| Part 6:
-> Marsala -> Selinunte -> Agrigento
B&B Mille E Una Notte, Agrigento.
79 Euro for a room set up as an apartment, with a double bed and two
stacked beds, a kitchen area with fridge and cooking place and a
bathroom with shower. WLAN in theory included, in practice it doesn't
work. Nicely furnished room, with style. Friendly staff. Located in the
historic centre of Agrigento, no own parking (you have to look for a
parking on the street). A/C unit which doubles as a heater. Breakfast
included. Good place, the only problem is the parking and the fact that
you have to carry your suitcase up the
stairs (no elevator). Apparently this B&B consists of four rooms.
Strong smell of sweat in the room, as somebody who has sweated a lot
hasn't taken a shower for two weeks. They must be aware of the problem
because there is also perfume in the room, and probably they are trying
to kill the bad smell with perfume. For breakfast they serve pastries
and croissants from their shop, but no bread.
Weather: a mix of overcast
sky and sunny blue with clouds. Luckily the weather is sunny when we
are in Selinunte.
We check out from the B&B in Trapani and start driving towards
Marsala at 11:30am. The idea would be to make a stop at Cantine Florio
and have a look at the liquor production facilities.
When we finally arrive at Cantine Florio it turns out that they are
closed until January 7th, no chance to visit the place. So we continue
driving towards Selinunte. The road is to a large extent a series of
50-zones, i.e. it consists mostly of sections in which there is a speed
limit of 50km/h.
At 1:30pm we reach Castelvetrano and stop at a McDonalds for some quick
lunch. Shortly after 2pm we continue driving to nearby Selinunte, the
ancient Greek archaeological site. We arrive there at 2:20pm and park
the car in the car parking. The tickets cost 6 Euro per adult (children
The archaeological site is supposed to be huge and in fact the area is
quite big, although there are only a few structures which are of
interest. Immediately as you enter the site you encounter a shuttle
service. This offers to bring you around in small cars for a fee (12
Euro for the complete round).
We opt to walk and proceed to the first temple which is just 200m from
the entrance. This temple (the socalled temple E) is preserved
well and is very photogenic.
After some time here we walk to the ruins of a nearby temple. Then,
since a strong wind is blowing and the next structure is quite far
away, Shirley and the kids get back to the car, while I continue
exploring the area.
I walk to a temple I have seen in the distance (about 10 minutes of
walking to get there). Turns out that this is the socalled temple A.
Not much is left of this temple, only a row of columns.
But this temple is adjacent to what seem to be the ruins of an ancient
city. These are spread over an area extending a few hundred metres and
are ruins of buildings.
I examine the area a bit then get back to the car. Overall Selinunte is
not too impressive. It's a very big site, but very few structures are
Shortly after 4pm I'm back in the car and we start driving towards the
hotel in Agrigento. The road is not a motorway, but is quite good
anyway. The only problem are all those meaningless speed limits (e.g.
40km/h on a straight and wide road in the middle of nowhere??).
By 5:30pm we have reached the outskirts of Agrigento. Here we spot a
shopping complex and make a stop. The ladies need to shop and relax a
bit. This mall, called "Cittą dei Templi" is quite modern and extends
over two floors. Ample free parking opportunities are available. Lots
of cheap apparel shops.
We spend some time shopping, buying some groceries and letting the kids
play in the kids areas of this mall.
By 7:30pm we start driving towards a Chinese restaurant whose address I
found in the Internet. It turns out that this place does no longer
exist, so we just have dinner in a nearby Italian restaurant (a
This place seems to focus on seafood dishes. We order three dishes of
pasta (the kids share one dish). The food is not too bad, although my
noodles taste a bit weird (there are sweet raisins inside) and the
portion is very, very small. But Shirley and Alissia are happy with
their black squid ink spaghetti and their cozze spaghetti (mussels
spaghetti). It's a simple meal, but ends up costing almost 40 Euro.
After dinner we drive to the hotel. At one point I have to drive up a
very steep and narrow road. I don't dare to imagine what would happen
if this minivan got stuck because the road got too narrow and I would
have to reverse drive this road down again.
We find the place and with the assistance of the staff of this B&B
we manage to find a parking. Then I unload all stuff and bring it up to
-> Valle dei Templi -> Ragusa
Hotel Kroma, Ragusa. 96 Euro for a
quadruple room. Actually they give us two communicating rooms, a triple
one and a single one, which is a dumb solution, because who wants to
sleep alone in the single room? WLAN included (with complex
registration procedure), but initially slow internet access, so slow to
be almost unusable. After an hour or so a miracle happens and the
internet access becomes fast. BTW, the id/password combination works
only on one device (computer or smartphone).
The Kroma hotel is a bit out of the historic centre of Ragusa. I manage
to find a parking on the street next to the hotel. Breakfast included.
Nicely furnished, A/C unit which doubles as a heater. Table with chair,
cupboard, flat screen TV. No fridge.
Weather: overcast in the morning. The
sky opens up partly in the early afternoon. Some rain near Ragusa in
In the morning I try to use the smartphone in hotspot tethering mode to
download my emails to my computer, but I get the message that there is
not enough credit on my SIM card for this operation. The Vodafone SIM
card has 3.53 Euro on it, so Vodafone must be charging more than this
if you use the smartphone as a modem for the computer. It's interesting
that they manage to detect that somebody is using the smartphone as a
modem, but what's not acceptable is that they charge an extra 4 Euro
for this, since there are 250MB/week which are available, and why on
earth are they prohibiting me to use this data volume to download
emails to my computer?
Since the sky is overcast we're not in a rush to see the temples. So we
leave the B&B late at 11:30am and spend some time initially
exploring Agrigento. What we see is not that bad or uninteresting. Some
parts of Agrigento are quite interesting, for instance those old,
broken down houses, kids playing on the alley, staircases going up and
down. Every now and then a building or a church with an interesting
baroque style facade. It's a pity we don't have that much time and that
with a small child we can't walk that much.
Around 1pm we finally start driving towards the temples. On the way we
stop at a bank to get some cash.
The temple area is not far from Agrigento, actually only a few km. It's
a challenge initially finding a parking for the car. There is no
parking near the main entrance we first reach, but there are street
signs pointing towards a parking further on. We drive a bit towards the
parking, then stop somewhere wondering how on earth the parking can be
so far away from the main entrance.
We drive back, to see if perhaps there is a parking closer to the main
entrance which we missed, but find nothing so just drive to the
parking. We start exploring the temples at 2pm.
This parking costs 3 Euro, but we notice that you can just park the car
outside on the street for free, so we do that. We get out of the car,
and cannot find a path to the main entrance, so just walk along the
street. Later we realise that inside tha parking there is a gate where
you can buy tickets for the temples and which gives you access to a
path to the temples.
The ticket to the temples costs 10 Euro, kids pay nothing. The ticket
counter does not have a map of the area, but later I find out that
there is a WLAN network on the temple compound which you can use for
instance with a smartphone and which provides information and a guide
to the area.
Essentially the Agrigento temples site is split into two parts: an
upper part with the very well preserved Concordia temple and two other
less well preserved temples and a lower part with a large number of
ruins but without a complete temple structure. The site is a bit
smaller than I had imagined it.
It's forbidden to actually enter the temples, as there are
encirclements around them. So all you do is walk to them and around
them. In the lower part you can walk among the structures or what is
left of them.
We are in the compound until after 4pm, then get out when it starts
getting darker (the sun is too low to illuminate the temples properly).
It's almost 5pm when we start driving towards Ragusa. There is no
motorway connecting Agrigento with Ragusa, so it takes over two hours
to cover the 130km separating the two cities.
It's not an easy drive, as after dark the road is not illuminated and
it is difficult to recognise. You need to use the spotlight to safely
recognise the road.
We drive directly to a Chinese restaurant in Ragusa (the only one in
Ragusa), which we found with the smartphone while driving. The food
this time is not that impressive, but fills the stomach. We reach the
hotel around 8:40pm.