(The map shows just a small part of Sicilia - maintain you sense of scale by checking the scale in the lower
right-hand corner) All pictures have their associated text below the image.
Yesterday it was Coca Cola. Today I will menion another odd thing we saw in Sicilia (and Calabria for that
matter): Vast infrastructures. Let me start with Calabria: The Autostrada that is being built from Napoli to
Reggio di Calabria is probably the largest construction site I have seen in my life. And it goes on for, what?,
500 km. There is little traffic, there is already an existing Autostrada, and a new one is being built. As taxpayer
I get a physical impact of the huge amount of my tax-euro that are being sunk into that project.
In Sicilia they also have (very!) impressive Autostrada. With very, very impressive bridges. However, most of
them seems to be completely superflous. See, for example, the one in the middle above. OUt in nowhere, far
from anything, someone has felt the need of a (very) large bridge to facilitate a turn in the road. In addition,
but I was unable to snap a photo of that because I was standing on it, the road with the curve, which is not
an Autostrada, enters the Autostrada just where I had stopped. But that is ALSO on a bridge. So the ramps on
both sides are themselves huge bridges. Unfortunately I didn't see that in time. The need to have the exit just
there, in mid air, does not at all seem reasonable. In fact, it seems to be a complete wast of the euros I have
payed in taxes after having scraped them together.
But the bridges Per Se - that is another story. Ever since I 20 years ago I read "Structures: Or why things don't
fall down" (Amazon
) I have been facinated by, well, structures. Thus I marveled when looking at the huge
structures that you see in teh landscape. Go get a grip of the scale, look at the electricity mast on one picture
(it is slightly behing the pillar, but not more than 50 meters or so) and the large truck on the op the other (the
house you see is several kilometer closer than the bridge). I would like to believe that it is well planned and
not a result of waste, but I am not convinced. Oh well. Let's have breakfast!
As I told you yesterday
, we have stayed the night at Albergo Belvedere, via S. Vito 12, 92100
Agrigento, phone +39 0922 20051
. It has two names: The other is Palma B&B. They offer breakfast,
but they offer no soul
. It is not like yesterday at Villa Canisello
, via Pavese 1, 96017 Noto (SR) (website here
Thus, we head off to the Greek temples. There is a bar discretely set at the side, and we sit down in the sun.
A good cappuccino makes most problems in the world seem smaller.
I won't bore you with too much archeological stuff, but you need to know that these temples are from about
500 BC. The picture shows only one out of seven. More info here
. In the background you can see the
modern Agrigento. About 50.000 people live here today. I find it cool that 2.500 years ago the city was at least
six times larger
Agrigento was destroyed by Carthago about 200 years before the Romans came.
We get back to the hotel, roll out the bike, load up, and depart. We aim for Trapani, but there is one
thing I would like to do before we get there: Drink Marsala in Marsala. I love Marsala (the wine), and
the idea is that drinking Marsale (the wine) in Marsala (the city) will be the proper thing to do.
Before we get to Marsala we encunter some rain. We stop at a bar and have a light lunch while we wait
for it to pass. I hate those things: An unplanned lunch is rarely a good one. And this is no exception. Not
bad, but nothing worth remembering. And this is the thing: If a place and a meal isn't worth remembering,
then it isn't worth having. There are enough nice places to visit.
Oh well, we get to Marsala (also a very old city), and the picture above was taken at a nice bar in Marsala,
just as I order a (small) glass of Marsala. I am already dreaming about the sigar I will refrain from enjoying
with this Marsala here in Marsala.
But, Lo and Behold, when I asked for a small glass of Marsala they replied they didn't have it! It seems that
so few people in Marsala drink Marsala that the bars don't even have a bottle on the shelf for the
once-a-year tourist! As you can see, I sit slightly depressed outside not wanting the sigar any less. In fact,
I wanted the sigar even more!
Can you imagine not being able to get a Cognac in Cognac? Or not a Port in Porto? Or not a Barolo in
Barolo? Or not a Brunello di Montalcino in Montalcino? Argh - when I savour the water I bought instead
I don't lke the Sicilians at all.
BTW: The jacket has seen a decade of action and I think I need a new one.
But my state of depression is blown away a little while later. From Marsala (the city) without Marsala
(the wine) we ride over to Trapani. There we stop at B&B Novecento,
via Conte A. Pepoli 80, 91100
Trapani, phone +39 3406264834 (website here
). Very clean, very nice, computer with Internet for finding
tomorrows accomodation, large terrace, and a gentle English-speaking host. What more can you ask?
Ah - yes: Garage. No problem!
For cena (dinner) we walk a few meters and sit down at a place with an odd name: Vecchia America.
Fortunately it isn't called "Old America", so we'll let it pass without further ado. You'll find it at via Conta
A. Pepoli 154.
We start with antipasti al buffet. Different vegetables prepared in a variety of ways. Surprisingly
good - these things are ofter boring, but here everything was fatta a casa! Then She had rigatoni
with a Trapanese tomato-cream saus while I had Ravioli with a saus al mare. Then She had a large
salad while I had scaloppine al limone. To this a local red alla casa.
And then, finally, they cut me some pecorino (both prima sale and seconda sale - fresh and salted), and
Marsala (the wine). Knowing what the evening still has to offer when we get back to the B&B, and
knowing careful attention that has gone into preparing what I have just eaten, the Marsala is simply
the ultimate thing!
I advice you to ride to Trapani, and drink Marsala, after a good meal. It is worth the detour!
Tomorrow we will visit the temple at Segesta, reflecting on Segesta's role in the worst massacre
that took place during the thousand years we call Antiquity, and ride along the coast almost back
to Messina where we landed on the island some days ago.
188 km today.
Thank you for your attention.