|After I returned from the dentist, it was time to meet the group for today's activities. The forecast for Trapani was pretty crummy - chilly and 70-80% chance of rain, so the guides decided to hire a bus that drove us south to the other side of Sicily. By doing short excursions (not really hikes), we would never be too far from shelter if it really began to pour. We did have some heavy rain (with lightning and thunder), but managed to avoid being out in it most of the time. It was cool and windy, so I was glad I had taken along a fleece hat and gloves. Our first stop was an abandoned quarry that now houses a small cheese factory, a nursery for landscape plants and a very friendly dog and donkey.
Our main destination for the day was a small city about an hour south of here, called Mazara del Vallo. Apparently they have the biggest fishing fleet in all of Italy. After the obligatory stop for coffee, we walked around the old portion of the town, which was originally established by Arabs, so it was like walking through the Casbah. Many streets were so narrow that we had to step into doorways when cars were coming. There were a couple of streets where they had to pull in their side view mirrors to avoid hitting the walls. There was amazing public artwork all over: tiles in the pavement, and interesting tile murals on the walls. Several had motifs that included the three major religions that had co-existed there - Islam, Judaism and Christianity. We also visited a small opera house that had just been restored. Lunch was late and large, though there were several items that didn't appeal to me at all. I just can't get used to all the calamari and small fish with heads and tails still on. Even tonight's dinner had a small whole octopus on the plate. When I see that, I tend to lose my appetite for anything else that's there. Guess I'm just not a very adventurous eater. Some of the participants love everything. Not me. At least the buffet breakfasts are good.
After lunch we stopped at a natural area that is funded by the World Wildlife Federation. Saw a few raptors, and some neat plants before dodging the rain, and heading back to Trapani to relax.