Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Road Trip to Complete the Circumnavigation of Sicilia

This morning I headed out bright and not so early to try to complete my circumnavigation of the island of Sicily. I was hoping to do this in a bright red Ferrari at the beginning of the football season but it just didn't work out. The silver Nissan Micra will have to make do.

First stop, Palermo for a peek at the Cripta dei Cappuccini. These catacombs hold the bodies in mummy or skeletal form of Catholic monks and Palermo's well to do citizenry. Fra Silvestro da Gubbio was the first to be buried here in 1599. I got there at 12:08, it closed at noon! It would reopen at 3:00 p.m. but I had the itch to keep moving, harder to hit a moving target don't you know!

Next up, the ruins at Segesta supposedly built by exiles from Troy. When I got there, the temperature was 36 degrees centigrade (that's hot!) and the humidity was near the 215% level. Did I mention that it is summer here? 


Nope, just the hillsides near Segesta. Sicily was so green and lush just 2 months ago but like California, summer heat turns the island golden too.

The Temple at Segesta

The star attraction is this Doric Temple. My philosophy on ruins like these is simple, "If they built it, I will come".

How did they do this?

I just remembered that before I left in January, we put up our THIRD front fence/gate in the 32 years we have lived in Camarillo at the palatial Casa Contreras.

Still seems to be in good shape.

The Temple is really BIG!

On to Erice!

I know I should have taken this picture on the other side of this sign but the light was SO much better on this side.

Erice is a hilltop town with a definite medieval feel to it. The town's ancient origins stem from a cult that worshipped the goddess of fertility, Venus Erycina.


Before cars and trucks, these were the hand painted main form of transportation in Sicily, horse drawn carts.


Erice is known for it's ceramics and I detected a different style, themes and color schemes from the ones I'm familiar with on the east side of Sicilia. These were found in the Catholic Chiesa di San Carlo.

Even the Carabinieri have ceramic panache'.

The view of the Mar Mediterraneo from Erice

Hilltops in Sicily beg for creative architects!

Erice's Torri Pepoli

Driving in Trapani

Like all great Italian cities, only about every sixth street you cross actually has a sign telling you it's name. It's a given in orienteering in Sicily and why would you even think that Trapani would be any different. This was my first problem in going solo on this excursion.

Problem #2 was my usually trustworthy Garmin GPS sidekick. She is the other woman in my life and, unlike Laurie, I feel the need to slap her quite often really! Today she nagged me to the breaking point in Trapani trying to find my hotel, the Albergo Maccotta.

First, she did not recognize the name of the Albergo's street nor any other possible nearby streets that I could find. RECALCULATING!!!

I finally found a street that she recognized that was only a few blocks, I think, from Via degli Argentieri 4! Our life was bliss again. RECALCULATING!!!

Every turn, I MEAN EVERY TURN, she asked me to make would require me to drive the wrong way on a one way street! RECALCULATING!!!

What is the punishment in Sicily for killing a nagging girlfriend? Sainthood? I don't know but if she does this again tomorrow I may find out!

I accidently found a sign that DID direct me to my Albergo easily. After parking my car in the only legal overnight spot I could find, I hope, I had to walk about 10 blocks to find a very nice, clean and efficient Albergo Maccotta.

Fishing Net

On my trek to the Albergo, I came across this fishing net drying artfully on the sidewalk. Well, I thought it was a fishing net until the owner stormed op to me, smiling thankfully, to tell me the history of this apparatus and the true name of it that was WAY lost in translation.

Giuseppe, "The Pride of the Trapani Fishing Fleet"

That's him with his "net?".

I wish I could have gotten a better picture of his three remaining teeth, they're good ones!

In Sicily, if not all of Italy,

After resting up this evening, I plan to take the ferry in the morning to the Egadi Islands. Actually, I will only visit one of the Egadis, the island of Favignana. STAY TUNED!


Robin McVay said...

Hello, my name is Robin McVay, my daughter went to HSU with Matt. When she said he was in Italy playing football I thought that was too cool and found your blog. I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed your humor, wit and pictures. It sounded like you had a great group of men and that you coached with the same traits you use in your blog. Just wanted to wish you luck here at the end of your journey. And if you ever leave coaching you might want to write a book or be a tour guide you are hilarious!!! Goodluck,
Robin McVay (Pink-Elephant-Want-A-Be) P.S. It was sweet the way you talked about your wife, It was obvious how much she means to you!

George said...


It's OFFICIAL, you are our newest Pink Elephant! Congratulations!

Thank you for your very kind words.

Matt is a GREAT young man, if we had a daughter...

Laurie and I had our first kiss on July 4th, 1965 and I've been in love ever since. Having only seen her for four weeks since January 2nd has been the only hitch in my giddy-up.