Dates: 07/05/09 – 07/07/09
Distance: 12 NM
We returned to Trapani from Favignana and spent two more nights on a mooring in the outer part of the harbor — a bit cooler than being tied up at the dock. After a quiet Sunday, we launched Rinky (our dinghy), went ashore to the excellent daily market and filled our new “Gimi” shopping trolley with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and other local food specialties. We stopped in at the local fish market and decided to treat ourselves to some fresh swordfish. We also found a small supermercato to stock-up on bottled water and a few other provisions before returning to the boat — a real Sicilian shopping adventure, which turned into a culinary adventure when we were back onboard. We ate the swordfish raw for lunch with lemon, olive oil, onion, sea salt, cracked pepper and parsley, and then seared it in olive oil and served with couscous made with pine nuts and raisins for dinner. Both meals were washed down with tasty Sicilian wine.
Dates: 07/01/09 – 07/04/09
Distance: 58.6 NM
A light NW wind for the passage from Ustica today, but not enough to speed us along the nearly 60 mile passage back to the main island of Sicily. We decided to find a berth at one of the local marinas for a few days for easy access ashore in this busy town with its rich history going back to the Phoenicians.
The day after we arrived in Trapani, we set-out on foot and explored the narrow streets and touristy pedestrian mall in the historic center, which is sandwiched between the shores of a long, narrow, sickle-shaped peninsula. On one side is a busy port with ferry terminals, commercial docks and salt pans in the distance. On the other side are beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea with sandy coves protected by rock-strewn reefs and people enjoying a sunny day at the beach. A cruise ship was in port that day, so the town center was bustling with activity.
The various cultural influences in this part of Sicily are evident in the architecture, the local cuisine, and the faces of the local people you see around town. There is no question about the proximity of North Africa when you walk around Trapani and nearby Erice.
We did not get far before sampling a few of the local food specialties, including what we thought was arancini, a rice ball snack filled with meat ragu, but instead of meat, it was filled with pasta. We did our best to walk past the numerous pasticcerias (bakeries) with display cases full of all kinds of sweets, including the elaborate marzipan cookies made to look like fruit. We opted for lemon granite (for Lisa) and a gelato (for David) before taking the bus and then funivia (cable car) to the Medieval hilltop town of Erice. We spent the late afternoon wandering around the well-preserved walled city and admiring the incredible views from the top, although it was too hazy to see as far as Tunisia on this hot, summer day. The best views are from the castle which looks right out of the early Middle Ages and is built on the site of a former temple dedicated to Venus (Aphrodite Erycina). We returned to Trapani and treated ourselves to a dinner out at a local trattoria. Lisa savored the local specialty of couscous with fish while David went for an equally delicious swordfish dish with the house white wine made from the Grillo grape variety. We are definitely liking Sicilian food and wine.
Here’s a photo gallery of Leg 3 of our cruise through Southern Italy and Sicily: