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Trapani, Segesta, Erice and Favignana...

Continued from: My trip to Sicily- In Zoe's memory...

The bus ride to Trapani was comfortable and I enjoyed the scenery of green rolling hills and meadows covered with a carpet of golden yellow, white and violet wildflowers.
As I contemplated the beautiful scenery I thought about Zoe. Knowing that Zoe had loved traveling in Sicilia warmed by heart and I somehow felt safe.

When the bus arrived to Trapani’s port (the last bus stop), I called the b&b but no one answered, so I proceeded to walk there. Secret B&B is located in the old town on a quiet narrow street not far from the port.

As I approached the B&B, I noticed a couple walking in front of me, and when I passed them I thought to myself, I wonder if that’s Charlene and her husband? So I turned around and asked, is your name Charlene, by any chance? And she replied, “Yes! Priscilla?” Charlene, (a forum friend) and I had been communicating for a couple of months and we knew that our trip would overlap in Trapani. What a serendipitous moment!
Once inside the B&B, Charlene & Tom waited with me until the owner, Lory, arrived.

Lory a friendly and helpful young woman manages this beautifully renovated B&B welcomed me and handed me my room key. I took the elevator to my room on the third floor. I remembered Zoe writing about this slow elevator. My room was simply decorated with a comfortable bed, a small desk table and chair and a clean bathroom with a shower.

When I returned downstairs to retrieve my passport, I shared the sad news about Zoe with Lory. She remembered Zoe as “una donna molto gentile” (a very kind woman)
As we hugged each other she uttered these words, “it’s part of life…”
I was not expecting such a pragmatic and philosophical way of viewing life. But true…

[Side note: These very words were repeated to me each time I shared about Zoe’s passing with the people she had met on her many trips to Sicilia.]

Since it was past lunchtime, I ventured out in search of the nearby market, which happened to be closed as many businesses close their doors between 1-4pm.
Fortunately I found a Salumeria (deli) on Corso Italia on my way back to the B&B. The deli was just about to close (@2:30pm). I purchased some tasty chicken that had been prepared with sweet cherry tomatoes, onions, capers and fragrant rosemary, and a side order of golden roasted potatoes. The deli owner, a young man, heated the food in the MW, carefully wrapped it up, like a present, with butcher paper and handed it to me. I paid €8 for my meal which I enjoyed back in my room.

After lunch, I walked down the narrow stone stairs to the breakfast room where I met Francesca, the young woman who welcomes guests in the afternoon.
A few minutes into our conversation, she mentioned that she’d be making a cake for tomorrow’s breakfast. I asked if I could watch and she happily agreed. We stepped into the tiny kitchen where she began measuring the ingredients into a large bowl. First the sugar, then the eggs, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and lastly the flour and the baking powder. She quickly whipped the ingredients into a creamy batter and into the cake pan, which she had carefully lined with parchment paper. This was her “secret” for easy cleanup. Francesca was so fast and proficient that she could have performed this task with her eyes closed! The cake went into the oven in mere minutes!
We talked for a long time as the sweet aroma (of the cake) filled the room, and I could almost taste it.
After thanking Francesca I went out to explore Trapani.

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I walked to the port (past the market which was now open), found the travel agency and asked if I could buy my bus ticket to Agrigento. The man informed me that I’d have to wait till the day of travel to buy my ticket. Strike two! [The same thing had happened when I tried to buy my bus ticket (to Trapani) in Palermo] So… I walked back to the B&B, stopping at the market to buy some water, fruit and snacks.

I was so tired from my day of travel that I went to bed early that first night in Trapani.

Day 2) When I arrived at the bus station the doors were locked and the building was empty and abandoned. I walked around the aged grey-tan building and found a small blue & white signpost which reads,‘Fermata Tarantola Bus’. Thankfully the signpost included instructions for where to buy the tickets for the bus to Segesta. Tabaccheria ‘Barraco’ is located around the corner on Via Virgilio. I asked the young woman if I could buy bus tickets for the following morning. “No, you buy your ticket tomorrow; if you buy today, you will have to take the bus today”. Hmmm… I’d heard this before. Okay… Strike 3 in trying to buy tickets in advance!

Afterwards, on my way toward the sea, I walked through the gardens of Villa Margherita’s Park. Near the Questura (Police Headquarters) I came across one of my favorite sights in Trapani. A beautiful bronze sculpture, an angel with outstretched wings, gently holding a wounded warrior. A WWI Memorial that captivated me for quite some time.

Once I’d reached the Lungomare, the promenade by the sea, I enjoyed the quiet and peaceful walk. I thought about Zoe and wandered if she had also walked along this serene promenade.

When I reached Piazza Mercato del Pesce (the former fish market), I made a left onto Via Torrearsa, a pedestrianized street lined with many shops, cafès and restaurants.
After wards, I stopped at my favorite Salumeria and ate another tasty home cooked meal for lunch.

It began to drizzle in the late afternoon so I bought an umbrella and asked the saleslady where her favorite gelateria was. I walked to the port to find Gelateria Ciur, Ciuri, which became my favorite in Trapani.

Day 3) A day trip to Segesta...

After breakfast, Charlene, Tom, and I walked to the bus station to take the bus to Segesta. The bus came by right on time, and we arrived to Segesta in about 50 minutes. The bus ride was comfortable and very scenic.
The countryside was like a green quilt dotted with a few stone houses, and there were beautiful wildflowers everywhere.
Once we arrived to Segesta, we got our tickets then took the shuttle bus up the hill to the amphitheater. After admiring the scenery of the verdant valley we walked down toward the temple.

The scenery of the impressive Greek temple and the surrounding wildflowers was absolutely magnificent.
We walked along a narrow dirt trail (instead of the main road) and as Charlene and I lagged behind, Tom took some photos of us threading through the multitude of fragrant golden yellow wildflowers that were almost as tall as us!

Once back in Trapani, we stopped at my favorite Salumeria (Corso Italia 57-59), which apparently had also become Charlene and Tom’s favorite place to eat. After lunch we walked toward the port and enjoyed a creamy gelato at my favorite Gelateria Ciuri, Ciuri.

Continued...

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The following day, Charlene, Tom, and I had planned to go up to Erice. I wanted to find out where the funicular station was located, so after a short rest, I walked to the bus stop and waited for bus #23. Upon boarding the bus I asked the driver if this was the correct bus to the funicular. I also asked if the bus would be running the following day, a Sunday, and he explained that it would be bus #201 or #202. When we arrived to the appropriate stop he slowed down to pointed it out to me and I thanked him. The bus drove around the outskirts of the city then along the coast, and back to the terminal, a large parking lot, where I was instructed to take a different bus back to the port.

Day 4) A day trip to the beautiful medieval town of Erice…

After breakfast, we walked to the bus stop, waited for bus #202 and arrived to the funicular station in about 15-20 minutes. As the cable car climbed up to Mount Erice, we admired the amazing panoramic view of Trapani with its crescent shaped coastline, and the Egadi Islands in the distance. Tip: The funicular does not run in inclement weather.

Once we arrived to Erice, I was interested in visiting the interior of the cathedral but Charlene and Tom did not, so we bid each other farewell.
After visiting the beautiful cathedral I went up to the bell tower. I arrived to the top of the tower just as the bells started to ring. Although the bells were deafening, it was a unique experience with a stunning view of this picturesque town.

As I approached the Castle of Venus I marveled at how it had been built onto the rock of a steep hill.

The sun was shining and there was slight breeze but within minutes, white misty clouds appeared and quickly engulfed the castle, like a veil, obscuring its majestic sight.

After admiring the surrounding garden I walked down to the town center stopping at various churches, and shops. My favorite shop was, Ledacrea, a small ceramic shop full of colorful hand painted ceramics by the young artist Ledacrea herself.

After lunch I walked down toward the funicular and stopped at the famous Pasticceria Maria Grammatico known for her dolci di mandorle (almond paste sweets) and other sweet pastries. The pastry shop was packed with tourists and I managed to get in and ordered a small selection of sweets. When I bit into one of my sweets, all I could taste was alcohol and sugar. I was disappointed because all the sweets I’d purchased basically tasted the same and I don’t like the taste of alcohol.

I received a text from Charlene at around 3pm telling me that they were in the funicular and would be taking the bus back to the B&B. When I arrived to the bus stop, I was surprised to see my friends who had been waiting for the bus for almost an hour! When I checked the bus schedule, I realized that there were no buses running between 12:15 and 3:45. I apologized to Charlene and Tom for not having checked the bus schedule earlier.
The bus came by a couple of minutes later and off we went back to Trapani.

Since Charlene and Tom were departing early the following morning we said our goodbyes and I thanked them for their company.

Continued...

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Day 5) Day trip to the Island of Favignana…

On my last day, I didn’t have any plans so decided to go to Favignana, the largest of the Egadi Islands, and closest to Trapani.

When purchasing my round trip ferry tickets I was asked what time I’d like to the return. Since I didn’t know what time I wanted to return, I ended up buying the one-way ticket.

When I arrived to the island, many of the passengers went straight to the bicycle rental shop on the port. I didn’t feel like riding so I just walked into town toward the Tuna Canning Factory Museum, a massive stone building seen from the port. When I arrived, the man standing in the doorway informed me that the museum was just closing. When he shut the large wooden door, I notice a sign with the posted hours and realized that they had decided to close 90 minutes early!

I sat on the stone ledge, near the entrance to the museum, and watched the crystalline turquoise water. I then walked to the rocky beach and picked up a handful of sea glass.

Since this was an unplanned visit, I’d not done any research on this island. I just wanted to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere but quickly realized that perhaps I’d made the wrong choice by not renting a bicycle.

In Piazza Europa I’d spotted 'Trattoria El Pescador', an inviting restaurant with outside seating so I decided to eat lunch there. My seafood meal was excellent!

After lunch I wandered around the town but all the shops were closed and wouldn’t open till 4 or 4:30 pm, around the time I’d be departing.

When it was time to leave, I got in a long slow moving queue to buy my ferry ticket, three men cut in front of me and apparently bought the last tickets for that specific ferry. The man behind the window announced that I’d have to wait till the next boat an hour later. Thanks to the young man behind me who pleaded with the ticket agent we got the last tickets and ran to the boat being the last ones to board.

Back in Trapani, I enjoy one last gelato.

The following morning I took a bus to Agrigento...