Thanks to Ruth, who works in Volta in West Didsbury, for alerting us to Trapani and to the fact that you can now fly directly from Manchester. I don’t particularly want to promote the low-cost Irish airline we flew with, as they do tend to screw every last penny out of you, but it was a problem free flight and we landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule, therefore giving us an extra half hour in our beloved Italy.
Flying into Birgi airport opens up the whole of the west of Sicily, and being only 9okms south west of Palermo, could even be a better option for the north western coastline. It’s a small airport with not too many flights, so that just meant a quicker exit. Trapani is about 19kms up the coast – you can catch an hourly bus for about 4 euros, but we didn’t want to hang around, so for 30 euros got a taxi straight to the hotel. Given that we regularly pay near enough £20 to get back from Manchester airport to our West Didsbury house in a black cab, this didn’t seem too bad at all.
We were checked in by just before 10pm, giving us plenty of time to discover Trapani by night. We’d found Hotel Ximenes 12 online & booked it for its location and generally good reviews. One reviewer slated it because the bells of the cathedral, right outside were too loud. Another because there were no carpets on the stone internal stairs. Both good enough reasons for us to book it, because this meant it was an authentic building in the heart of town.
The room was basic, but more than adequate for a one night stay – and very clean. The hotel owners also own a travel company – handy to know if you are travelling onwards to the Egadi islands, as we were, and needed to book ferry tickets.
Trapani itself is the epitome of Siciliy. An ancient centre, with the most amazing and elaborate and beautiful municipal and religious buildings, all mixed in with others than would more than just a tickle to get them ship-shape. But still beautiful. Crumbling, a bit decayed but all with evidence of former glory & decadence. Then springing up too, a wealth of ubcer cool bars and eateries, fashioned out of the most basic and inventive designs. It’s actually very similar to old Corfu town, just on a smaller scale.
For just under 50 euros we ate the most simple, but magnificent meal Quatiere San Lorenzo, Corso Vittorio Emmanuele 30, 91100 Trapani. Pasta, but only as Italians can do it. White linen table cloths, heavy silver cutlery, twinkling tealights and all outside the cathedral on the main esplanande. A perfect first night back in our beloved Italy…