Monday, September 13, 2010

Valley of the Temples

We stopped at Porto Empedocle, Sicily, in order to make a little trip inland to see the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento. Sicily was part of greater Greece for centuries, and it still has a surprising number of Greek ruins such as the ones we saw at Syracuse.

The Valley of the Temples is actually on a ridge below the town of Agrigento. The temples are in varying stages of collapse and restoration. The Temple of Concordia is the most complete, and the Temple of Juno is also in pretty good shape. But the Temple of Jupiter is mostly a pile of stones, some of which have been realigned so that you can see the huge statues that also helped support it.

The ridge with the Temple of Concordia

Temple of Juno

Shirlee in front of the Temple of Hercules

Not just temples, but also crypts

We were lucky when we visited the temples because an exhibit of contemporary art was running there. Most of the art was sculptures and was displayed outside in the garden and in the Temple of Concordia. Because we paid for the exhibit, we got to go inside the temple, which isn’t normally open to the public.

Statue in the courtyard of a villa

Temple of Concordia and one of its statues

Although we visited the temples last week and were ready to continue on our way west, gales in the Sicily Strait kept us anchored in the harbor for several more days until we finally decided to sneak out at night when the winds are normally calmer. Now we’re anchored just outside the harbor at Mazara del Vallo. We’ll get fuel here and wait for another weather window. Depending on how large the window is, we may make it all the way to Cartagena in one passage. On the other hand, we could stop in Sardinia or the Balearic Islands if the conditions turn against us. Such is sailing life. You just have to be flexible.

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