Up and Coming Trapani
First impressions of Trapani aren't overexciting. Arriving by bus, the surrounds are a bit soulless but the centre has broad boulevards, a wonderul park, lots of lush palm trees and of course, the harbour and the Old Town. Coming from Castellammare del Golfo, I'd become attuned to small-town life so I had to remind myself that I wanted to see some of Sicily's urban life as well as picture-perfect locations. Trapani was full to the brim with visitors, most of them, like ourselves, trapped by the Volcanic Ash cloud. The Tall Ships were in port and could not move on again until new crew members arrived. Internet cafes were jammed with people making elaborate and crazy travel plans and swapping traveller's tales.
Our first ( and second) evening was spent in the internet cafe near the tall Ships, sorting out what we would do for the next four days. I have to admit that at that point , I hadn't considered staying on in Trapani but this was a decision made before I explored properly. After one whole day there I felt quite differently about the place but at that stage we'd booked a hotel in Cefalu and were intent on moving on.
Trapani has an absolutely stunning and spectacular Old Town. Between the port and the beach, it's a real cornucopia of architectural splendours.These are some of the most beautiful streets I've had the pleasure of walking through and I can't recommend it highly enough. It was also here that we were lucky enough to take part in the annual fishermen's procession as they carried the monumental statue of their patron saint through the narrow streets. This was a really moving and dramatic occasion that we felt honoured to observe but I'd never have known about it if an old man at the beach (who saw me taking photos), hadn't put a word in my ear. I'd been at the tourist office earlier and they hadn't mentioned it. I was also lucky enough to bump into a local woman with excellent English who explained everything that was going on to me.
"The much-maligned beach"
I read such bad things about the beach in Trapani that if I hadn't stumbled across it I wouldn't have bothered looking for it. Okay, so it's not a beach with parasols and loungers but there is a long strip of sand - with a row of old houses on the road behind it - extending in a semicircle right to the edge of the city. At the city end, going in through a gate from the old town, there's a very picturesque rocky area, going out to an old tower, where you can climb and paddle and enjoy the colourful boats. We spent a lot of time admiring the sea in Sicily but I can honestly say, that no-where was the sea as blue or as wild as in Trapani. It was wonderful and the colours, truly inspiring. I don't know what they do with this beach in Summer but I have to say that I loved it just as it was in April.