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Sicily - Agrigento/Trapani/Marsala

ITALY | Saturday, 13 July 2013 | Views [789]

July 11

Breakfast in the window watching the renovations across the road.  Sand, cement, rocks and steel and a winch in the upper window to pull up the buckets of concrete. (Sabbia, cemento, pietre e acciaio e un verricello nella finestra in alto a tirare su i secchi di cemento). See the language is no barrier.  Dragged our cases down the road to the car as there was no way we could park in front of the hotel - not to mention get around THAT corner again Although I know it would have been ok. Drove through Ragusa Alta up hill in peak traffic for what seemed like 30 min, cars going and coming from everywhere, I think Michelle fell asleep.  Drove through mountains to Agrigento found a parking spot in the 35 C heat and got a taxi to the top of the Valley of the Temples park - great move as most of the main ruins are on the East end.  Incredible structures or what's left of them especially Tempia della Concordia constructed around 430 BC.  Lots of tombs built into the city walls. Took around 2 h and well worth it esp as we were walking downhill.  Drove on to Marsala where we were lost for a few minutes and then eventually to Baglio Oneto about 20 k out.  This is a hotel/resort surrounded by vines and olive trees on top of a hill overlooking the distant ocean and Trapani, with a pool, car parking :), restaurant, winery and good rooms.  Took in the view with some replenishing liquids following the long drive 4 h! then showered and dressed to impress for dinner.  After dinner we were invited to a Marsala tasting in the winery (at cost) so joined a Swiss family where we tasted Zibbibo - only grown in Sicily but Michelle disagreed as we also grow it in the Ovens Valley. Think I better check? Of course we do - Brown Bros and others.  Also tasted the marsala not what either of us expected and not as fruity as the Zibboboibo (whatever that is). They also provided a piccolo dessert and cheese platter.  Turned out the Swiss family had also stayed in the same hotel in Ragusa. 

July 12

After a good breakfast (there was bacon and eggs and cereal) we headed off to Trapani. We had asked at the desk about parking, which is a huge problem in all these medieval towns. Concierge told us to park at the port which was free. Found the park easily enough, but was conned into tipping some random guy who was running around showing people which parks were free. Went to the closest hotel for a town map and some directions to the funicular which would take us up to Erice. Started to walk, but found the going too hot and too far. Caught the bus the rest of the way up the hill. The people at the bus stop and on the bus were so very friendly and helpful giving us direction of where to hop off and where to find the entrance to the cable car. The cable car!! The steepest longest ride in the world. Arrived at the top of the hill/mountain with several other thousand tourists, baking hot. Wandered around town, delicious lunch of couscous and fish which Marsala is famous for. Found the famous cake shop mentioned in lonely planet and of course bought some cakes and found a shady spot to eat. Time to return to Marsala. Back to the cable car for a very windy trip back down the hill. Not Michelle's favourite travel experience. Driving home decided to stop at the local supermarket to get some supplies. Forgot that all the shops shut until 4.15. Or vaguely sometime after that when they turn up, like 4.25. Bought some cheese and bread for a pre dinner snack. Went for a swim in the pool, which was fantastic in this heat. Talked to Eric as he is at Dorothy St.  He was complaining about the reduced food options and the 8 coffee mugs in the sink, but is ok awaiting his brother coming home for dinner.  Cameron arrived in S France and is coping with the driving ok just a little difficult finding a camping spot apparently, getting ready for Le Tour.  We had a delicious dinner back at the resort, steak and veal, but we have realised that they are continually up selling. Would you like to try this that or the other. To the tune of 12.00 euros for two small Marsala.

July 13

Hot. Talked to Eric after he sent a text of South Croydons 3rd quarter scores - eventual winners by 4 pts, That's 4 in a row Go Doggies.  Went for a drive for something to do!!  Drove into Marsala via the Conad (market for baguettes, lunch) checked out the waterfront and rocky beaches then back to the hotel-35C swim - "Open all day" - but not before 9 or b/w 12 & 3.30 or after 7pm, one does wonder sometimes. Big tour of the winery - old basket press and I think we counted maybe 6 barrels on view. OK so maybe the wine is made somewhere else.  Dinner in the outdoors again and were not up-sold.

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