Whilst in Sicily, one thing you cannot miss is the archaeological park of Segesta. Visiting after Halloween, however, means the season is over. This could simply translate to fewer tourists, cheaper prices and a lot more fun and it does. What it also means is that most “touristy” things like transport to famous sites around the island stop.
Not one to be deterred by a simple “that’s not possible” from, arguably, more knowledgeable people than me – read the hotel receptionist and everyone online who’s ever been to Sicily – I signed up to BlaBlaCar and found a ride to Segesta.
Starting at 8 am, we – my mother and I – jumped in a car with Alessio who was going to work in Trapani and dropped us off at the front gate of Segesta.
WE MADE IT! Which was only one half of the problem, as we had no plans when it came to how we would get out of the archaeological site and back to Palermo, or anywhere with a café, at least.
Segesta is beautiful, breathtaking even in the torrential rain. Granted we might have made it harder on ourselves by not taking the shuttle bus up to the theatre and agora and instead walking in the blowing wind blowing and pouring rain but we had the temple all to ourselves. We got drenched but it was absolutely worth it.
Now when it comes to the hard part. How to get out?
There is a bus! It’s a regular bus and it’s incredibly cheap. Now, the day after All Saints was probably not the smartest day to go to Segesta, but even then, there are buses to Trapani and Palermo that stop right at the gates of the archaeological park. 4 euros later and we were off to Trapani.
Firm believers in the “whinging it” philosophy, we decided we might as well go check out a new place. Trapani isn’t a village, it’s a city, there’s a train station and… no train to Palermo, at least on what was still considered a bank holiday. There was the option to wait hours for a train to somewhere we’d never heard of, at which point we could change for anther train to Palermo. 100km and over 3 hours later, we would have made it back at around midnight. Let’s just say we didn’t really consider this an option.
After asking a very nice woman who owns a small café next to the bus station, we found out there was a bus to Palermo and all we needed to do was go into the Segesta office to get a ticket. The office was closed, but we still waited and lo and behold! The bus arrived, almost on time and took us safely back to Palermo in about one hour.
It was, all in all, a very satisfying day. We got to see a lot of amazing things, Segesta will definitely be a highlight of this trip and we even checked out a “bonus” city, Trapani, which was not planned in the slightest but was worth a visit for its superb churches and palazzi.
With still over two weeks to go, this trip is sure to be one to remember!
ITINERARY TO SEGESTA/ TRAPANI FROM PALERMO IN NOVEMBER
8am: Palermo to Segesta Archaeological Park
1.10PM: Segesta Archaeological Park to Trapani
–> Tarantola Bus
05.02pm (I’m not making this up, this is the “official” time): Trapani to Palermo
–> Segesta Bus
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Whatever you do, do not take no/not possible for an answer: there is ALWAYS a way.
Google, in this instance is NOT your friend. Nothing that came up turned out to be accurate. That happened the day before as well, on the way to – with stops – and from Cefalu.
Ask the locals. They will know. If they don’t, ask again. The safest bet are people working in café and small eateries around transit places like train and bus stations. They’re used to having stranded tourists and locals ask for directions.