Monthly Archives: October 2019

Sicily day 4, discovering the Salt Road and wine tasting

After breakfast we drove along the winding scenic road to the sea. We visited the Salt Road and its Salt Pans, located on the coast between Trapani and Marsala. Here, locals extract salt from the sea water, following the same procedures used by the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians who once colonized this part of Sicily. Once extracted from the water and dried, the salt is heaped into mounds and covered in tiles- just like the ones used on house roofs- so that it won’t get melted by rain before it is packed. We were lucky, they hadn’t covered the salt yet so we got to see the glistening white mounds.  The pink flamingos were busy fishing in the shallow pools.

We took a short boat ride from the salt flats to a small island where we enjoyed a leisurely walk to view the archaeological site. The beautiful island was settled by early Carthaginians. The excellent Museo Whitaker holds a wealth of artifacts beautifully displayed! Some ladies found a place to sit under the olive trees for cover from the hot sun. It’s a warm one today.

We continued on the the city of Marsala and had some free time to enjoy lunch and take a stroll around the town. We had a delicious lunch and refreshing apreol spritz drinks at Osteria Trinacria.  Unfortunately the shops are closed for siesta but the magnificent cathedral was open so  I took a peek inside.

This afternoon we visited Pellegrino, one of Marsala’s historic wineries where we enjoyed a tour of the facilities and the ancient “bottaia”  to learn about Marsala wine and tasted the fabulous dessert wines. The winery had some beautiful ornately carved antique carts which nowadays are only used in parades. They also have some very unique names for their wines.
Upon our return some of us set out to find a dessert that has Zibibo in the centre, it’s one of the local dessert wines. We managed to get lost in the small town of Erice and the 2 minute walk to the pastry shop took 20 minutes.  It was a fun adventure and worth it to taste the yummy treat.  Another fabulous dessert shop is the world famous Maria’s, a must visit if you go to Erice. On our way back to the hotel we came upon our friends. They invited us to join them for cocktails on the rooftop patio.

This evening we had a fabulous dinner at the Michelin rated Ristorante Monte San Giuliano.

Steps taken today 18,572

Overnight: Elimo Hotel

Sicily day 3, tour Segesta temple and town of Erice

This morning we leave beautiful Palermo and enjoy a scenic drive to Erice, our next stop for a couple of nights.Along the way we visited the impressive Segesta Temple. As the major Greek city in western Sicily, ancient Segesta was besieged and conquered by Dionysius and Agathocles, and eventually fell to the Romans. Here we saw the haunting Doric temple, dating from the fifth century BC. Although never completed, it is in an excellent state of preservation, and commands a majestic setting from its position on the hill.

After visiting the hilltop amphitheater and enjoying the breathtaking views, we hiked up to the impressive ancient temple.

We continued to Erice, a wonderful and mysterious medieval town made famous in ancient times as the birthplace of Venus. The ancient town is located on top of a mountain. We had to leave the bus and walk up to our hotel.  After dropping off our bags at reception we took a lunch break.  We had our first pizza at  Il Casale Ericino. Mine had hot salami, tomatoes, garlic and peccorino cheese. Delicious!

After lunch we enjoyed a walking tour of Erice.  We walked through the cobblestoned streets of the town, smelling a variety of aromas emanating from the numerous pastry shops for which Erice is famous. 

We also visited the Norman Castle and the Duomo in the historic city centre. The scenery of the expansive valley leading to the sea is absolutely breathtaking. I love this charming little town!

After our walk around town we checked into the Elimo Hotel. Our rooms are small but charming and the views from the rooms range from impressive rooftops, narrow cobblestone streets and some have a view of the bell tower.

This evening we had dinner at the hotel. The view of the valley below is stunning and the food amazing. Our menu was Pasta Alla Norma topped with fresh peccorino ricotta, Swordfish encrusted in bread crumbs and delicious caneli for dessert.

Some of the ladies went for an evening stroll to walk off the dinner. It was a bit cool due to the elevation and it was misty as we are high enough up to be in the clouds.

27Sept19 Number of Steps taken today 16,853

Overnight: Elimo Hotel


Sicily tour day 2, Monreale Cathedral, Street food lunch, Palermo walking tours

This morning we visited Monreale, a famous Arab-Norman Cathedral and Cloister, the pinnacle of art for this period in Sicily.  Stunning architecture showing the layers of civilization that created this magnificent beauty.

We returned to the city and began our walking tour through the narrow winding streets of Palermo and through the colourful local market.

After working up an appetite we were introduced to Sicilian cuisine. We visited one of the city’s historic markets and enjoyed a street food lunch where we tasted some of Palermo’s most typical foods, such as panelle and pane con la milza.

After our very tasty lunch we continued our walking tour of Palermo. Charming narrow streets, beautiful buildings. We visited the cathedral which was once a Pagan temple, then converted to a Mosque, then a church and the bishop commissioned  and then the catholic bishop added the dome. 

We stopped at Cappadonia Gelati to taste some of the best gelato in Palermo. We are definitely going to eat our way through Sicily. The food and treats are amazing! Continuing our tour we visited an incredible Baroque church built in the 18th century. There is a cloister attached to the church. The nuns that live here that make some tasty desserts to sell to the people.

26Sep19 Number of steps taken today 12,397

Overnight: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa, Palermo