How had Friday, the end of our week here, arrived so hastily? And with it came the sadness of farewells to people and place, but also the excitement of embarking for Chiusa Scalfani, the hometown of Sal's father. Arrivedercis taken care of with promises of "la prossima volta in Texas", we left Rosanna, Greta, and Alessandro to enjoy their day on the beach while we made our way inland.
The journey to Chiusa Scalfani was extended by an hour more than planned...thank you, GPS...but did afford us magnificent views of the remote inland of Sicily. Hardly another car passed opposite as we followed narrow highways that snaked and climbed through extensive, rolling countryside punctuated by fields, vineyards, and olive groves. Towns were only occasional, appearing like earth-toned blankets draped casually across sloping hillsides.
Pass the salt, please.
Really now...where would we be without salt?? Considered a necessary condiment in our day and age, its value rivaled gold in pre-refrigeration days. The history of salt as a religious, commercial, and monetary element is fascinating! However, I'll spare you the reading unless you choose....but this little article is worth its salt (ahem) to any fellow factoid nerds.
Here's the story of our salty encounter in Trapani...
The trajectory for this day took us due west to the coastal areas of Trapani, a broad expanse of flat, marshy terra cradled by the Mediterranean and her high salinity. History abounds here, like in most of Italy, but uniquely so due to the importance this area once held (and still holds, just in smaller proportion) as a major producer of sea salt. Add to that the once strategic location of the harbor, and these salt flats have historically been a valuable peace of real estate.
Trapani's belly also nurtures several salt mines, but there is an indisputable quality found in good sea salt, and the culinary demand remains strong.
Blessed with yet another morning of robin egg blue skies tickled by warm fingers of breeze, the little harbor seemed to shout a hearty Buon giorno to our gang of 6 as we strolled toward the dock that berthed our awaiting vessel.
The evening before we'd booked an excursion up and down the coast on the motonave Penelope (pronouced Pehn-neh-low-peh in proper Sicilian), a motorized catamaran whose mission was to haul tourists up and down the coastal waterways of northwestern Sicily.
Captained by a crusty but kind ol' feller and first-mated by a burly Sicilian who looked like he stepped right out of a Popeye cartoon, we obeyed captain's orders and boarded efficiently. My first impression was more along the lines of "Uh oh...crowded tourist boat and that's about it...", but fortunately I was at least partially wrong. It was a bit crowded, and we were all tourists; however, the coastal views we would be treated to as we navigated the steely blue waters west rated five-star spectacular.
Paula A. Reynolds
Lover of travel and life's many other blessings!