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Getting around

Part 6: Selinunte, Agrigento

22.12: Munich -> Catania
23.12: Acireale - Mt Etna - Acireale
24.12: Acireale -> Taormina -> Acireale
25.12: Acireale -> Aci Castello -> Catania -> Acireale
26.12: Acireale -> Villa Romana del Casale -> Palermo
27.12: Daytrip to Cefalu
28.12: Palermo
29.12: Palermo -> Monreale -> Palermo

30.12: Palermo -> Riserva naturale dello Zingaro -> Trapani
31.12: Trapani -> Erice -> Trapani
1.1: Trapani -> Marsala -> Trapani
2.1: Trapani -> Marsala -> Selinunte -> Agrigento
3.1: Agrigento -> Ragusa
4.1: Ragusa -> Modica -> Siracusa
5.1: Siracusa
6.1: Siracusa -> Catania -> Munich

2.1: Trapani -> 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 and 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 are free).

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 well preserved.

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 'trattoria').

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 the room.

3.1: Agrigento -> 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 the evening.

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.

Copyright 2013 Alfred Molon