Sunday, December 09, 2007

Leaving Trapani

We left Trapani on a cold and wet morning to go to Palermo, from there to catch another train for Catania for one last time. We'll be leaving Sicily the way we came, through Fontanarossa airport in Catania. The train was late because some of the tracks were flooded. The tracks hug the coast for most of the trip back to Palermo. These are pictures taken from the train , some while the train was moving, others while it stopped. We were to miss an earlier connection that would get us into Catania an hour sooner. That train would have taken us through the interior, instead we had to take the train that took us to Messina and from there to transfer to another train for Catania. It was after 8 pm when we got to our hotel, they had already sold our room. Of course they didn't say that, they told me I didn't have a reservation in spite of the email they sent confirming my reservation. Anyway they referred us to another hotel up the street.
We met a few other tourists on the train, Swedish guy who is also going to Catania, he was going to take the bus when he reached Palermo but decided the train would be more comfortable. He's been visiting Sicily for a long time to photograph it, he's a photogragher. This is his first leisure trip to the island and he brought no camera. Nice guy.
There's German guy from Hamburg, initially he was stopping in Palermo but changed his mind. In Palermo he bought a ticket to continue on to Catania. He said 50 years ago when he was 10, his parents took him to Catania. I hope I don't wait 50 years before I return to Sicily.
There's this elderly English couple, really jolly couple, they're fun to watch. I hope to be traveling still at their age, 70+?
What got me talking to German guy was the scallop shell on his backpack. I asked is he'd been a pilgrim on the camino Santiago de Compostela? He said, yes, he's walked the camino 3 times from various starting points in France. I said, I trained for the camino and wanted to walk it one year but changed my mind. I did go to visit the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and also the village in France, St Jean pied de port, where most people start walking from. My boots were still wet, I took them off in the train and I asked what boots he wore on the camino, he happened to have them with him and he showed them to me. The insides is also leather, not like mine which is fabric. The leather repels water and the inside stay dry. The fabric in mine took 2 days to dry even after I tried to dry them with a hair dryer.
The night before I had to wear those wet boots to dinner. It was a Sunday night and nothing was opened, just a few cafes. I was going to find something to eat at one of the cafes but Sophie made me walk some more. It was raining and I was miserable. She said, 'just up ahead and round the corner, if there's no restaurant, then we'll eat at a cafe.' We turned the corner and saw up ahead, red lights and Chinese lanterns and lo and behold, a Chinese restaurant and they were opened. We had a great meal, met some nice Chinese people living in Trapani, (they're everywhere).
German guy had a cough and I gave him my cough medicine. I had a cough when I started the trip, there's these great cough medicine in the form of strips that dissolve in your mouth. Being a pharmacist, I'm also a traveling pharmacy. It stopped his cough.
We all went our separate ways after we reached Catania. We met jolly English couple at the train station the next morning, they were waiting for their train to take them to Rome. They told us, they all stayed in the same hotel, Swedish guy left Catania the next morning. German guy rented a car and is going to explore Sicily by car.
It was our last day in Catania and Sicily, we were to go to Paris after that.

No comments: