Tuesday, 10 July 2012
HORIZON Part 4
HORIZON Part 4
Thursday 31st May 2012
What a glorious scene unfolded as we sailed into Trapani, in Sicily, soon after 7 a.m. The sea was blue and calm and the sky blue and clear.
A small fortress was on our left as we turned and entered the harbour, and suddenly an ancient small city was ahead of us, seemingly on an isthmus of land. We turned again to come alongside, and could see local ships of Ustica Lines and tiny vessels nearby. Swallows circled the bell towers and domes, swooping in the early morning heat above the tiled roofs. A ferry left the harbour, heading for a nearby island, the sun shimmered over the salt pans and we were soon tied up alongside. We soon realised that we are probably the biggest cruise ship that can tie up alongside in Trapani.
I have never been to this port before and it looks so beautiful, with the early morning mist still visible against the distant mountains, so I am looking forward to the day here. There are so many benefits to cruising on interesting ships, and I think one of them is visiting various ports and spending time ashore. Often this can lead to returning to spend time and learn more about a particular destination.
Here in Trapani we disembarked and set off on a walking tour of this part of the city, starting with the tiny garden square with its Welcome sign on the outside and small stage set in one corner inside, just opposite the port gate.
Nearby was a sign on a wall, which most of us read as one thing, but in fact was something else. I think my photograph says it all!
The walk continued along the waterside, along to the railway station, and towards the big wooded park. We stopped for coffee at a pavement café near the park entrance, which we realised was next to the Trapani Offices of the Anti Mafia Investigation people. Heading back in yet another direction we enjoyed seeing more of the ancient city, with the sea on two sides. Buildings seen from the ship were suddenly viewed from ground level, although we didn’t venture along the street directing us to the Church of Purgatory. One small shop had a poster with an aerial view of Trapani which gave us a better idea of the area.
Some of us had to try the local cuisine before heading back to the ship to prepare for sailing at 6 p.m.
From about 5.30 p.m. there was the usual announcement asking if so and so from cabin so and so was on board, and to contact Reception if they were. These announcements continued for some and those of us on deck before 6 p.m. sailing time began to look around the port area for signs of activity. Well, there were signs of activity, but from an unexpected quarter: the ferry SIMONE MARTINI had arrived back into the harbour and needed to reverse into the space right under our bow from our port side! She started to do this and we could see her edging ever closer.
On our starboard (quay) side there came the sight of a couple of people walking calmly along towards the ship, apparently with all the time in the world. They climbed the gangway and disappeared into the ship out of our sight, and that was at 1 minute before sailing. As a friend said, technically they were on board before official sailing time.
Minutes later HORIZON was moving fast, sideways away from the quay; the ferry disappeared from sight under our bow and in no time was tying up at the quay. We had some good close up views of her and other vessels as we left the harbour.
Trapani is certainly a port I will remember for several reasons.
Ships seen: Gianni Morace, Simone Martini, Catania of Grimaldi, Mantegna, Natalie M, Cossyra, Laura, Diego Morace, Tiziano, Paolo Veronese, Ettore M
To be continued....