Parma-Favignana : only the hardest survive.

Semi-serious odyssey to reach the island

by Federica Soprani


Once upon a time the Egadi islands were not so far from Parma. It was enough to organize the journey with a minimum of advance, buying a ticket for the straight flight Parma-Trapani by the Low Cost company that ran the route, and in a little over a couple of hours, considering the boarding checks, you found yourself at the Birgi airport, one step away from the deep blue. From there a comfortable bus, or one of the many private taxi services, took you in a moment, through a suggestive landscape of fields and salt flats, to the port of Trapani, right in front of the hydrofoils' departure for Egadi.
Said done.
Today something has changed.
This is not the right place to pontificate on where are the responsibilities and the faults due to which, in the heart of the summer, we took about 10 hours to reach Favignana, with a trip a bit 'daring, which it involved a disconcerting variety of means of transport and many, too many dead times.
The fact is that we did, and we will be ready to do it again, of course, because there will be no political quarrels between airports to curb our enthusiasm and to cool our ardor towards Favignana and the other wonderful islands that make up the archipelago.

However, it took a lot of time!
Departure from Parma by car, thanks to the good heart of a friend, Leonardo, who has offered to accompany us to Milan-Malpensa airport. We leave at 11.00 in the morning, to catch the plane at 2.40 pm. Two hours to arrive, four hours to return for him, because he ran into two accidents. If Leonardo had not been so helpful we would have to take the train from Parma to Milano Centrale (1.15 hours with an intercity, or a Freccia, even 2.30 with regional) and the shuttle from the train station to the airport (travel time: 40 minutes). We feel lucky!
The plane leaves at 14.40 and it lands on time at 4.20 pm at the Falcone Borsellino airport in Palermo. Time to go out, in the blinding sun, and we look for the bus station. Some buses go to Palermo, and just beyond there is the sign of the Segesta company, which carries out the service for Trapani. Wait 55 minutes, sweating a bit 'in the heat wave, drinking a bottle of water after another. Then the bus arrives, and we let ourselves be lulled by its swing towards the new destination. We are already a bit tired at this point. We spent:

  • 2 hours by car
  • 1.30 hours waiting time at the airport
  • 1.20 hours of air travel
  • 1 hour waiting for the bus

During the journey the head dangles and the eyes close. It's a pity, because the landscape is very beautiful: rolling hills covered with olive trees and vines, and sometimes the sea that looks promising in the distance.
After an hour we are at the port of Trapani, and we must still wait another hour for the departure of the Liberty lines hydrofoils for Favignana (with a stop in Levanzo). But now we feel arrived, even the fatigue seems relieved by the prospect that we will soon see the lights of the "Butterfly on the sea" wink in the distance, to welcome our return.

Finally we feel that we have arrived. We are traveling from 11.00, and it is 20.40. Almost 10 hours.

40 minutes by hydrofoil, and to welcome us, in addition to the throbbing lights, we find at the port  smiling  Camomilla, perhaps a little 'incredulous for the fact that we managed to get there. But then, she did the same the day before, and also taking train from Parma to Milan and shuttle!
Finally we feel that we have arrived. We are traveling from 11.00, and it is 20.40. Almost 10 hours.
The journey by scooter, through the island where darkness has now fallen, is the last step of a long day.
Is it worth it? For Favignana yes, always and anyway, but we are not surprised that tourism on the island has suffered a worrying decline, since the feud between airlines and the airport policy with its clutches have canceled many, too many direct flights to Trapani . It is not difficult to imagine how the prospect of having to face such a tour de force could discourage someone less determined than us!We hope, above all for the sake of tourism on the island, that unresolved issues will soon be resolved, and that the canceled flights will be restored, that the airport of Trapani will start working at full capacity.
Meanwhile, emulators of Ulysses looking for the route to Ithaca, we plan the next, long trip to Favignana. A place like this is worth the effort of a new Odyssey!


Taste & Knowledge

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by Guido Conti
A different view
by Manuela Soressi