It was almost one year ago when I saw a picture from the island of Levanzo posted somewhere on the web and I just put it on my travel bucket list. I have been traveled a lot in Sicily but I was missing the northwest coast of the island, so i decide to spend my time exploring the city of Trapani, Marsala and the Egadi islands. It’s really easy to reach the city of Trapani, it’s good connected with North Italy, there is the low cost air company Ryanair and the tickets are really cheap. For me landing in Italy is like arriving home, I feel that I belong there and after lot of years living and traveling around this beautiful country it’s normal to have that feeling. So after two brioche and cappuccino I was ready to continue my trip from Bergamo to Trapani. September is nice period to travel in Sicily, first of all because there aren’t a lot of tourists and second because the weather is still perfect and not so warm like in July or august.
Once arrived on the airport of Trapani there is a bus to the center of Trapani that also stops in Marsala (it costs 4.90 euro one way). As I said before I have been traveling a lot in Sicily and always had problems with the transport, always late and slow, but now for the first time I saw that something was different here. The bus arrived on time and leave on time, omg I thought MIRACLE. Trapani is nice city, it’s small and it’s easy to see the city center in 2 or 3 hours. I suggest you to take a walk to the seaside eating gelato di pistacchio and enjoy. People in Sicily are really kind and warm, and behind every corner you will see smiling faces inviting you to have a dinner in their restaurant or bar. If you are looking for an accommodation in Trapani, there is something for everyone. Unfortunately there is no hostel accommodation, but still there are lot of cheap b&b around the port and near the center. For example in September you can find a single room from 25 euro up.
Trapani is a strategic point to stay if you want to visit the Egadi Islands and the salt flats. I decided to visit the salt flats near Marsala, if you also decide to do the same thing and If you are traveling by car it’s perfect and you shouldn’t have big problems, but if you are without car like me and my friend than you should be ready for a real adventure. The salt flats are especially amazing during the sunset, so we decide to spend our afternoon there. Of course before to go there we were reading on trip advisor how to arrive without car, because the salt flats are not so near to the city center and also we were speaking with the b&b owner, and he suggest us to take the train to Marsala, arrive there in 35 min (3.45 euro one way), take a walk in the city center and than take a bus to the salt flats, he was pretty sure that all the time there were buses going to the salt flats. So we decide to follow his advice and went to Marsala.
The historical part of Marsala was really nice, but our problem was that we arrived in wrong time, when everything was closed because of “pausa pranzo” time for lunch, so also the tourist information office was closed and we couldn’t get any information about how to arrive to the salt flats and where to catch the bus. After one hour walking around finally the tourist information office was open but we didn’t get some good news. Basically there were just 5 buses per day that are going to the salt flats and we missed almost all of them, there was just one at 18.30 that wasn’t so convenient for us. We thought to rent a bike, lot of people do that, the road is flat and you can arrive in one hour and also it’s not expensive, 7 euro half day, but the problem was the sun, it was really warm that day and we didn’t want to risk to get a sunburn. So our plan B was hitchhiking. I have already tried to hitchhike in Sicily few years ago and it was impossible but I wanted to try again. We were really lucky this time, in the first 10 min stopped two cars, the first one wasn’t going in our direction but the second one BINGO. (or maybe not)
There were two Sicilian guys in the car, at the first sign they were normal buuut after few minutes I understand that there was something wrong with them. I were really lucky that my friend was from Sicily and he was speaking Sicilian dialect, because almost all of the time the guys were speaking in sicilian. They asked me where I’m from, and when I said Macedonia, one of the guys said ahhh Macedonia, Albania, I said no, Macedonia, we are neighbors with Albania, and he was like yes yes Albania near Lybia. Hmmm ok I wasn’t in the mood to have a geography lesson with him. After that they continue to speak in Sicilian dialect, and the only words that I was understanding were mafia, marijuana, some strange names of some people. I swear that I was feeling like in a Sicilian movie. We were lucky because we needed to travel with them just 10km. During the way on the road there was a beach with some people there and the guy who was driving just open all the windows from the car and put some hard Italian hip hop to the maximum volume. OMG the same morning under my hotel someone was doing the same and I was so pissed off asking which normal person could do that, and now it was happening again and I was in the car, it was totally crazy! Thanks God it lasted only few minutes and after the guy continue to speak in some normal Italian language saying that he loves all the women but he can’t understand them, started to tell us about his story with a married woman which husband was living 10 000 km from there. I must admit it was nice adventure, the trip without adventures it’s a boring trip. So finally we arrived at our destination, “Le Saline di Ettore e Infersa”, something amazing, there were all this salt flats and three windmill and you can also visit one of them, with 8 euro you can go inside of the windmill and than go out touch the salt and walking around. The best place to watch the sunset is the bar Mamma Caura where for only 5 euro you can have a nice aperitivo.
The second day we decide to go to the Egadi Islands. There are three islands Levanzo, Favignana and Marettimo. But in one day we decided to visit just Levanzo and Favignana, despite what lot of people told us that Marettimo is the most beautiful.
From the port of Trapani you can take the fast boat aliscaffo and arrive to Favignana in 35 min, the price one way is around 10 euro. But there is another company where you can take the normal boat that is slower and the price is cheaper for 3-4 euro. The weather that day was really nice and sunny so we decide to explorer the island by bike. Rent a bike for all day costs 8 euro. The island of Favignana is not so big, but there is one part with mountains and another one almost flat. The most beautiful beaches to see were on the flat part. I suggest you to see the Cala rossa and Cala azzura. Exploring the island by bike was the best decision we’ve made. It was simply amazing, small island, from one side wild nature from the other side beaches with crystal clear water. You can stop wherever you want, swim and than again on the road with your bike. In the middle of the nowhere on the road there were some kiosks selling fresh juice, some food and water. We saw half of the island in a half day and after the lunch we went to the island of Levanzo, 10 min by boat from Favignana (4.70 euro one way).
The island of Levanzo was exactly as I saw it on the picture one year ago, i couldn’t believe that i was there. This small fishing village with white houses and blue windows it’s perfect for those who love to photography. Secret corners, local kids enjoying the sea in front of their houses, women sitting in backyards making some handmade stuff while their husbands were fishing around with their small colorful boats. Everything was calm and relaxed, also the cats we saw were so relaxed and they were sleeping behind the bikes, on the chairs, under the tables. After this long and nice day spend on the islands we went back to Trapani and getting ready for the last day trip to the medieval town of Erice. From Trapani you can take the cable car and in 15 min you are there.(9 euro go and back, take a return ticket, the owner of our hotel suggest this, because once you go up and in case the cable car doesn’t work to go down they will organize you a transport to take you down). The panoramic view from Erice is just amazing. In Erice you must visit the oldest pastry shop La pasticceria Maria Grammatico where you will eat the best Genovesi ever. And during your stay in Sicily don’t forget to eat gelato, granita di pistacchio, frutta martorana, dolci siciliani, pane, pasta and put on some weight
And remember the words of Goethe : “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.”
After Sicily my trip continued to Torino and Venice. Torino is another city that has a special place in my heart, but i will tell you more about Torino in some future post. However it was amazing going back there, see my old friends, eat some typical food, visit my old favorite place and discover some new spots. From Torino I was traveling to Mestre, Venice. There I had another adventure trying to find my hotel I ended up in a zone with prostitutes that didn’t know any word in italian and than when I finally find my hotel I realized that it was some strange ghetto hotel, but i survived.
The last day of my trip was dedicated to the island of Burano in Venice. One hour by vaporetto from the main train station. The island wasn’t crowded at all like Venice. This small island was like a fairy tale, colorful houses everywhere, boats and canals. You must taste the traditional sweets “Buranei”.
In the end Frecciabianca brought me back to Milano from where I catch the bus to the airport of Bergamo. I needed to pass the night there and I was lucky because I found a good company. I met a really nice and interesting italian guy who was also waiting on the airport to go home. We had long conversation about traveling and in general about our lives, basically I told him everything about my life, my problems and my future plans, we were so into the conversation that for five hours we didn’t have time to say our names. It helps a lot sometimes to have a conversation with a stranger (in the night)