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Published: March 28th 2018
Wednesday March 28 2018 - I got up a little before 7am today and went through the usual morning routine, this time with yogurt and granola. I left around 8:15 to go to the Valley of the Temples, a large area with several ancient Greek temples. I checked the weather forecast yesterday and this morning, and both said it would be partly sunny in the morning, mostly cloudy in the afternoon, no rain. It was pretty wrong for most of the day. The morning was blue skies, no clouds anywhere. It started to warm up so that I had to take my fleece off as I walked around. I was able to get a teacher discount this time, and opted for the audio tour as well. There are three main temples - the Temple of Hercules, Concord and Juno on the eastern portion, and then more over a pedestrian bridge across a highway. Here, the Temple of Jupiter stood and it was MASSIVE, though never fully completed. It is all in ruins now, but it was notable for its grandeur and also large stone men (Atlases) of which they had two reassembled outside. The Temple of Concord is mostly still intact
because it was consecrated as a Christian church, so it was spared from being torn down. The ruins are spread over about a kilometer, and it was a nice walk and great views. There were several tour groups here as well, mostly German, but it was large enough that you could spread out and get away. As I got ready to leave, there were some high clouds in the sky starting to spread out.
The next stop on my tour was the archaeological museum, which I could not figure out how to get to. It seemed it was outside the Valley of the Temples area, but I wasn’t sure if I could walk there. I asked two sets of English speakers, and we figured out that it was definitely outside, and I finally asked someone who worked there as I was leaving for directions. She said to drive, and by that point I was a little hot so I agreed. I drove right by without even seeing the museum the first time. It doesn’t have good signage or a parking lot, so that was weird. I pulled into a little dead-end street across from it and asked someone if
I could park there. He said yes, so I gave it a go. I also asked in the museum and they agreed.
The museum did not have many people inside (because how could they find it?), but it was much larger than I’d expected. They had all kinds of things found near the temples as well as other sites - pottery, vases, figurines...thousands of years worth. They also had a large Atlas statue, the first ever reassembled. It’s hard to take it all in after a while, as you get overloaded quite quickly. But I enjoyed what I saw. I spent about an hour there, then decided to go into Agrigento. By car. I only ended up turning the wrong way down a one way once. And every Sicilian on the island had to tell me I was wrong.
I wasn’t sure where to go or where to park, so I set the GPS for a monastery that looked interesting and found myself driving through the old town. Even more winding and narrow roads than before. I found myself on a street that I decided to park on. It looked like open parking and it seemed a little
out of the way. I programmed the location in my GPS and walked down (everything is on a hill here). It took some time to orient myself, but I found some signs that pointed me towards this church or that church. The problem was that everything is closed in midday - shops, restaurants, churches. I saw several churches from outside, but not one from inside. At some point, this old guy was sitting outside a sweet shop with a cake and coffee and started to talk to me. In Italian,. He asked me to join him and eventually I did. He gave me half his cake and we talked for about half an hour. In Italian and Spanish. Sometimes I had no idea what was happening, sometimes I could totally follow. It was interesting, and he was nice.His name was Leonardo.
It started to get cloudy as the afternoon wore on, and then it started raining. Lightly, but at that point, I was pretty ready to leave, so the timing was good. Plus, my raincoat and umbrella were in the car. I used the GPS to navigate to the car and it worked fairly well. At least, it worked
well after I found myself halfway down a steep hill that dead-ended. And some Sicilian grandma talking to me through her window that I can’t go that way. (There were plenty of cars there and everyone seems to end up there, but she was right. I could not). I was so afraid that I’d have to live there in that spot forever - or worse - ask someone to move the car for me. But someone I managed to reverse out of it without the car rolling down the hill. I’m not very confident backing up in normal circumstances. This was definitely not for me. But I did it and then got myself home.
It full out rained for a couple hours after that, despite the 0% chance of rain this morning. I had the rest of my yogurt since I hadn’t managed to eat anything but half of Leonardo’s piece of cake since breakfast. When it stopped raining I walked over to the shop and bought some more tortellini, yogurt, chips and 4 liters of water for less than 5 euros. Crazy.
Tomorrow I head out back east to walk around Ragusa and then to Noto to
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