Saturday, October 11, 2014

10/4/14 Day 261 Cave Adventures in Southwest Sicily

It has been a long while since we couch surfed last, a full month ago in Prague, in fact. Luckily for us we are heading to Ispica to surf with Bernd, a German native who has been living in his cave home in Ispica, Sicily for 24 years. Mostly off the grid with renewable resources including numerous solar panels a wood fire heated shower and enough fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs from his chickens and garden to enjoy year round in the beautiful Sicilian (always summer) weather. He has built this home from the ground up by himself over the last two dozen years and it is amazing and beautiful; he has five shitzus who await his return daily and loyally, he has two functioning showers three comfortable bedrooms, and a huge kitchen & dining room area. Additionally he has another cave space where he accomplishes his work as a sculptor just a 3 minute walk down the road. He is a freelance sculptor and works on everything from personal pieces to monumental pieces for the city. With Bernd's suggestions we found a phenomenal beach the next day complete with water caves, land caves and a crumbling abandoned village. A quiet hike-in beach leaving us alone with just the sound of the crashing waves. Alone until the local dog pack made their way over, (we have named them Alfredo and Marinara for the day). Heading back to Bernd's we prepared our new favorite dish; a salad made of garbanzo beans, bell pepper, tomato, carrot, olives, and tossed with a balsamic olive oil dressing, delicious healthy cheap and filling! We shared our dinner salad and watched one of the most visual thunderstorms with some of the most beautiful lightning we have ever see from underneath Bernd's  open roofed dining room. Well fed with fresh eggs and vegetables from the garden we set out in search of Cava Grande, a hiking trail in and along a beautiful canyon with deep and refreshing waterfall pools at the end of the trail. Of course after driving for a few hours up into the height of the canyon we discover what we feared to be true. The trail has since been closed to visitors due to fires back in June, making paths unstable and unsafe for visitors. Trail maintenance may not be finished for a few years to come. Luckily we found information online leading us just a bit further past the original lot to a newer and less known lot starting further East of the path. Not too far down the new path and we discovered a knocked over no entry sign...naturally we had to discover what access we were missing out on. It took almost an hour and a half for us to reach the pools which make this area famous. With intense humidity beating down upon us we quickly strip down and cannonball into the clear deep waters under the cascading travertine falls. But only for a moment can we enjoy the water before the cold hits our veins and our muscles force us back out to the daylight again and back the way we came. 

Bernd our new favorite cave dweller
Solar panel garden
Our cave bedroom

Wood burning shower heater
Complete kitchen

DIY wiring
One of the five guard dogs
And one more
The beautiful and deserted beach we go to spend our day on

Alfredo on the left and Marinara on the right

The drive up, as per our usual, really windy and very steep, because that is where the pretty stuff is

If there is one thing Italian's do not seem to care about, it is how long it takes for trash to decompose, there is trash everywhere in this country, yet there is an informative sign

The view from the top, so far to go

So many caves

What sign? 
The evidence left behind from the burn that indefinitely shut down the main trail to the lakes

Laghetti Principale, (main lake) almost there!
Finally reached the pools!

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