Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Wonders of Pantelleria

I don’t often see the words “free day” on my schedule, but that’s what Tracy and I had for our first full day in Pantelleria.

Unfortunately, a power failure the night before had us to bed very late and oversleeping, but once we got going we were ready to see what this magnificent island had to offer.

The original plan was to have lunch with the vineyard workers at the Donnafugata Winery where we were staying, but when we didn’t wake up until 12:30, we decided to head straight out to explore, enjoying some coffee and biscotti first.

We took off in our little yellow Fiat Panda to try to find Grotta di Benikula Sauna, a natural sauna within a cave. We drove for about an hour and couldn’t find it, but did manage to see some interesting vineyards, a monastery and ancient ruins. I couldn’t believe all this existed on the Mediterranean Sea, just 20 miles from the African nation of Tanzania.

From that area we drove down to Scauri to look for someplace to eat along the towns of the water. We couldn’t find anything open on Sunday afternoon, but we did find what we had wanted to be our next stop anyway – Lago Specchiod, Venere.

Venus Lake, as it is called, is a beautiful lake filled with aqua water that contains natural mud and spa-like baths. Tracy and I enjoyed frolicking in the mud like two school children before taking turns lying in the bubbly “baths.”

From there we headed to Cala Gadir and walked around taking pictures of the rock formations, including Aroo dell’elefante, Elephant Arc.  We were both really hungry by then and remembered Mimma had told us the previous night about Le Calle in Cala Gadir. There we had some spumante and antipasto and watched the sea as the sun went down.

Before we went back to our little house at the Donnafugata Winery, we stopped at La Portella Pizzeria and picked up a pizza and a calzone, which we enjoyed on the patio with a few bottles of wine (who knew Moscato and pizza went so well together? J).

We had one more day to go on Pantelleria, exploring more vineyards, scenic stops, and learning more about the unique way they make one, as well as seeing where they grow the island’s other big import – capers -- before we would fly back to mainland Sicily and visit more of the wineries of Donnafugata.

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