High temperature? *laughs bitterly* That quasi-normal, adequately groomed woman you met in Paris turned into a frazzled frizzy sweating pile of suffering flesh from July 14 on. Sicily pulsates with heat and humidity in July and I was out walking around in it every day. It's a measure of how much I loved being up on that ruin that I didn't even notice the heat. It was hot, though, as walking through the town I thought I would die.
This is the Well of Venus, with the security fence effectively canceling its picturesque aspect. I did get a picture, though, by standing on the rim and holding my hands over the fence.
What an incredible place Erice looks like and certainly photogenic. Thanks for braving the heat to share this bixa. Why is it the blackberries in Italy never look good to eat, and anyone know what that purple flower is? I'm stumped.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 25, 2015 17:27:05 GMT
Bjd, apparently the old part of Erice has fewer than 500 inhabitants, although the municipality has 28,000. The source says that they live in the Casa Santa district. This expandable map makes sense of that statement. The restaurant I was in closed the moment I finished eating, so I guess it was also the dead time of day. One of the crew members on the cruise I took (more on that later -- this is a long report) told me that most people in Erice work in Trapani. I don't think the cable car is all that old. That trip & being up there must have been magical in the 70s. I highly recommend it now, too. Erice has a medieval & renaissance music festival every September. Seems like the perfect spot for it!
Thanks, Mossie & ay, ay, ay!
Thank you, Fumobici. Those poor berries would probably benefit from water & compost. I wondered how long ago a bird dropped the seed on that stony soil. I was hoping someone could identify the little flower. My best guess would be some relative of Malva sylvestris, & a stamped on, stunted little survivor at that.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 25, 2015 20:11:05 GMT
The Balio park affords blessed shade ~
This bay tree was huge and dense. There is a leaf from it in my jewelry box now, a little remembrance of a wonderful day ~
One of the towers of Balio. If it looks too new, that's because it was rebuilt in the late 1800s. The original towers date from the Middle Ages. Part of the military outpost, they were connected to the castle by a drawbridge. source The tower is closed and as far as I could determine from a sign on a side door, its most recent use was as a discotheque.
A last look at the castle and I start winding my way back to the cable cars ~
Thank you, NYCGirl! Really, I don't deserve praise for getting out in the heat to do this, as nothing could have kept me away. Most things surpassed my expectations. For myself, I'd avoid small cute touristy towns in the future, as they are essentially boring unless you're on your honeymoon or something. I much preferred the cities, where things of interest can be reached on foot or by local transportation, but also because cities exist for themselves & their citizens, not just to crassly fulfill tourist fantasies. Truly, I wound up hating Ortygia*, my last stop in Sicily for its touristy vibe. The time there could have been so much better spent in Palermo &/or Istanbul. Live & learn.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 29, 2015 21:55:46 GMT
Now it's time for me to start wrapping up this thread, which I will do with a splash, i.e., a boat excursion.
I have a limited enjoyment span for boating. So why did I go on a boat trip, you ask. It was one of those things that I was told I must do -- that the islands were wonderful, etc. etc. Well, I had one of those discount ticket booklets and another full day in Trapani, so I thought why not. I somehow failed to notice the amount of time this outing would eat out of my ever decreasing life span. The water is beautiful, admittedly, but the intense sun and heat made strolling around the islands, something that should have been fun, a torment. Most of the passengers didn't get very far before diving into someplace shady for granite. I did get some nice pictures. I also confirmed that there is no limit to the number of times that the phrase "wine dark sea" will float into ones mind under the right circumstances.
This is the actual boat and the actual crew, who were a cheerful and welcoming bunch, particularly the guy named Dino, who is from Erice ~
Our first stop was Favignana. The Norman castle on the hill is Santa Caterina, used by the Navy after WWII but now abandoned ~
The fancy house on the left belonged to Ignazio Florio, who bought these islands in 1874 & invested heavily in Favignana, building a major tuna cannery. source
There was a small but busy market practically at the water's edge ~
The house has a small museum inside and some family pictures ~
Rich people relaxing ~
Rich people hi-jinks ~
Somehow I doubt that bunch was responsible for the house's lawn ornaments ~
I was more interested in the little harbor and all the working boats there ~
There were several of these big warehouses(?) on either side of the harbor. I suppose they, and perhaps the smokestacked buildings are from the heyday of the cannery ~
Now we are heading deep into ancient history: The Egadi Islands were the scene of an important sea battle between the Romans and Carthaginians in 241 BC; the Roman victory ended the First Punic War. The name of Cala Rossa on Favignana ('Red cove') is said to derive from the blood of Carthaginians washing ashore. You can see the remains of a Punic ship, perhaps wrecked in the conflict, in the archaeological museum in Marsala.source
I should mention here that the boat anchored a couple of times on the way out & once on the way back so people could jump in and swim. I wanted to get pictures, but it was a wet mob scene at the stern, so I just retreated inside for a little shade. My chosen spot throughout was on the bow.
Coming in to port at Levanzo, the smallest of the Egadi Islands ~
Picturesque? Yes indeed. But also hot as in hellfire hot, your oven on self-clean setting hot, ant under mean kid's magnifying glass hot.
Those of us who didn't immediately seek out a café trudged first to the apron of residences perched on the rock above the sea, then along the road in front of the cemetery, thinking why god why? Well, for me the answer to that was 'must get pictures, must get pictures' ~
See that white puffy thing floating in the sky in this picture? That's what's left of my personality and spirit, disintegrating and drifting off in the furnace-like heat and the deadly prospect of motoring back over yet more blue sea ~
Land! Land! There is Trapani nestled at the foot of Mount Erice, with the Castle of Venus not yet covered by the afternoon fog ~
Closer and closer ~
And that concludes my sojourn in Trapani, as the next morning I was off to Palermo.
I think a boat ride was an excellent way to end the stay, and even if you thought it was hot, it still had to be cooler than on land. Those weatherbeaten houses on the island always ignite fantasies in me -- "what would it be like to just settle into one of them for a month?" Just eating fish and buying those beautiful vegetables would keep me busy a lot of time. And I suppose that wine can be found not far away...
Last Edit: Aug 7, 2017 0:16:34 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
Well the photos are luscious with their colors and exotic scenes, I especially like the view of the insanely colored sea between the houses and the ancient looking ruins/caves along the beach as well as the harbor scenes with the funky boats. The whole harbor/beach area looks like a location from the RAI series Il Commissario, with only our favorite Sicilian detective Sr. Montalbano missing. I was initially dissuaded from visiting Italy in summer by the crazy high in-season airfares, now I have another reason to stay away that time of year--the heat. I never did like extreme heat; cold, I can dress for, heat is another story. Once I'm down to shorts and a T-shirt, there is no plan B or C remaining. With cold I can always just layer up until I'm perfectly comfortable. My father says winter is lovely there in Sicily.
Kerouac, you might be tempted to start making your own wine out of seaweed or something after enough time caught in an endless loop of L'Avventura. I am glad I took the trip, as it was quite beautiful. There are also cave paintings on Levanzo, although arrangements have to be made in advance to see them. I believe the little island is only @7 km from Trapani, so one could buzz back into town for grape wine, dvds, & other essentials.
Just so you all will know how strong the sun was: the pants I wore on the boat are all bleached on the top part of the thighs, where the sun hit when I was seated.
Fumobici, thanks for your always gracious compliments. I think I mentioned this before, but I kept lifting my sunglasses & peering at the water, thinking it was impossible for it to be that deeply and gorgeously blue. If I were rich, I'd be buying a ticket to Palermo right now in order to go celebrate All Saints/All Souls there, which is supposed to be a riot of street fairs selling Norman knights cast in sugar and acres of street food. Supposedly April is a good time to visit, as school is not yet out but the Spring flowers are. I imagine some of the towns with famous Easter week celebrations might get crowded, though.