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Friday, July 20, 2007

Sensational Sicily 2007

It didn’t take long for Sicily to work her magic on us.  Our first port of call was the enchanting town of Trapani on the west coast.  The town dock where we tied up was a bit scruffy but we soon fell in love with this bustling Italian town with its distinct Arab influence.  We loved the amazing food, the wonderful pottery, fantastic clothes and the colourful and animated people.
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We biked all over Trapani exploring far and wide.  One day we took a bus to the foot of Mt Giuliano and caught the cable car to the tiny Aragonese town of Erice at the top. It was wonderful to wander the cobbled streets, explore the ancient castle and enjoy panoramic views over Trapani and to Marsala further down the coast. 
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We stayed a week in Trapani and only left because we were worried about our weight……we’d discovered Angelo’s – an amazing patisserie right behind Bandit.  Every night David would visit and return with a beautifully boxed and disgustingly rich dessert.  Time to go!
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From Trapani we worked our way around the north coast.  One night as we were anchored in lovely Castellamare David happened to read the town was (and still is) a mafia stronghold on Sicily.  Close to Palermo, it was where so many of the mafia dons holed out.  We loved Castellamare and felt very safe there.  The local markets were an absolute job with an abundance of fresh produce as well as the delicious Italian cheeses, olives, oils and cured meats.
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Marlborough friends Helen and Zak Ensor were flying into Palermo so we found a safe anchorage at nearby Terrasini to await their arrival.  We anchored off the town in crystal clear water and enjoyed a late afternoon swim.  Shortly after we’d gone to bed a dreadful smell enveloped Bandit and we quickly realised that our delightful anchorage was in fact the outlet for the town sewer which was released each night!  Needless to say, our morning swim was off!
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We loved the north coast of Sicily especially the Capo Gallo nature reserve where we picked up a free mooring for the night.  Swimming was not great as once again we were plagued with nasty jellyfish.
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Onto Cefalu, perhaps one of the prettiest towns on the north coast.  We anchored off the marina and walked into the delightful town and once again, just loved exploring and soaking up the wonderful Italian atmosphere. First time visitors to Italy,  Helen and Zak loved it.
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Perhaps the best known and definitely most picturesque town on Sicily is Taormina, on the north east coast.  With its sweeping views over to smoking Mt Etna, ancient Roman ruins and amazing position high on the hills overlooking the sea, Taormina really is spectacular. 
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The only downside is the exposed anchorage which is affected by swell and is constantly rolly.  We wanted to enjoy Taormina as much as possible but after three nights of constant rolling and not much sleep we couldn’t take any more.
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We headed for the mainland coast of Italy where we spent a couple of nights anchored near Crotone in Calabria waiting for a weather window for an overnight passage to Corfu in the Greek Ionian Islands.

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