Syracuse

Grotto at Cordari

Syracuse to Agrigento

Car survived the night intact. Cool. Loaded up the gear and said goodbye to the nice folks and friends at the hostel. Good bunch there made by the guests sharing their food…would have been nice to spend a few more days. Got the phone synced with the car so the GPS lady, while not always correct in her direction, was certainly never in doubt. The added volume made me really want to believe her. In this manner Sicily unfolded with the clarity of myopic bat. To be fair, most of the time it worked well. Avoiding city centers would certainly be a prudent use of time as seeing the same scenery go by again and again when lost can test the faith of even the most devout believer in modern electronics.. 

Amphitheater still in use

Made it to Syracuse to see the Greek and Roman ruins of two amphitheaters. The larger of the two had been pressed into service by some determined souls. They had constructed a bleacher system of wood and aluminum over the ancient seating area. Lighting and sound had been installed by using a system of pipes clamped together to form free standing structures to place the antique par 64’s on as well as the modern counterpart, moving lights. Should put on quite a nighttime extravaganza. Wondered how the shows compared to those daytime games of long ago. Perhaps not so exciting for some. 

Many of the rock formations around the area were spectacular with grottos and caves lending interest to the area.

Read the sign

The area also had shaded walkways which gave a much needed relief from the heat.

Ahhhh…shade

In days gone by criminals were punished in such an amphitheater. Overheard a local guide fielding questions related to how the punishment would fit the crime. He said that the larger the crime…the smaller the animals used to perform the execution. One young boy wanted more detail. Guide said that if the crime were heinous then perhaps they would use wild dogs instead of say, lions. I can just picture several dozen really pissed off, hungry chihuahuas descending from the stands ready to bark the poor ax murderer to an untimely death. Such was the chance one took in the ancient Roman Empire when one acted up. The ruins before us were deeply chronicled about such events. 

Remains of the early penal system

Felt a little foolish as I had to backtrack to Cataina to save half an hour on the next three hour jaunt to Agrigenta. Country side was pretty spectacular with bands of rain and dappled sunlight through a countryside which resembled parts of Montana and Colorado. Again, the rains of a couple of weeks ago had greened everything up. Azaleas were blooming as well as lots of other flowers planted artfully along the sides of the highways. Kind of like driving though one of those Italian masterpieces one might see hanging on the wall in some up tone museum. Surreal in that respect.

North of Syracuse

The blyth spirit of the ride was rather harshly punctuated by some folds on the dived two land highway. For starters the speed limits are set unrealistically low. One is supposed to go about 60mph, or 100 to 110 KMP. Porsche’s and BMW’s would come screaming up behind you flashing their light and expecting you tot just speed up and pass the truck you were steadily passing to accommodate them. Interesting to see them slam on the brakes at the last moment as one steeled oneself for the pending impact by pressing one’s head tightly against the headrest. Oddly enough they never hit me as I bumbled along enjoying the scenery. They must have excellent brakes in those high end automobiles.

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