CASTELVETRANO TO TRāPANI
The first adventure was with the train system in Sicily. It took 4 trains, 2 conductors, and a gaggle of schoolgirls to get me from Palermo to Castelvetrano. The above gentleman waited at Palermo Nothobranche Stazione with a quiet dignity which created an air of peace around him. I think he was on to my photo-snapping though.
I spent the first night outside of Castelvetrano in a secluded field surrounded by high walls, then hiked into town the next morning for supplies. I managed to find the town square where fruit and vegetable vendors were setting up for the day, and there was a bakery and a "supermarket" (about the size of a 7-11) nearby. I bought pizza and bananas for breakfast, and stocked up on fresh bread, nutella (kind of like our peanutbutter but with chocolate), tomatoes, persimmons, oranges, figs, cheese, crackers, pistachios, cookies, and water, in addition to the dry goods I'd brought from home.
As I headed out of town, I asked directions to Lago del Trinitā a few kilometers out of town, a dammed lake where my trek was to really begin. A young workman gave me good directions and I set off down the road. He called after me, "č lontano qua!" [it's a long way there!]. Little did he know....
Here is where I found open countryside and began to walk with compass in hand, choosing farm paths, dirt roads, crossing through fields, whatever took me northwesterly or looked pleasant. As I sat here eating lunch, I heard the distant tinkling of bells. A shepherd had brought his flock down to the lake below for a drink.
This was a very typical scene in the area of Castelvetrano. Vineyards and olive groves were everywhere, and dotted amongst them were old abandoned buildings, deserted after the 1986 earthquake. There were hundreds of these buildings scattered throughout the countryside. They made for convenient shelter overnight, although few still had functional roofs.
This one looked like an ancient castle. As far as I could tell, no one lived there but it was probably in use for farm equipment storage. Most of the houses looked rather much worse, such as these:
This area was the prettiest and most dramatic of the whole trek. From high ridges I could see all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. There were no occupied houses at all, just wide open farmland in every direction. Once or twice I came upon farmers in the fields, but mostly I had it to myself.
Here is an example of the sort of roads I followed:
Sometimes it looked very dry and barren, as above, and sometimes it looked lush and productive, as below:
As night approached, I looked around for a little house to shelter me. I found this one:
It did rain that night and unfortunately the roof was not equal to the task. I had not set up the tent and ended up sleeping in my rain gear on an old cot that had been left behind. I was quite comfortable though.