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      October 2012 > Marettimo – an island of thyme and time

Marettimo – an island of thyme and time

Self-guided walking holidays in SicilyTwo colleagues and I have just returned from a trip to Sicily, where we visited the hotels we use on our walking and cycling holidays there. We were accompanied by our lovely Italian colleague, Carla Lenzi, who acted as guide and translator. Several of our customers have commented on how arriving on the off-shore island of Marettimo for stay in the Egadi Island Apartments, is such a magical experience, and I must say, I have to agree.

The hydrofoil slowly made its way out of the harbour, leaving the bustling port of Trapani behind, though we were soon beyond the safety of its protective harbour walls. Suddenly, the diesel engine turbochargers gunned into life, like the roar of a jet engine, and we lurched forward, flying across the warm blue waters of the Mediterranean towards the fragrant Sicilian island of Marettimo.

It was a smooth crossing and, before we knew it, our destination appeared on the horizon, growing from an insignificant speck into a small green island, upon which we could soon discern a settlement of tightly packed whitewashed houses, window frames all painted blue, seemingly tumbling down the hillside towards the sea.

Self-guided walking holidays in Sicily On reaching the quay, a rough-shaven, smiling man waved us over and politely introduced himself as Fausto Gobbo, the very amiable owner of the Egadi Island Apartments where we were to stay. He was accompanied by his one-eyed Yorkshire Terrier called ‘Yorkie’, making us feel right at home.

Fausto quickly threw our bags onto his electric golf buggy and shot off, with Yorkie hot on his heels – while we enjoyed a leisurely amble through the picturesque and inviting village to reach our apartments. Here, we found our bags waiting by the entrance – lovingly guarded by Yorkie – though what struck me most was the almost overpowering scent of herbs that pervaded the warm afternoon air. It was like having your sense of smell suddenly turned up to maximum! Intoxicating…

As the sun began to set, we noticed a ruined castle dramatically highlighted on a distant headland peak, as if lit by its own celestial spotlight. No doubt, this would be our first port of call tomorrow – after all, we were convinced we’d find Rapunzel there, still waiting to be rescued.

<img align=In the meantime, we freshened up and strolled back into the village to seek out an elegant harbourside restaurant for dinner. The one we actually entered ‘boasted’ roughly-painted blue chipboard floors and sturdy plastic sheeted walls. Undeterred, we took our seats at a table, browsed the simple menu that consisted mainly of fish dishes, made our choices – and sat back and waited. What arrived was the most delicious fish bouillabaisse I’d ever tasted – containing succulent chunks of white fish, fresh octopus and juicy mussels – and accompanied by a very agreeable Trapani wine. There was little talk as we tucked into this unbelievably tasty stew, mopping up every drop of the rich sauce with freshly baked bread supplied by the only baker’s shop on the island. Simply divine!

It was still early as we left this unassuming eaterie and none of us were ready for bed. It is such an idyllic place, so we decided to go for a stroll along the seafront, the scent of thyme heavy in the evening air. Suddenly, we heard a slow ‘clip-clop’ coming towards us and a solitary brown horse loomed out of the dusky night. It seemed totally unconcerned by our presence, as it plodded on towards the village, shaking its head slowly at us as if letting us know we were going the wrong way. This is not a place to rush; time has no relevance here and a horse quietly making its way down the street beneath a star-lit sky seemed the most natural thing in the world.
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Posted: 26/10/2012 10:48:17 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: gastronomy, islands, Italy, nature, slow

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