Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saline di Trapani

On our third day of vacation to the western side of Sicily we headed north from Marinella di Selinunte to Trapani.  Our fist stop along the way was Mozia on the island of San Pantaleo in the Riserva Naturale di Stagnone.  Mozia was one of the most important Phoenician settlements in the Mediterranean.  Excavations dot the landscape of the small island and a small museum showcases many of the artifacts that have been found.

We walked the path that winds around the island perimeter, enjoying a view of the sea and the amazing wildflowers.  I will say, however, that I expected more from Mozia. My Sicily Lonely Planet book described the Phoenician road that at one time connected San Pantaleo to the mainland of Sicily. It lies about a meter below the water and can still supposedly be seen.  Sounds awesome, right?  Well, there was no way to get out over the water to see this road and there wasn't anything visible from the shore.  I was really disappointed.  On the upside, though we did enjoy our walk around the island.

After visiting the museum on Mozia we enjoyed a snack at the nearby cafe and then headed back to the pier to catch our boat back to mainland Sicily.  On our way back we struck up a conversation with a couple from Belgium.  Very nice people who also shared an interest in photography.  It is always fun to meet new people when I travel!

Once back on the mainland we traveled a kilometer or two north to the Museo Saline, a old windmill turned museum that shows how salt is harvested. The museum video (in English) and displays were very interesting.

The best part of the museum for me was being able to climb up inside the windmill and go out onto the terrace.  The view was spectacular and being able to see the inner workings of the windmill were fascinating.

Notice all of the parasailing chutes in the background?! I didn't even see them until I pulled the photo up on my computer!

Our day had been filled with a lot of sun and walking.  By around 5pm we were ready to call it a day.  We headed into Trapani, found our hotel and gladly checked in.  We were not, however, ready for the climb to our room. It was on the 3rd floor (4th by American standards) and no lifts.  The last flight of stairs was a small, tight spiral staircase.  Getting our bags upstairs was a challenge, but once we were there the reward was great!  Ai Lumi B&B had given us a small apartment with a private terrace overlooking the courtyard right in the middle of the quaint baroque center of town.

We pulled out a few munchies that we had with us and popped open one of the bottles of wine left in the apartment for us. We took our glasses and books out to the terrace where we relaxed and read until it was dark.  Ready for dinner we went downstairs tot he Ai Lumi Tavernetta for dinner.  We had a fabulous meal!  If you are ever in Trapani and want really really good food go to Ai Lumi!  On the plus side, if you stay at the B&B you get a 15% in the restaurant.  After dinner and all of the wine, we climbed our way back up to our room and crashed out for the night.  It was an awesome day!

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