Thursday, November 21
Maybe the most impressive day yet!!! We woke up and drove the 30-45 minutes to Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples. It’s a whole area of Greek Temples built between 480 and 450 BCE. We had a reservation for lunch at the Hotel Villa Athena which is a gorgeous hotel with a beautiful restaurant that allows you private entrance to the Temples and free parking. A great way to get close and eat well! We ate with an amazing view of the Temple of Concordia. The most complete of the 5 temples in the valley. After lunch we walked through our private gate and headed to the most eastern temple, the temple of Juno. All of the temples were given names based on what they thought they were called, but nobody actually knows the real names of them. We walked around it and it’s amazing to think of how long they have been standing right there through all the wars, the volcanoes, the earthquakes and just how much history these temples have watched go by. The sun was setting and we had the perfect light to view the temples in all their splendor! We walked down to the Temple of Concordia. It’s so well preserved because it was turned into a Christian church. Sadly that’s the only way these amazing pieces of history survive. I think you can tell by the pictures these temples are amazing, and to think what they would’ve looked like 2500 years ago! There isn’t marble on Sicily so they used Sandstone, a stone that weathers easily so they covered it with plaster to protect it from the salty air from the sea and then painted it all sorts of gorgeous colors! After the Temple of Concordia we walked to the Temple of Hercules. It’s less complete than the others but the pile of tumbled columns laying all around sure is amazing to look at. There is one column that I made sure to take some good pictures of, that’s kind of brick looking that’s the only one that’s been standing as is for 2500 years. Imagine the people coming here and finding that one pillar sticking out and thinking about what they may find if they dig down. After that we went to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This was the biggest of the temples, by far, and unfortunately the one in the worst shape. It was so big that just the front of the Temple was so huge that each of the other temples, of turned up in end would have fit inside. It was to commemorate the Sicilians finally defeating the Carthaginians and securing their island. It had 38 giant statues called Telamon. I have a few pictures of ones laying on the ground in pieces. Imagine those huge statues starting 40 feet up and then holding the roof up as columns that looked like giants holding everything upright. It was sadly hard to imagine the scale of this monster sized temple, but, in some ways, it was the one that interested me the most. It was SO big they had to build it differently than all the other Greek Temples in the world. We left there and though about taking the half mile walk to the 5th temple but it was getting dark, and it’s in the worst shape of all of them so we decided to walk back and look at the others with the evening lights lighting them up. What an amazing experience! We talked at length about how lucky we are to see these sights that few people even know exist, much less will ever get a chance to see. It’s so invigorating to see new things, especially new things that blow your mind!! Don’t ever be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! That’s when all the truly memorable things happen! We walked back to our car and drove to meet our friends family who lives a few towns over from Agrigento in a city called Grotte. They cooked us a HUGE feast! The food just kept coming and coming and it was all delicious! They spoke very little English and all of us except Michael, whose family it is, speak very little Italian, but we still had such a lovely evening. There is just a warmth to Sicilian people that will surprise you! All we think about is the Mafia and The Godfather. But, really, all we have experienced is warmth, kindness and generosity everywhere we have gone! Not just Sicily! Sicily is a unique, complicated, fast moving and ancient culture shaped by the many many many invaders who have recognized the strategic importance of this island. It’s been an intoxicating experience to be here for this week. One that I can’t recommend any higher to everyone! You may want to stay away from renting a car, that’s all! LOL. Enjoy all these pictures and stories because today is one of those days that makes us want to scream from the rooftops, TRAVEL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!!!!! It’ll change your life in more ways than you can ever imagine!!! Thanks for reading. We love you all and miss you and can’t wait to be home to talk all about our adventures! We miss our puppy and can’t wait to see him too!!!
Posted by That French Place