Date: 31st July 2018
Travelled: 10 kilometres by scooter from Punto Piccola to Agrigento, both in Sicily
Visited: Ancient Agrigento, Valley of the Temples €17pp, including audio guides.
Stayed: Punta Piccola Park Sosta, Scala dei Turchi, €22, all the usual. N37.28918, E13.49296
An early start this morning as we are visiting the ruins of the ancient city of Agrigento. We are meeting Greg and Julia at the Juno car-park at 8.45 and it’s about 10 klms away. Our plan for an early start to avoid the heat is looking a little shaking at 7.30 its already 28º mind you according to the weather app 31º is the forecast max at 1pm.
So we tidy up after breakfast and point the scooter toward Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples. It’s an easy ride this morning as we have already visited the town of Agrigento yesterday evening for dinner and made it back safely in the dark. We meet as planned, by our tickets, chat about how good dinner was last night and start walking for the first temple.
Up the first hill from the ticket office we find the Temple of Hera (aka Juno). Greg, Julia and Pam. Dated to the 5th century BC, the Temple of Hera is thought to have collapsed as a result of an earthquake. It has been restored and stabilized several times since the 1850’s. We walk down the hill, the old city walls on our left. The audio guide explains these unusual arch niches carved into the walls as part of an extensive Byzantine necropolis, dating back 800 years. It’s one long cemetery. The information boards discuss whether the funeral niches are from the Roman or Byzantine occupations. As I have no plans to study for a doctorate on Sicilian funeral niches, I decide not to take sides. The view from up here is special. It is interesting to note they call this the ‘Valley of the Temples’ yet they are along a ridge line. Then we spot these headless statues. Mind you they were only found less than 20 years ago during an excavation. Our next find is the Temple of Concordia. It has remained remarkably intact since 430 BC. Pam and I have been fortunate enough to see a few temples during our travels through Italy, Greece and Turkey. The Concordia is the most original and intact we have seen. Not sure who the bronze guy with the 12 inch wedding tackle is supposed to be ? But Greg and I feel a shade inadequate. The Temple of Concordia was converted to a Christian Basilica in the 6th century. This explains its longevity intact. Greg points out the local rock is full of fossiled shell ! This anominaly is obviously the result of climate change. Thank goodness we have the Paris Accord and Sarah Hanson Young to stop this type of catastrophy happeniong again. As soon as I saw the Temple of Zues, I felt a little uneasy. The column ratios length to breadth are all wrong and the column bases to height do not comply with the Greek building standard. What remains of the alter of Zeus, it faces the Temple of Zeus. What is really amazing is the 7.5 metre carved telimon (altases) that held up each corner (figuitively). Pam is coming to grips with one in this photo. An action shot of Greg amongst the ruins. Well Pam and I have had enough ruins for one day. We say goodbye to Greg and Julie, they are still keen to keep exploring. We wish them luck on the rest of their travels and commit to a get together on our return.
Thirty minutes later we are back at Punta Piccola, down on the beach having a swim. The afternoon drifts away in the heat, there is little breeze today so it’s uncomfortable away from the water. At 6pm we decide to scooter into Porto Empedocle about 3 klms away
We need to find an ATM and a drink if we find somewhere nice.
Not sure who he is but he has pride of place in the square in Porto Empedocle. Another church…so we pop in for a quick look. The white tones look a little astere, but there are lots of interesting niches. None of the bars catch our eye so after we find an ATM we head back to the Hymer via the limestone cliffs just up from our campsite. We think this place is called Spiaggia di Scala dei Turchi. It looks very interesting but neither Pam or I have the energy to walk down at this time of the evening. So another day slips through to the keeper.
Michael and Pam