Published on March 23, 2012 | by Andrea Guerriero0
A boat trip around Egadi Islands – I
The arrival at Trapani airport is always very exciting. Ever since my old friend Mauro moved to Favignana nearly ten years ago, at least two or three times a year we land at Birgi and… truly feel like home. Yet before touching the ground, while we’re flying over the Egadi Islands, Marettimo, Favignana, and Levanzo, the scent of Favignana style Pasta, with almonds, tomatoes and basil, reaches us up in the sky of Sicily.
This time, however, our tour of the Egadi Islands is different from the usual. We generally run to Favignana and there we settle. This time, instead, we have opted for a boat tour around the Aegadian Islands. Our excitement is exactly the same, so we avoid taking the bus from Birgi Airport to the Port of Trapani (which takes about an hour) and call Pisciotta instead, our trusted taxi driver (+39 330.970580), who takes all 5 of us (6 with him ) directly on the dock in about twenty minutes, for 30 Euros.
Daniele is the only one experienced in sailing. The rest of us (Marco, 2 Paolo and I) will serve as ballast and act as ship-boys. We spend the afternoon wandering the streets of Trapani. After a ‘frugal’ lunch at the trattoria Poseidone, on Via Duca d’Aosta (a great deal of couscous with fish) we take a relaxing nap on the shores of the east. In the evening, just (…) an “impepata di cozze” (a delicious mussel based dish,) boiled octopus and white Inzolia wine (to get into the spirit ) and then, straight to bed early at Residence La Gancia.
Day 1 – Trapani – Marettimo
The sailboat is a 9.70, it seems large but it’s actually not, as we’re all big boys. We leave at 10, and we feel like Moby Dick, Captain Ahab, and even Sepulveda from “The world at the end of the world“. In other words, we are just a bit worried, like any city dweller away from his own place. But it is also immediately party and beers (at sea, mornings and afternoons are the same) with Daniele, who is already playing his role, shouting and giving orders. And we mock him openly. Marettimo is the furthest of the Egadi islands from Trapani. We get there at dusk, a bit cooked by the sun of May, but now in the spirit of expert sailors. Our first stop is of course at Enzo’s, right in the port, for an aperitif that will last all night long. This is the classic “Egadi happy hour,” looks like we better get re-used to it right away.
Day 2 – Marettimo and its grottos
The next morning we decide to explore the grottos of Marettimo, wonderful places surrounded by a wonderful sea. The most famous of them is the Grotta del Cammello, but in our tour we also decide to dive close to the Grotta del Presepio, the Grotta Bombarda (so called due to the rumbling noise of the sea in the gorge) and the Grotta Berciata. The day goes by too fast, enjoying sandwiches, beer, sun and sea. In the evening, we toss the coin to choose the restaurant in Marettimo where we’re going to have dinner: the restaurant Pirato is eventually the winner, at the Scalo Vecchio.
Day 3 – Marettimo: the path from Punta Troia to the Castle
The day starts late, maybe because the boat rocks you to sleep or because the Grecale wine we drank the night before was very, very good. We decide to leave the boat and take a walk on the path that leads from Punta Troia to the Castle. After decades of neglect, the old Saracen tower has been restored and has become a watching point to observe the monk seal and also a convention center. Our walk is not exactly… effortless, we need special shoes, and perhaps, if we had drunk less of that Grecale, it would be easier. But in the end, sweaty and happy in the sun, we manage to reach the top and enjoy … a couple of boiling beers and slices of Pecorino cheese. Downhill in the afternoon is easier, and again the idea of putting our legs under a table … puts wings on our feet.
Our Tour around the Egadi Island is only at the beginning! Keep free for next Friday: we are going to discover the amazing Levanzo and Favignana Islands and their restaurants as well! Stay tuned
Photo by Michele Testini