We weren't even supposed to be in Trapani. A storm had hit the tiny Aeolian island of Lipari, and our cruise had been forced to change its course and dock, instead, in this unassuming Sicilian town.
It was a Sunday, and I had wondered just how welcoming the folk of Trapani were going to feel towards a sudden influx of cruisers, especially on their day of rest. As I meandered through the sleepy morning streets, I came across churchgoers who nodded genially in my direction, an accordionist who played me a song, and a nut salesman doing a brisk trade from a wooden trailer, who was thrilled to have his photograph taken.
Best of all were the Sicilian mammas out on their balconies, having loud conversations with their next door neighbours as they put out their laundry. I stopped to wave, and they waved back, calling out cheery greetings in the local dialect. I came across a young man and his father, gutting fish in their small garage lockup - they called me over to watch the process, and explained it to me, again, in the thick Southern dialect of which I understood not a single word. They didn't mind. They gestured towards the seawall, and explained through mime that it had a beautiful view and was very historic. A friend of theirs who stopped by and spoke a little English then offered to show me the way. All in all, I wasn't at all sad to miss Lipari.