Tag Archives: sicilia

Make love. Not war. Or Back to B.C.

Old forgotten mines, where thousands of people used to cut the stone.  Square artificial entrances to caves, created by people in order to satisfy their need in materials. They  face the sea, dot coastal rocks all along the shore. Ancient houses and fences are made from stones that were taken from mines. Paths and dusty roads lead from one side of the small island to the other.

Mines of Favignana

This place definitely reminded me Epic films about mighty Roman empire, its dwellers and servants.  And that is the place, where we anchored the last night.

This is how dweller of Isla di Favignana live.

Isola di Favignana is one of the three islands that create Arcipelago delle Egadi, to the west of Sicily. There are ferries – Ustica lines – that connect Sicily, Ustica and Egali.  When for a while we stopped at the bay of the town, ferries were departing and arriving almost every 30 minutes, causing much waving.

The town of Favignana is a really charming place. It’s small but full of life. Especially on Friday night – amount of people, walking, parting and having dinner outdoors on central streets, reminded me about big cities. But that doesn’t make it overcrowded, moreover – adds something to provincial charm.

Port of Favignana

On one of the shores of the cosy town bay there’s an old maison, where Tuna museo is situated. Sounds yummy, hey? If we would stay longer, I would definitely visit it.

Lovely bay of Favignana, where we spent the first night.

We were staying in different bays of Favignana for four days. The main reason was face wind and waves that didn’t allow us to head to Sardinia. Warm sunny days, turquoise water and amazing landscape surrounded us all these days.

On the hill, the highest point of the island, – Fort di Sancta Caterina. It’s very touristic sight, even excursions by donkeys are held to the top of the hill. Their stable is near the place, where the ascending road starts. This road is an easy and fast way to get to the top.

Fort di Sancta Caterina

I do not choose approved and explored paths, so decided to conquer the hill from the other side, rocky and bushy. 40 minutes of rock-climbing – and I’m on the top, completely happy and with scratched legs. From there I could see all island, including “Vagabond”’s anchorage, the town, mines and desired fortress – like on a palm.

Pleasant walk along the edge to the top of another hill – and the fort is right in front of me. I entered it from “prohibited” side that was indicated with thorny fence to prevent tourists to explore “wild” and rocky hills of Favignana.

In the fort I met two guys from Sri Lanka. They’ve been working on the island for five months. And that was the first time they climbed the hill. Back we went civilized way and together.

And then I lost my road : ) No one is surprised, yep? We returned to the centre (guys decided to join me on my way to the boat), from where we went to the anchorage before with Cris and Isabel. Then I lost the way again. So we decided to ask the direction in a very load bar. Cool guys -barmen got a map from nowhere and showed the right street.

These meetings per chance, random people, support and smiles are great treasure of my life. These are people, who create my world, who enrich me and make me feel. They are stars, sparkles of my life way – amazing personalities that join me for a moment, for a hour, for the whole life.

People, my neighbours, brothers and sisters, are those who greet me on my way, who wave me farewell, who give me a hand and support, when I can fall, who smile to me, when I’m sad.

And I try to pay the same coin – with open hand, mind and heart. I love you all!

With these cheerful  words I finish this chapter. Make love, not war.

These carvings we found in one of mines of Favignana.

And some tips for sailors.

    • Cosy bay with transparent water and mines: 37°55.8884 N, 12°21.0553 E;
    • Anchorage with small marina (for motorboats) on the side of the island, opposite to the port (I. to Preveto – I. ta Longa): 37°54.9323 N, 12°18.4392 E.

 

“Vagabond” in the wonderland

And the day before yesterday we saw a volcuno eruption! We were anchored in the marina and waited for Cris, who went to the shore to met Leo and David before their departure to Barcelona. Me and Isabel were enjoying warm and calm evening on the deck, when she noticed a fire stream on a mountain slope. I suggested these are “human made” lights. But further spectations showed that was definitely a volcuno. Probably, even Etna. The light grew bigger and brighter, then broke into pieces and started to fade.

That is not a huge even for Sicilia, where vulcanos are a harmonic part of environment. But for us – it was!

Trying to imagine how was the life in the old castello on the entrance to Trapani port many centuries ago...

And yesterday we saw … dolphins!!! Not in a dolphinarium but in the wild! We sailed from Palermo to Trapani, and they appeared from nowhere and joined “Vagabond” for a while. They were rushing from board to board, jumping from water and showing their grey backs. Incredible creatures! So pleasant to be their guests.

About food

10 hours crossing from Palermo to Trapani, another sicilian on the north-west of the island. From sailor’s site we learnt that the city is famous for its seafood. But we, probably, are fed up with sea food for this moment. Our experience in Palermo with this type of cuisine was quite horrible.

Close to the marina, where we anchored, there was a restaurant called “Il Nautico”. There we headed with Cris, Luis, Isabel, Leo and David. The restaurant attracted us with fresh sea food, displayed near the entrance. We could see how a chef cooked it.

I’m not really a fan of fresh sea food, because of cruel methods that are used to cook still alive animals. But I love some fish and some of Japanese dishes.

First impression: the restaurant is overcrowded, waiters are in a hurry. Menu is in Italian (and that’s ok, we’re in Italy), waiters do not speak English (and that’s also ok, we’re in Italy). There was no opportunity to have a half of dishes mentioned in “fish” menu. Finally, we ordered an assorti and fish. Guys had some huge shrimps.

Result of the visit: food was bad and sometimes even disgusting. Waiters confused the orders, and the whole impression sucks.

Don’t think,  we will go to a seafood restaurant in Trapani.

Marina of Palermo

But I need to admit that, probably, I wasn’t fair to Palermo as a city. Some parts of it are not so bad. Like via Vittorio Emanuele, where you can find old buildings and fountains and cathedrals – some of them are rather impressive. Like Old port – marina close to city centre, full of yachts and boats. Like the resort suburb Mandello with cosy houses and clean beaches. And the countryside around Palermo is very beautiful: I admired the views on way to the airport to pick up our guests.

Chapter 3: on board of “Vagabond”

After sleepless night in a bus (8-hours drive) we arrived to Reggio Calaria, a town on a continental side of Messina channel.

The bus ride was tiring but not useless. The road goes along the coast, and the coast of Southern Italy is incredible. Rocky cliffs, hills, covered with olive trees and vines, blue Mediterranean sea and plenty of multilevel coastal towns, settled in bays and harbours.

Ferry to Messina – and I’m on Sicily! So close to the aim of my bus journey, the town Taormina, where the boat “Vagabond” was waiting for me. And here’s a point, where my plan starts to be useless.

First I missed the stop in Messina. The next one was in more than an hour drive, in Catania. The point, where I realised the fact of a missed stop,  was a turn to Taormina that we passed. HERE I remembered that I needed to hop off in Messina. “Well, lets look around. Not every day on Sicilia”, – I finally decided. And have a relaxing ride to Catania, admiring landscapes of the island.

Taormina - view from a high point

In Catania we stopped on a bus station, so there was no problem in finding the bus to Taormina. If the previous bus was typically touristic (very good bus, by the way – clean, with smily drivers and even snacks and drinks served. The company is called “Interbus – Ibus”, here’s the link. The ticket from Roma to Messina costs 32 euros, ferry is included), the bus Catania-Taormina was typically public. People attacted it, seiged and took with a battle. Happily, poor driver was able to hide in his seat in proper time.

The public was diverse: Africans, Arabs and a few Italians. There were many sellers with their goods, so I worried a bit for  my bag, which was in a lugguage section. On every stop people opened it to take their numerous things.

The ride was fun: I talked to my neighbour from Bangladesh and watched the scenery through the window.  The result of my unattentiveness:  I was late to Taormina for four hours.

Taormina is a resort town, not far from Etna volcano. I could see it from a distance, with an smoke above its head. The town has three bays with beaches and anchorage for yachts. I ended up on the top of the hill, on a bus station. While going through a winding road up, I saw several yachts, anchored near the rock.

Funny thing was that about the boat I didn’t know anything, except the name of the yacht and the first name of the captain. With this poor information I ended up on a beach.

I asked Rescue service, and they told me that haven’t seen the boat with the name “Vagabond” in the nearest bay. They I rushed to the diving school – but they didn’t know anything useful for me. Finally, I decided to find a restaurant with the internet, write an email to the captain Cristiano and wait.

The waiter, whom I asked about WiFi, spoke English very slightly. But he spoke French! Not perfect but better than me – italian. I explained a situation to him. Probably, because of my desperate face or just his kind nature , but he gave me his notebook with mobile connection to the net.  At the same time, another guy from a restaurant tried to help me, calling to stations all over Taormina and asking about “Vagabond”. Finally, he found some guys, who saw a boat with this name.

Meanwhile, I wrote an e-mail to Cris  and – oh miracle! – he called me in a minute! We were lucky to get the connection, and soon a white dinghy brought me on board the yacht. Chapter 3 of my journey has started…

Vulcano, one of Ionian islands

I’m in Palermo now, the capital of Sicily. The city that I would never want to leave. Yesterday we spent several hours trying to find internet. Today we can’t hire a car.

I can forgive everything – car, internet – but not lack of air. Despite it’s on an island, stetched far along the coast, it’s so dusty here…

Tomorrow we’re leaving to an island Ustica in Tyrrhenian sea. Just 9 km across. Can’t wait to leave Palermo.