Wednesday, March 14, 2012
From Trapani to Marsala and Agrigento
It was back to the cellular phone store as our new sim card wouldn't activate. Apparently, it was defective. With a new card that worked we set off on our day's travels. After being hooted at for stopping at a stop sign we passed Trapani's salt flats with huge mounds of salt set out to dry. In the distance some lovely pink flamingoes were feeding in one of the shallow salt ponds.
Our first stop of the day was in Marsala, where we enjoyed some Marsala wine and a little caramel pastry. After a brief walk around the historical part of town, we stopped to admire Garibaldi's gate before returning to the car. Garibaldi, who was instrumental in the unification of Italy, lived in Sicily for many years. We travelled through some lovely countryside, olive groves, vineyards, fields of artichokes, cauliflowers, swiss chard, spinach and onions as well as fields of the yellow flowers we saw yesterday. I think they might be a kind of forget-me-not.
Finally, we arrived at Selinunte, an old Greek city with temples, an acropolis and agora, lying in dignified ruins. 100,000 Carthaginian troops captured the town after a nine-day siege in 409 BC. There were some attempts to rebuild the city a few hundred years later. Today the 2000-year-old ruins tower over the Mediterranean. It must have been quite a sight approaching the ancient city from the sea.
We continued our drive through bucolic countryside with lots more vineyards and olive groves until finally we reached Agrigento, our next stop. We passed the town where Andrea Camilleri, who writes the Inspector Montalbano novels lives. Because of our internet difficulties I had been unable to book a hotel in this area and the places we wanted to stay were booked up. After a fruitless search in the dark for a B and B down a track that didn't seem to exist, we decided to leave the madness of the city of Agrigento, with it's high density housing and head to San Leone, by the sea, where we found a very nice, quiet hotel. All that was available was a twin-bedded room but after explaining that it was "l'anniversario io e mio marito", they found us a room and later delivered some champagne. Tomorrow the ruins.