I seem to be gearing up for a full Trapani report in the strangest way – first the pictures, now these peculiar observations. If you’re looking for Trapani information, including where to eat and traveling around the area, please check back and/or do a word search for “Trapani” in the window on the home page. I gotta get this out of my system, though!
Join me after the jump for things I noticed, and can probably be explained by someone who knows way more about Sicily than I do. Me? I just like noticing things and wondering about them.
1. The overwhelming majority of people we saw were either very old, or very young. People from, say, 20-55 years old seemed nonexistent.
2. For a seaside town, the buildings on the waterfront had a distinct lack of balconies. Or the jaunty colors you see in most seaside villages. Or, really, edifices of any kind. It looked like they were stripped of everything, or that the outsides were completely forgotten about.
3. The streets were immaculate. Not even a cigarette butt to be seen.
But the area by the docks was piled high with trash of all kinds.
4. Everyone we came in contact with was very, very nice. A bit more formal than I am used to up here in Rome, but extremely cordial and not in a OMG TOURIST MONEY fake way. Sincerely genteel. I even heard an American girl tell her friends after receiving instructions from a stranger on the street: “Everybody’s SO NICE here!”
5. A lot of places were for sale or rent. A LOT. And there was a lot of construction going on – but whether this was for the upcoming summer, or because RyanAir was now flying there, or because the Mafia wanted to remind people who awesome they were in advance of the elections, it’s impossible to say.
6. I was surprised to see more than one section that looked completely bombed out. On one of these areas was a sign asking for pictures or information about one of these bombed out areas, and it mentioned that it had been bombed in “the war.” I’m assuming that’s World War II, which is shocking enough – let’s hope it wasn’t the first Punic War, which gave Sicily over to Italy.
7. There were a lot of old men who gathered at certain times of the day – at the beach, at a bar, at a storefront social club. Do not look directly at them or try to take a picture of them.
(Obviously, no picture available.)
8. The night we sat out at the via Torre di Ligny, a stretch of road that juts out and ends in the (duh) Torre di Ligny, which is really kind of a squat stone building and not very tower-like at all, we watched a stream of cars drive up, make a U-turn at the torre and drive back toward town. At dinner I asked the restaurant owner what was up. He said it was a kind of passeggiata; people drive up to the tower, turn around and go home. When I asked if there was a reason for it, he shrugged and answered, “It’s the mentality of the Trapanesi.” So, don’t ever say I never got an answer for you.
But how much more awesome would it have been to remain ignorant about this, and instead continue believing, as I had theorized, that it was an age-old tradition stemming from a valiant Paul Revere-like sprint to the tower in advance of some sort of attack?
9. You could walk around this tower on a precariously narrow catwalk protected by a railing you really didn’t want to place a lot of faith in. At either end of the entrance to this catwalk was this:
which was frankly terrifying. It constantly surprises me that all over Italy, and most of Europe in fact, are these kinds of treacherous moments. Although I like it – it keeps you on your toes, and reminds me what a litigious society America is. If you fell down this ladder and broke your head on those concrete blocks, you really have no one but yourself to blame. No whining!
10. Check out the left-hand clock face on this church:
Mr. Pants called it the Roulette Clock. I’m assuming it’s a calendar, since the numbers go to 31, and that it must have broken on the 29th of some month, since we were there in early May and it never changed. However, I’d rather believe this clock was built by the Mafia and told the town what the daily lottery number was. I love my crazy theories! They make traveling much more entertaining.