Well it’s amazing what a difference that extra minute can make to your shower! Not only that, Howard and I devised a strategy. It was a quiet campsite, so Howard lurked by the ladies showers, while I picked my cubicle and undressed. When all ready to go, I shouted the command, and in went the token courtesy of Howard, and we were away. Shower completed, with all the lather removed, we did the same in reverse. No-one seemed to notice that Howard was showering in the ladies, but our system worked a treat. Sadly, we are back to three minute showers in our new campsite tonight, so we will see.
It’s remarkable the number of ‘broken’ card machines there are in Sicily. No-one wants to take cards – it is definitely a cash economy. Whenever we ask to use a credit card, the vendors face falls, and they tell us that the machine is either broken, or that there is no internet connection. The latter was the excuse used by the campsite owner as we left this morning, despite my phone clearly showing 4G!
Our first stop of the morning was the archaeological site at Selinunte. It hadn’t been in our original plans, but since it was literally a few miles back down the road from the campsite where we ended up last night, we thought we’d pop along and check it out. It turned out to be quite marvellous. The site consists of a fairly intact temple and an acropolis, sitting amongst many less well preserved antiquities. The site itself covers a huge area, such that they offer to take you on a little train to the various attractions – we declined. It was a beautiful morning, and all over this massive site were wild flowers in bloom – loads of bright yellow daisy-like plants, a deep purplish red miniature lupin, and beautiful yellow mimosa. In fact, this whole part of southern Sicily has flowering mimosa at every turn. The sight was very quiet, just the occasional other tourist. We put this down to the almost non existent signage to find it (we had just happened to stumble across it the night before), and it’s relative remoteness. But all the better for being almost deserted. We wandered first to the temple, and then the one kilometre or so across the site to the Acropolis, which sat looking out over the azure blue Mediterranean. These Greeks certainly knew the saying ‘Location, location, location!’ After satiating our appetite for temples, we moved on up the coast to a place called Marsala, on the south western tip of Sicily. As everyone knows, it is famous for it’s sweet dessert wine that originates from this area. But as well as that, along the whole stretch of the west coast, from Marsala up to Trapani, it is famous for the salt pans that litter this beautiful stretch of coastline. As we turned northwards from Marsala and drove along the coast road, we saw mile after mile of square salt pans, with large white piles of salt sitting on their margins. At one place we came to, there was a series of attractive windmills, that helped provide the energy for harvesting the salt. There were also long stretches of terracotta tiles laid out to dry. These are used to cover the salt piles once they have dried out, to protect them from the elements. These salt pans have been in existence since the Phoenicians, which is pre Ancient Greeks, I am reliably informed by my resident historian. They were certainly quite a sight, and all the more stunning with the sun reflected in the beautiful blue waters.
We made an executive decision at this point to pass on our original campsite, which would have meant us back-tracking, and instead move northwards to the very north western tip of Sicily. That effectively gives us a rest day tomorrow for walking or cycling, although having just seen the forecast, it speaks of heavy rain all day, so plans may change.
So far, I am enjoying the south western past of Sicily the most, largely because it seems much quieter and less commercialised than the glitzy baroque south eastern triangle. It has much more of an authenticity about itself, but that is not to say that I didn’t love the stunning amphitheatre in Taormina, or the architecture of Syracuse and Noto.
Tonight I am having to temper my disappointment though. Every review I have read about our current campsite raves about the wonderful on-site pizzeria. The owner has just informed us that it doesn’t open for the season until nest Wednesday – gutted. Totally gutted!