Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A day in Trapani and Elice


Our first full day in Sicily. After breakfast we decided to retrace our steps by walking around the pedestrian only, old part of Trapani. Daylight, but once again the very elegant shops were shut. Monday. Then it was off to Erice in the car and what a ride that was. The rules of the road are quite often only guidelines to Italians but I must say in several visits to all parts of Italy, I have never seen anything like it. Cars would come lunging out of side streets challenging your right of way and most often just ignoring it. This was made all the more hairy by vendors selling lovely artichokes, cauliflowers, watermelons and seafoods out of the back of their trucks, then the really slow three-wheeler 'apes' screeching very slowly along the road.

Finally, we reached our destination, the funicular to the medieval hill town, Erice. Once parked we noticed men working on the cables to the funicular. Closed until the end of March. However, we did have a wonderful drive up the twisting road past fields of yellow and orange spring flowers carpeting the hillside. Once we arrived we visited a lovely pasticceria and bought figs wrapped in pastry and some little marzipan treats. I consider myself a connoisseur of marzipan and this is the best I have ever tasted. Every kind of marzipan fruit was on display in bright colours as well as marzipan resembling pasta and even sausage sandwiches. We wondered around the maze of cobblestoned streets passing many of the sixty churches. Erice towers over western Sicily at 750 metres above sea level. As we approached the castle, the wind whipped up and clouds whizzed by but with this came a cold blast. We quickly admired the views over Trapani before beating a hasty retreat to the car.

Back in town we had sea bream and swordfish for lunch before driving to the port, where most of the fishing fleet was tied up five abreast. As we were walking around we noticed a few dogs lying around. Suddenly, a car they knew drew up and for some reason we were surrounded by these dogs barking viciously at us. One actually tried to nip Seamus. We kept going and eventually they left and visited their friend but it was a bit disconcerting. Tonight we went on a WiFi search to no avail. However, the shops were now open and the streets filled with people. Dinner was poached branzino or sea-bass in wine with parsley and garlic and a selection of calamari, crayfish and baby squid for Seamus. Once again we started with caponata. So far I think the meals back in our little corner of Spain are as good and are certainly cheaper but the Sicilian pastries and the marzipan are bellissimo!

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