Arrival and Departure
The quickest and most comfortable way to travel from our home town Bonn, Germany, to Sicily is by plane. A train takes almost 30 hours per direction such that this not really an option.
HLX flies from Cologne Bonn Airport to Catania and Palermo. Flights to Palermo were more expensive than to Catania and we found the east part of Sicily with Mt. Etna, Syracuse and Ragusa more attractive anyway, hence we booked flights for us and our bikes to Catania. HLX charges a standard fee of 25 Euros per bike per flight.
On our way to Cologne Bonn Airport, we cycled with luggage and two packages of foil (5 sqm each) to the railway station, caught a train to the airport and prepared the bikes at the airport. This took about 30 minutes per bike and gave us a lot of curious looks from other passengers. Having arrived in Catania, we threw the foil away and fixed the bikes - another 40 minutes.
Increasing the air pressure in the wheels with a manual bicycle tire inflator is always difficult. But Patrick is a strong guy :-) and managed to inflate them suffciently until we got to an accomodation with a better tire inflator. If it hadn't been Saturday evening, we probably would have found a bicycle shop with a foot pump on our way.
Since Catania Airport offers a service to seal luggage into foil, we did not even bring foil to the airport on our way back (though we saw a do-it-yourself shop in Catania). The guy at the foil maching never wrapped bicycles before, but enjoed the task a lot. Men love challenges... The service costed 10 Euro per bike and you can see the result on the pictures below.
Please also see my general hints for travelling with bicycles.