Home » Lifestyle » Travel 2016: Day Eleven – Erice, Sicily: Feels Like Home

Travel 2016: Day Eleven – Erice, Sicily: Feels Like Home

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Our Silver Seas ship, the Silver Wind, docked in Trapani.

Our Silver Seas ship, the Silver Wind, docked in Trapani.

 

We docked this morning in Trapani, Sicily. Beautiful blue skies only added to our anticipation of exploring another new location. Today we were headed to Erice. We actually could have fit in two different locations but the scheduling would have been pretty tight. Instead, we opted to just stick with one excursion and have a more relaxed day.

Early afternoon, we boarded the bus and headed up the narrow winding roads to the top of Mount Erice. We had some pretty spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and of Trapani below us as we climbed.

 

The view of the Mediterranean as we climbed Mount Erice.

The view of the Mediterranean as we climbed Mount Erice.

 

Looking up towards the top of Mount Erice and our destination.

Looking up towards the top of Mount Erice and our destination.

 

Just outside the city’s walls stood the Chiese Madre (Main Church) greeting us. Originally built in 1312, it actually collapsed in 1853 and was immediately rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style.

 

Chiesa Madre against the clear blue sky.

Chiesa Madre against the clear blue sky.

 

Chiesa Madre.

Chiesa Madre.

 

We had the opportunity to spend some time inside the church and marvel at its majestic detail.

 

Inside the Chiesa Madre.

Inside the Chiesa Madre.

 

Close up of the altar in Chiesa Madre.

Close up of the altar in Chiesa Madre.

 

Intricate detail in the Chiesa Madre.

Intricate detail in the Chiesa Madre.

 

We entered the west end of Erice through the Porta Trapani, one of three entrances to the city. Erice has a long complicated history dating back to ancient times. The population here at the peak is only about 300. The city was all but abandoned by the year 1800; one of the reasons being the harsh winters.

 

The west entrance of Erice, Porta Trapani.

The west entrance of Erice- Porta Trapani.

 

There are a lot of Greek and Roman influences here. The biggest impression you get from the city is the quiet, quaint charm of it all. Even with thousands of tourists filling the streets, it remains a calm, peaceful place.

 

One of several dogs we past, lounging in the streets of Erice.

One of several dogs we past, lounging in the streets of Erice.

 

The simple, quaint charm of Erice.

The simple, quaint charm of Erice.

 

The bell tower of Chiesa di San Giuliano, Erice.

The bell tower of Chiesa di San Giuliano, Erice.

 

Our walk took us through the streets, slowly climbing upwards but not steep enough to really notice. We reached the Venus Castle, also known as Norman Castle, Torri Pepoli Castle or simply Erice Castle. The castle was built in the 12th century on top of the ancient Temple of Venus. In addition to the castle itself (now part of it is a resort hotel), you have the advantage of some of the best views in Erice.

 

Approaching Venus Castle.

Approaching Venus Castle.

 

Venus Castle.

Venus Castle.

 

A view of Sicily from the top of Mount Erice.

A view of Sicily from the top of Mount Erice.

 

The mighty fortress, Norman, or Venus Castle.

The mighty fortress: Norman, or Venus Castle.

 

The resort entrance at Venus Castle.

The resort entrance at Venus Castle.

 

Feels Like Home. At some point, Michael voiced what I was thinking, “How’d you like to live here?” A relatively peaceful, quiet, simple life- maybe not a very practical idea– but that’s just how Erice felt. Like home.

The first time I ever felt that way about a place, was in my 20’s in Greenwich Village, NYC. It was late at night, just a few days before Christmas. A light snow was falling and the city was quiet. I passed just a few people on the street and we all seemed to be enjoying the magic in the air. It just felt– right.

The next time I felt that was when Michael and I visited Stockholm a couple years ago. Strolling around the Stortorget (The Big Square), lined with brightly colored, centuries-old buildings.

It’s an incredible feeling when you find a place like that. It’s the ambience– more of a vibe than anything. Erice has that vibe. It’s sort of a fairy tale place.

 

Where the sea meets the sky.

Where the sea meets the sky.

 

Looking down on the Torretta Pepoli, part of Venus Castle.

Looking down on the Torretta Pepoli, part of Venus Castle.

 

A vendor stopped by the castle.

A vendor stopped near the castle.

 

Norman Castle is poised on top of the steep cliff.

Norman Castle is poised on top of the steep cliff walls.

 

We had time to wander the streets but our visit ended too soon. It was time to board the bus and wind our way back down Mount Erice to Trapani. We had Broadway stars waiting for us on the ship.

 

I'm waiting for the autograph session with the stars. (Photo by Mary T.)

I’m waiting for the autograph session with the stars. (Photo by Mary T.)

Autograph session. Every cruise, Playbill Travel creates a beautiful piece of frameable art that we can have signed by the Broadway performers on that trip.

For those of us (most of us) that don’t stalk the performers on the cruise, it’s an easy chance to say hi without feeling like you’re imposing.

I was disappointed though. Right before it started, we were told ‘no time for candid pictures and no conversations’– keep the line moving.

Seeing that this was the third time we’ve done these sessions– and the fact that the other two– moved quickly, even with photos and short conversations– I felt a little cheated.

I did sneak in a few pleasantries…. even if I didn’t get the chance for pictures.

 

Kate Baldwin.

Kate Baldwin.

Kate Baldwin in Concert. Another great concert tonight. This time, by the stunning Kate Baldwin.

She gave us an energetic and powerful mix of familiar and lesser-known Broadway songs from a wide variety of composers.

She has appeared on Broadway in Finian’s Rainbow, Giant and Big Fish. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Kate will star as Mrs. Malloy in Hello Dolly! with Bette Midler next spring.

 

Kate Baldwin.

Kate Baldwin.

 

Kate Baldwin during Broadway On the High Seas 7.

Kate Baldwin during Broadway On the High Seas 7.

 

Kate Baldwin in Concert.

Kate Baldwin in Concert.

 

From Home. Before bed, I checked Facebook for the day’s pictures from the boarding facility we use back home. They post daily so owners can see their pet children at play. The biggest drawback about a long vacation is missing the children. Belle and Dudley seem to be doing fine without us– a good thing– but I always wonder if they miss us as much as we miss them.

 

Belle on the left, Dudley second from the right.

Belle on the back left, Dudley second from the right.

 

Tomorrow we visit Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.


1 Comment

  1. Pat says:

    Wait till you get home and those two are all over you! You’re missed.

    Liked by 1 person

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