lack of single rooms or hostels
- 2. Forget public transport - you need your own wheels.
- 3. Likewise forget hotels. The only budget way to travel around now is to car camp. Even 10 years ago most of the kids at UK festivals were doing this.

- With a van or big car fitted out for sleeping, there is no worrying about bus schedules or costs, nor hotels. People are pretty accepting of people sleeping in a vehicle for 1 night almost anywhere. You'd only have to use proper campsites every few days for showers and clothes washing etc. Food costs would be low cos you can lcarry picnic food easily.

- The system I adapted from long distance walking of carry my bags and hammock is similar, but inconvenient : I have to carry my baggage all the time, and people don't like you camping in a place even though if you slept in a car nearby they would accept that.
- But there are huge negatives in car camping :
- initial cost - I'd have at least €1500 tied up in cost, insurance, road tax. If everything goes well you can sell the vehicle, and get back €500 or something like €10/week. €1.50/day
- running cost, petrol maintenance - Look what can you expect ? 10Km or 1L of petrol, That's €16 of petrol to do 100Km a conservative daily distance. So it's not realistic for 1 person. You'd have to add in the extra costs of parking and maintenance say €180 over 6 months say €10/day
- So that's €17.50/day for 2 people assuming nothing major went wrong.

- then every so often something big would go wrong.. say €1000 every half year ..that's €2.50 per person. We are upto €20/day plus campsites, plus food plus entries.. Looking more like €30-40/per day per person

On pretty conservative calculation. Road tolls.

- And then something else - meeting people on the budget travel circuit you meet people all the time in hotels and on transport. Car camping, puts you in an isolated bubble.

What I spend travelling 2 weeks in Tunisia is the same that I spend one week in Italy and what I spend in 1 week in Tunisia is what I spend in 2 weeks in India.

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