Monday, October 22, 2012

Valley of the Temples

Another day, another hotel. Breakfast and my no-charge disposable swimsuit from hell seem like ages ago. The really major selling point of the hotel in which I am currently sitting is that they have Sky TV which has numerous channels in English. (Or, more precisely, a bunch of channels dubbed into Italian, on which you can change the “Lingua” to “Originale.”) To this point, in each hotel, we’ve had one or, at most, two news stations in English. (Man, CNN really has it in for Lance Armstrong.) I am so excited to have something other than news on in the background. I’ve just enjoyed me some Simpsons while working on the journalling. It’s the (very) little things in life that make me happy.

Today, after departing the hotel/spa, we went to Agrigento, which was a pretty big ancient Greek city back in the day. (The day being ballpark 450 B.C.) We had a two-hour tour through the Valley of the Temples, so named because, well, we saw three Greek temples in varying states of preservation. Our local guide through the sights was a teensy bit annoying; she normally teaches English to kids as young as 7, and I think she hadn’t had a tour of adults in a while, as she was talking to us as if we were about 8. (She also may not have been entirely accurate. She told us the first temple we saw was a Temple of Hera; a sign next to the temple, however, said that it was “wrongly attributed to Hera.”)

So, our photos are of the Temple of Probably Not Hera....

followed by the Temple of Concord (called that because some writing about Concord was found nearby, and they don’t know who the temple was originally intended for either)

and, lastly, a Temple of Hercules. (Again, I question the name. The Greeks would have called it a Temple of Herakles, not Hercules. But I can see that this is too fine a distinction for my Elementary School tour guide.)

Thereafter, we had lunch at a restaurant with a spiffy view of the Temple of Concord, which was a pretty awesome place to eat lunch.

Then, we got back on the bus and drove to Caltagirone and went to a ceramics (majolica) workshop. I’ll be honest with you – this wasn’t my thing. The artisan actually throwing the bowls was really talented and could, in just a few minutes, create a genuinely beautiful structure out of a lump of clay, and that’s pretty awesome. But the traditional patterns of painting them (and in bright colors) just didn’t work for me. So, the stop in the workshop’s shop didn’t have much appeal for me – although several others in our tour dumped quite a few Euros there.

And back into the bus, which gets me to updating the journal while watching the Simpsons in our next hotel.

(Aside: Netbook just crashed for no damn reason. I had gone back and forth over whether to take the netbook on this trip or to try my tablet instead. I may be regretting the “netbook” call.)

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