Thursday, December 06, 2007


Erice is an ancient city, on a mountain high above Trapani. What remains is a medieval village, the Erice of antiquity is no longer present. It was Sunday when we went to Erice, we rushed through breakfast at our hotel, the Ai Lumi and walked the 15 minutes to the bus stop which is right next to the train station, there was a bus going to Erice at 9am. It went up a winding road high above Trapani, the view from the top was incredible, the sea was rough because a storm was brewing, the vegetation was lush, the city of Trapani was spread out on the valley floor below and the surrounding mountains were rugged, very beautiful. After an hour we reached Erice, it was misty and wet because it was drizzling. Erice is famous for its mists which gives it an added air of mystery. It already has a mysterious feel to it without the mists. It was quite deserted, no one was about this Sunday morning, the tour buses hasn't arrived yet, just the city bus which we came up on. It is a small village to begin with, the residents are mostly weekenders. We wander through narrow and winding alleys, looked through pretty courtyard, saw the shops that sold knick knacks, viewed the medieval churches and took pictures. It was supposed to be a lazy morning. The tour buses started arriving and the town had more people on its streets.
Just then the sky opened up and it poured, the rain was pelting down and the wind was blowing. We could hardly see in front of us. We tried to leave and get to the bus stop to take the next bus back to Trapani. We walked back and forth but couldn't find our way down to the bus stop, we tried to stop a few people to ask the way, they ignored us because they too were in a hurry to get out of the rain. By this time we were scared and totally wet through, there wasn't a dry spot on us, we were soaked through and through. Finally we cornered this guy, he tried to tell us where the bus stop is but he spoke no English, then he gestured us to get into his new BMW and he drove us to the bus stop. Phew! We both thought we were going to die in Erice, huddled together and just steps from the bus stop.
The bus stop offered no shelter but there was a public toilet in the parking lot and that was where we waited for an hour for the next city bus to take us back to Trapani. We were a sight, like two wet rats.
Back in Ai Lumi, we changed into dry clothes and I tried to dry my boots with a hair dryer. Sophie brought a second pair of shoes, I didn't. We spent the rest of the day in the hotel. If it didn't rain, we would be going to Segeste. So we missed Segeste. Maybe next time.The tourists had their tour buses waiting for them. It was there for one second I wished I was following a guided tour, only one second, the feeling soon passed. I like the way I travel, I'm not taking a guided tour. I make up my own plan and itinerary.

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