I have been thinking about this trip non-stop since I got back and I am so excited to tell you all about it.
As July quickly approached, I decided I needed a vacation from my extended holiday (just joking-- don't click out) and thus, I found myself whiling away a few days in the sun on Isola di Marettimo. As the western-most Egadi Island on the Mediterranean Sea, Marettimo is the least frequented of the three islands and as a result, the only town (Marettimo) is INCREDIBLY tiny. For reference, I could walk around the entire town in under twenty minutes. In heels. (Did I try this? of course.) The rest of the island was free, wild nature and it was absolutely fantastic.
I left Palermo on Saturday morning just slightly before a human should ever be expected to function (much less purchase a transportation ticket in Italian) and, against all odds, boarded a bus to Trapani. Upon arrival, I wandered in the port town for an hour, croissant in hand, and then hopped aboard a ferry to Marettimo. I was living island life by 11am.
I checked into my cute little AirBNB and then struck out into town in search of lunch and some wifi (the entire island was a cellular dead zone). Within the hour, I had purchased a water bottle the size of a small toddler, a map of the island, and a vat of sunscreen. A hike across the island was on the agenda.
And wow, this hike. A nice woman in one of the shops had drawn two lines on my map, pointing to one as "easy" and the other as "difficult". Naturally, I dismissed the easy one completely and figured "difficult" meant "easy for you". Nope. Wrong. Let me just say, I have never been sweatier at any point in my entire life. But... I digress.
The hike was incredible. The view was nothing short of extraordinary at every single turn and I delighted at the sheer volume of off-the-path caves I found to explore. The hike ended at a castle, which I will be moving into as soon as possible. The view of purest aqua-blue shallow water transitioning abruptly into the inky depths of the Mediterranean can sell me on an isolated Rapunzel life in a heartbeat. I spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between sleeping on a beach and listening to Aziz Ansari read me his book Modern Romance (review here!) before heading back to town for dinner.
Dinner itself turned into quite the affair. I began my evening with a glass of red wine, a sea view, and a new book (review of All the Light We Cannot See, coming soon). However, I was soon derailed and invited to attend a dinner party in the square with an absolutely delightful crowd of Marettimo locals. After no persuading at all, I went and enjoyed the most incredible array of raw, we-caught-this-two-hours-ago tuna. My favorite plate had tuna drizzled in olive oil and garnished with onions and red peppercorns.
I went to bed wondering if I would become a tuna if I fell asleep too quickly, but, alas, I woke up human. I had booked a boat tour of the caves surrounding Marettimo the day before, and headed off first thing. My guide was a lovely Sicilian man who probably thinks I am a mute based on the amount of I-don't-speak-enough-Italian-for-this-word miming I did throughout the day. The trip itself was by far one of the most unforgettable things I have done since arriving in Sicily, which is a fairly significant statement. I perched on the front of the little boat for five hours as our guide steered us expertly into 10ft. x 10ft. caves, tossed an anchor for swimming, and told (mimed) me Marettimo legends. He even lent me a snorkel mask so I wouldn't get stung by jellyfish as I swam. A true angel.
As soon as we docked the boat, I grabbed a sandwich (actually, I hand-picked fresh seafood for my baguette and, by happy accident, fell in love with sundried tomatoes) and hopped aboard my ferry back to Trapani. Even as the ferry pulled away, I was making plans to come back.
More than a few times during my trip to Marettimo, the natural occurrence of water so clear and blue or caves so perfectly nestled into the land made me feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude for this beautiful world. Any place that makes a person feel that way is worth a second look and the most genuine recommendation possible. It was a weekend I will remember forever. I hope someday I will be back.