Some places look wonderful on pictures. Even on the map. And descriptions point out the wonderful setting of a simple campsite at the shore with a nice village close by. Then you arrive and it is – different.
With 37°C, I arrive at San Vito lo Capo and start learning. First, the campsite I have been looking for does not exist anymore. However, the very same GPS address once shared by two campsites now leads to the survived one = Camping Village El Bahira. It looks like old camper places have been abandoned. Which is a pity as they have been located close to the sea – and which is comprehensible as they had been very small and very basic, worse than most simple camper parkings. There is no real sea view from the remaining camper slots, so being close to the shore does not get you the expected buenavista. Next learning is about the “beach”: It is a dry and sun-burned mixture of gravel, stones and outworn deck chairs.
At least I manage to get the spot closest to the pool and with a bit of body work there is even a glimpse on the distant sea.
The plan was to spend some relaxed days here, surrounded by beautiful nature and the village of San Vito lo Capo. During Thursday afternoon, I am fine with the pool and it’s reasonable size. I swim and show off with experienced style, getting me in touch with the pool attendant. He is a typical young Sicilian with the typical accent, meaning I hardly understand anything he says. It sets limits to our conversation, as there only is a small overlap of Sicilian language to the Italian I once learned in Liguria. I try my best to give senseful replies to what I interpret as questions from his side, accompanied by a helpless smile as faint coverage of my cluelessness.
In the evening, the view from the restaurant close to the pool is wonderful, while my next learning is: Today is Thursday. The restaurant is closed on Thursday. The only option is the pizzeria, but no, they do not have gluten-free pizza. Fortunately, I got several packages of potato chips – before I leave this place, I will have eaten up all 3 of them.
Friday comes and with it the arrival of the weekenders: all around me, resident campers appear out of the blue and take over – everything. It is not only that all caravans to my left and to my right are now inhabited by families. It is the fact that each family owns several places and I happen to be in the middle of them like a foreign body. The pool is no place for sports anymore, it has become an immense playground for kids of all ages, chasing one another and swimming around the legs of their chatting grannies. Still, I am grateful. It would be worse being a family member of those strident 10-12 heads-parties, but perhaps it feels more natural when you are born into that kind of life.
Time to go! Knowing that all campgrounds will be full with weekend families by now, I flee by foot, making my way on a small path that seems to lead to San Vito “downtown”. Temperatures reach solid 38° these days and the distance is slightly exceeding my expectation. However, it is nice to be all alone and silent here and even the landscape develops a certain charm.
In the early afternoon, I reach the beach of San Vito lo Capo.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so best is to look out in the blue of the shimmering water or towards the lighthouse.
Looking at it from another angle, the white sand is hardly visible beneath all the deck chairs and parasols and thousands of people. I leave the crowded beach behind and try out several bars and cafés. First try: beverages, food, it is all there, at least on the menu. After 30 minutes of waiting for a waiter, I give up and try the café next door. No food, just ice cream – seems like San Vito works best with an unhealthy life style. Being a brave girl, I give in and enjoy ice cream, coffee and Campari-Soda. All with the aim to bundle my forces for the 4,5 km way back.
I look around some more, but do not feel like spending the evening here. The town is okay, but not as inviting as Cefalú. It is all very focussed here: 2 or 3 streets close to the beach, the promenade + the small line of sand take in all inhabitants from Sicily’s inlands, at least on weekend days. The rest of the town fades out with hardly anything to offer, so due to the lack of appealing restaurants, I skip my plans of wonderful seafood and turn back to another round of potato chips with Hector.
The return route is familiar and nice in the warm light of the late afternoon. I greet the sheep along the way, enjoy the calm and the panorama, and decide to design my last Sicilian days a bit more thoroughly. I abandon the idea of a daily trip to Trapani (39°C and it will be overcrowded even without me and my van) and instead look forward to my favourite place on this island.
The resumé of San Vito is that I might have been better on another campsite. However, I can easily accept that there are places that touch you with beauty and comfort (Scala dei Turchi with it’s sosta camper, Cefalú with the small bay) and others that don’t. Over all, I prefer independent or alternative places, where people are more travellers than (resident) campers.