Day 16 - Valley of Temples Agrigento
I was staying at a nice house located close to a beach on the Mediterranean Sea. The room itself, with a private bathroom, was quite big, clean and comfortable with windows pointing towards a garden.
Around 4:00 am in the morning, I was woken up by a blast from the neighboring restaurant. At first, I thought I had a weird dream but noise of cars driving with the sirens blaring stopped me from falling asleep again. I looked through a window of my rented room and saw flames reflected in the windows of another building. Seemed like no one at home was awaken apart from me. I went downstairs, opened the entry doors and saw a restaurant completely in flames. The Fire-brigade was already at the place trying to control the flames which were spreading quickly due to strong north-western wind. My host joined me, seriously worried about his boat standing just several meters away from the burning restaurant. We talked for half an hour while observing the situation and speculating what could have caused the fire. Was it a bomb, or maybe an open valve which leaked gas that spread, waiting till a careless person threw a still lit cigarette, or rather it was intentionally torched ? After all, we were in Sicily. The other guests did not come out of the house. I went back to my room, fell asleep, and woke up just to eat breakfast and get ready for a day´s walk in the Valley of Temples.
Instead of taking my motorcycle, I chose public transportation. Agrigento was 5 km from San Leone and the prospect of walking the entire day in my boots frowned my face. There was no argument for taking the Harley just to a quarter and later leave it at a parking lot for the whole day. And I was happy to get some sun on my still pale, white legs
Valley of Temples was in fact not in a valley, but on a ridge outside of Agrigento and, until today, I have no clue why someone called that place a "Valley". At the entrance, a dark-skinned person was taking care of the security of the place scanning every person with a metal detector. I gave a big ironic
smile, when the detector was flashing and giving a strong signal while scanning my body, and the men neither checked nor asked if I could either open my bag or explain myself. How many attacks could be avoided if a person like that man would have taken their job seriously ?
Entry cost ten euros and, for an additional ten, I could have had a guided tour. If I had already decided to enter the historical place, I preferred to spend the extra money and get in-depth knowledge of the place instead of pretending that I admired each and every archaeological finding without having a clue of the origins. Our guide was an Italian lady who considered herself a cosmopolitan World citizen, a language teacher with a passion for archaeology, something, apparently, she had inherited from her father, who was an architect himself. She guided us through the remains of six temples: Concordia, Juno, Heracles, Olympian Zeus, Castor and Pollux (the symbol of modern Agrigento), and Asclepius. The last temple of Vulcano was located further away and I had to see it by myself crossing the Garden of the Kolymbetra for another 3 euro fee.
I finished my visit in the valley by exploring the Garden, also known as the Garden of Eden. It is located between the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and the Temple of Vulcano. Vegetation consisted of a citrus garden, almond and olive trees that spread over non-irrigated areas, and also vegetables and vineyards. I guessed, late autumn would be perfect for the visit when all the citrus trees gained bright colors from their fruits.
I ended my tour late in the afternoon. On the way back, I visited a restaurant which my host had recommended to me, and I ended the day eating mussels in tomato sauce followed by "Brioche con gelato", or Ice cream sandwich. Sicilian specialty, which the local people also eat for breakfast. One word: Delicious!