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AGRIGENTO IN APRIL

May 11th, 2012 2 comments

With the weather remaining unsettled in April and our marina contract not due to expire until May 1st, we spent much of the month readying Destiny for the upcoming cruising season.  On one sunny Friday, however, we joined fellow cruisers Tina and Pete in renting a car and traveling to Agrigento site of the famous Valley of the Temples.

Since Tina and Pete have a sweet little girl dog named “Bella”, this was to be a people and dog outing.  We set out from Marina di Ragusa in our tiny rental car with a GPS loaned to us by another cruiser and promptly got lost before we could get the device programmed.

What we expected to be a 2 hour drive proved to be 3 hours going (which included getting lost) and about 2 ½ on the way back, leaving only a few hours to visit the Valley of the Temples.  As it turned out the trip was worth it.

Entering the Valley of the Temples is stepping back thousands of years to ancient Greece.

Spring is a magical time to visit ancient sites.  As far as the eye can see, a profusion of flowers carpet the ground–yellow daisies and lavender flowers of unknown name.  Yellow is the predominant color of the flowering trees as well.  The plants remind me of Scotch broom lining the by-ways of Nantucket in the spring. 

Purple flowers peek out from the ancient stones. . .

and yellow flowering trees frame the walkways.

The Valley of the Temples is said to rank among the most impressive Greek ruins outside of Greece, with several temples surprisingly in tact given earthquakes and destruction wrought by Christians who believed them to be pagan.

The Temple of Hephaistos left a lot to the imagination, but was one of the lesser monuments.

Remains of Temple of Olympian Zeus is little more than a pile of rocks. . .

while the Temple of Juno's columns rise skyward after thousands of years.

At least one of the temples, Temple of Concord was converted to a Christian church in the 6th Century and is extremely well preserved.

Construction on the Temple of Concord began in 430 B.C. . .

and it is prominently situated in the center of the ridge along which the temples are arranged.

We happened to arrive at the Valley of the Temples, a national historic site, at the tail end of a week when all Sicilian cultural venues were open to the public free of charge.  The usual admission is 10 euros per person.

Tourists flocked to the Temple of Concord during free entrance days.

Dogs are not allowed at some archeological sites, so we took no chances and sneaked Jolie and Bella past the guard at the entrance.  Once inside, it was clear that no one cared about the dogs and they enjoyed a romp when not being carried like the little princesses that they are.

Jolie is in her bag hidden by Kent's jacket as we pass the security guard. . .

but it proved to be unnecessary--here they are relaxing under an olive tree.

There are

Ancient olive trees are scattered throughout the temples. . .

along with one bronze sculpture (circa 2011) that is . . .

thought provoking to say the least. Fallen angel? Really?

I’m a little perplexed by the title “Valley” of the Temples when in fact the temples line a ridge that parallels the modern city of Agrigento inland from the ancient site.

From the ancient site you see modern Agrigento is the inland ridge. . .

while in the opposite direction you see the distant sea. . .

and valley below through the broken fortifications.

Trekking around ancient sites has become quite routine since we have been in the Med, but it never loses its appeal.  Especially when the experience is shared with friends.

Tina, Pete & Bella take a break. . .

as do we. . .under yet another flowering tree.

But there is one more stop. . .at Temple of Herakles 6th Century BC.

We named the GPS “Betty” and followed her directions all the way home in record time.  Kent says he needs one of these gadgets for the rare times we land travel—I’ll second that!

We’re out of the marina and cruising again.  More adventures to follow.