Continuing with our habit of doing as much as we can until the sun goes down, and then looking for a hotel nearby. After leaving Palermo, we ended up in these odd little self-contained concrete igloos (which they call bungalows). A little chilly inside, but I can imagine in the heat of the summer months, it would be divine. Oh, and it was only €40 a night.
It was so nice to wake to the sound of birds, and to step outside into sunshine and be surrounded by greenery. I’d never realised how much this was missing from my life in London.
Tonnara di Scopello
Before going to the beach at San Vito Lo Capo, we popped in to Tonnara di Scopello, a historic tuna fishing estate in an idyllic bay just a short drive north of where we stayed. We parked just outside the property, paid the €3 entrance fee, and waddled down the steep hill to the waterfront. The sun was shining, and the skies were clear. We got changed into our swimwear, but the sunshine felt hollow, and there was a cold breeze. We braved our feet into the water. It wasn’t quite Siberian levels of cold, but it was far removed from what I would normally swim in (and what I would expect from Mediterranean waters).
It was, however, impossibly beautiful – the water, the bay and the romantic buildings. I’m not at the stage where I’m ready to dedicate a vacation to lazing by the water reading a book, but if I was, this place would be a dream. There are rooms available in this estate – however it was well above our budget, even during the current off-peak months. We lazed on the boat ramp, in a state between blissful warmth, and goose bumps with the breeze.
San Vito lo Capo
Even though it was only several kilometres to San Vito Lo Capo as the crow flies, it was going to take an hour to get there with the amount of detour we’d have to take. We passed a few other amazing bays on the way, one of which looked like a caravan park with all of the parked up campervans along the shoreline. And, with views like this, I couldn’t blame them – especially as it seemed to be free to camp here.
The towns in this area were different. Newer, and much, much wider. We were still as confused about how parking worked in Sicily, but took our chances amongst the dozens of other cars in what looked like 24/7 tow-away zones. It was only mid-April (a good two months before summer), but already the beaches were filled with umbrellas and beach chairs. We turned down the offers, and went for a walk along the shore. The water was perfectly clear, and the sand was also surprisingly fine, making a beautiful beach. Oh yeah, and then there was the view of the mountain looming large above all, really setting this beach apart from others.
The water wasn’t much warmer, but the sun felt warmer, and the wind was less gusty, so we actually braved a swim! Well, as much as we could given how shallow the waters were – and given I was paranoid about leaving my camera unattended on the beach, I didn’t want to venture too far away.
I let Risa treat herself to a nice lunch, since we’d made do with a cheap breakfast. We ended up at U Sfizziusu, which like everything else in Sicily, was a seafood restaurant – which suited Risa perfectly. I settled for a simple (though delicious pasta), but Risa got this enormous seafood soup! There was half a lobster, several king prawns, mussels, clams, squid, and other treats – and all for €25. The photos don’t quite do justice as to how large this dish was – I’d guess at least 30-40cm in diameter!
With her in a food coma, we did our best to catch the last of the afternoon sun in another historic, hilltop village called Erice. We’d timed it well as most visitors were starting to leave, so we had no problems with parking – once I’d been able to get change for the ticket machine.
These historic towns were starting to feel a little similar, however there was still enough charm and hidden alleys to keep us motivated. The main streets were just a little too decorated with advertising to really enjoy – but I get that they need to make a living, too.
The wind up on this rocky plateau was intense, but was worth battling with for the views out over where we’d been earlier today.
Many of the attractions were already shut (or hadn’t opened), but we made a quick visit into the Venus Castle – so named for the Cult of Venus that was said to have practised there in ancient times. There wasn’t a great deal to see inside, with pretty limited ruins, however there was something about this place that really appealed to me. The panels with the history were engaging, which really helped the imagination.
Plus, the views!
We wandered a little longer/deeper, but we found the rewards were diminishing rapidly, so after re-treading the same main streets several times, we made our way south – as far as we could towards Agrigento before it was too dark/late.