18th June 2015
Time to say goodbye to Sicily’s fertile and sunny shores . . . .
Sicily – Its much repeated three-legged symbol with snake-wound head representing the three corners of its triangular shaped island–Hic Sicania Est. We are now in Sicily’s north western corner, Trapani.
Have been indulging in particularly good ‘vino locale’ and superb pistachio gelati – “This disgusting habit must cease forthwith.” did I hear you say? But, gee, we’ve managed to resist those chocolate dipped ones – so give us a break :). Also, we’ve been indulging ourselves with the best cherries we have ever tasted at the outrageous price of 2.5 Euros per kilo (at the most, about $AUD6/kg). Southern Sicily grows vast acreages of cherries, lemons, oranges, apricots and other stone fruit, the quality and price of which makes us reflect askance at the poor apologies for the same we get from the sands of Western Australia. It is going to be difficult to settle back to paying Oz prices for simple necessities such as beer and wine – for a start. But I guess I’ll settle down after a few weeks of grumbling. The seasonal fruit of this region, which includes mulberries (both black and a white variety), loquats, figs, peaches, nectarines, and apples, is impressive in its quality. Further north, an excellent variety of Kiwi fruit (Chinese gooseberry anyone?) was on our breakfast table at Giarre Riposto – grown on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna.
Our unit is one block behind this ferry port for the Egadi Islands of Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo, and Mediterranean cruise ships. There’s a lot happening and lots of good refreshment and food places. Its waterfront sparkles (in that azure, blue way) in the bright sunshine. Yep, Trapani manages to keep us interested even though it is not the cheapest of places to eat in. On the eastern side of the peninsula are extensive salt pans – not that we found that particularly interesting.
San Vito lo Cabo
On one day we bused out to San Vito lo Cabo and found a beach that verily I say unto you had water that was azure, pearlescent blue, clean, sparkling and with a pale-ish coloured sand reminiscent of Rockingham. In fact, I can personally azure you that it could compete with that home beach of ours on a good day. The only problem is that over here, as all around the Med, they section off the beach into competing bar/restaurant interests and litter it with their particular sun umbrellas and deck chairs. It does add colour though I must admit. Rachel had a swim and azured me it met with her approval. I paddled and looked after our phone and wallet. The cape itself is dominated by a Gibraltar sized massif stretching inland – a climber’s dream. An attractive place and another good day’s outing.
A local Cous Cous meal in Trapani at Hostaria San Pietro. Couscous reflects the North African history of this particular region of Sicily.
We’ve been eating out of a lot of plastic plates with plastic cutlery lately to try to hold back our burgeoning budget figures. Oddly, the quality of the food is not necessarily reflected in the material in which it sits – we have had some damned good food out of a plastic plate. We are concentrating on local wine (and Italian beer) and though some is cheaply packaged, its quality is quite adequate and the price is ridiculously cheap. We have also splashed out on dearer local wine, and yes, to our palates, it is good (yeah, but what would the Italians know about wine, eh 😉 ).
Below is one complete, and typical Southern Italian seafood meal. We had this one in Pozzuoli (in ceramic dishes 🙂 .) We have had to learn to cut back on our ordering as the quantities overall are far too much for us – and it can also be reflected in the price. Later, we’d learn to simply order one of their two (often three) piatti (plates) with some local wine – faggedabout da desoits! The bread, throughout, has been outstanding too: slightly yellow in colour with a bouncy texture and a flavoursome crust. It’s hard to put ones finger on the significant difference between bread here and down under, but our conclusion is that down under they grind the grain far to fine – I suspect they bleach it too and seem to have removed most of the goodness from the grain. The bread here does not block you up, and I have not seen a bread shop selling wholemeal bread – anywhere.
We walked out of there totally stuffed.
Bella olde Trapani
We did a day trip up nearby Erice, an olde hilltop town about 750m above sea level. It was, however, a complete tourist trap –it just teemed with them. The town was covered in cloud when we went up by the funicular and it was very cold (compared to down below) and we were dressed for the tropics. Actually, we haven’t seen the top of Mt Erice clear of cloud in the whole time we’ve been here. We walked half way up the mountain the previous day which was a helluva hike but felt good to be up in the high country – reminded us of Banks Peninsula in dear old Christchurch (not as steep as the bridal Path though :).
Photo top left is of Trapani taken from funicular. The city sits on a peninsula. The other three taken in misty old Erice.
YeOlde Erice Road
Ye olde Trapani Library
Australian Health & Safety would probably have this library closed down!