4th-5th May …………San Vito lo Capo
We left Mazara del Vallo and, drove northwards through Marsala and then through Trapani and pulled into another seaside campsite at the most beautiful resort of San Vito lo Capo. The camp itself is right at the base of the 1110 meter high mountain called Monte Sparagio and its almost sheer face overlooking this whole area is quite a memorable landmark. On the way here I was at a fuel station topping up the diesel tank when a Sicilian pulled in and immediately wanted to talk about how we were enjoying his country. He apologized for the fact that the temperature was only 27 degrees and he said that in the summer it will be 40 degrees. I explained that it was quite warm enough for me and, in comparison; it was a lot colder in England. He said he knew that because he had lived for 2 years in Belfast. The site that we are on has fir trees growing all over the camping area and they give some lovely shade during the hottest part of the day. There are two beautifully kept swimming pools with sun bathing areas all around.
It is very peaceful here and the only noise we have heard is when the local goat herder took his very large flock past the front of the camp site and all the goats had a collar with a loud bell attached so it was quite melodious as they went past. I think that the life of a shepherd must be a very satisfying and peaceful existence. Just him, his dog and his 200 or so goats and even the dog had a relaxing time as the goats just sauntered along in a line and looked as though they knew exactly where they were going.
Today we walked into the little town and saw the beautiful beach with the sun beds and umbrellas and the sea that looked so clear because you could see the seabed for quite a long way out. This is a popular holiday time because of the public holiday on Friday so there were a lot of people enjoying the warm weather and the warm sea. Our favourite drink we have at cafes on hot days is lemon soda with a big slice of lemon and lots of ice. It is so refreshing!
We will move on tomorrow as our days on this beautiful island are soon coming to an end. We take the ferry at Palermo for the overnight, 11 ½ hour crossing on Saturday evening to Cagliari in Sardinia so we will move along the coast to see what more Sicily has to offer.
6th and 7th May………..Isola della Femmine
We have moved closer to Palermo and we are at another sea side resort called Isola della Femmine. The temperature is in the 30s and again it is nice to be able to park the motorhome in amongst the trees to keep the van out of the direct sunshine. What with the shade and the electric fan that we have had running since we arrived: we have enjoyed this site very much. We walked all along the front towards the next town and then walked into the small town here. At the harbour we watched the young kids diving from huge blocks of concrete which have been piled one on top of each other. Presuming that the harbour is deep enough where this is going on it still does seem to be a very dangerous way to keep cool. Again we have found all the Sicilians we have met very friendly and very helpful.
When we got back to the campsite we went to reception because the lady there would give us some helpful information about visiting Palermo. This multi-lingual lady held different sessions for the different language speakers. When we got there for the English session there was us and a Dutch couple and we were given maps, books and an excellent guide all about the train service that we could take to get into Palermo about 16 kilometers away. What a great service and this is the first time we have had such an excellent, comprehensive briefing before we have gone off to visit a city.
So, this morning we walked the 800 meters to the station. When the train arrived we got on and went to where there were lots of seats available but did notice that everyone else used the much busier lower part of the carriage. All the people that were from the same campsite were all sitting in the busy end. Then the ticket collector got on and started to check tickets working her way towards us. It was only then that I noticed that there was a sign saying that we were in the first class seats and although we both think of ourselves as first class people but we had only paid for second class tickets so we quickly jumped up and sat where we should have been.
Armed with our map and the guide books we had got from reception we wandered around and soon got down to where we should have been able to view the beautiful cathedral. Once again the scaffold was there to spoil that perfect photo. Worse still, over the scaffolding covering half of the beautifully carved area over the main door was an enormous advert for Samsung products which totally spoils the whole ambiance of the building.
Whilst trying to take a picture of the beautifully designed bell tower from round the side of cathedral I saw this statue which was one of many all around the perimeter of the grounds.
Well, what do you think he was trying to tell someone? The inside of the cathedral was well worth the visit and as we went round we came to one section with a high alter and people were going in and disappearing behind the beautiful marble backdrop. Then I saw the sign that this was the entrance to the public conveniences and this had to be another photo opportunity as the poshest toilet entrance anywhere.
We enjoyed our tour of the main things to see in Palermo so we headed down to the docks to suss out where we would be catching the ferry on Saturday. The hectic traffic around the city with its multi-lane highways and the excitable Sicilian drivers is going to make driving to the port very interesting indeed and I did suggest that Elaine could take a turn at the wheel on the way in but that fell on very deaf ears.
We found a very nice restaurant for our lunch and we dined alfresco: two very nice meals, half a carafe of wine each and coffees for 16 euros. Who says it is expensive in Italy?
We then had to get back to the station and because it was so warm we took a horse and trap ride all the way there and thoroughly enjoyed this first class journey.
We have had two Englishmen come over to us today to pass on the General Election results. The second guy had stayed up all night to get the results having tuned into BBC radio via the internet. Both were pleased because the pound immediately went up against the dollar and they both presumed the pound would also rise against the Euro giving them more spending power whilst they are travelling. Our comments to both were very neutral as time will tell what the consequences of this result will be.
We have today booked the onward ferry crossings between Sardinia and Corsica and between Corsica and Genoa in Italy. I should have brought a printer out with us as the three ferry lines all insist we turn up with printed confirmation of our crossings. What a disaster it would be if we weren’t allowed to board our first crossing to Sardinia tomorrow. Then we would just have to stay in this beautiful island.