Agrigento and the Valley of Temples

As you come down the long sweep of hills into the eastern side of Agrigento, you see the first temple on your right. The valley of temples is actually not a valley but a mountain ridge and it has six temples in varying degrees of completeness. All in all, this site is the best preserved site of greek temples – even better than in Greece itself. For once, we do the proper tourist thing: we park in a carpark (5 Euros), we take a taxi to the top (6 Euros), we pay the entrance fee (20 Euros) and really take our time walking back down past all these amazing temples. Even I, who normally think of archeological sites as just Piles of Stones, am impressed!

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It’s a blustery day, on the edge of raining, so we are almost on our own. Apart from the temples, this place has some other impressive sites: there are large ancient burial sites and there is a sunken garden called Kolymbetra, which, unless you are a member of the National Trust (I didn’t know that the National Trust has European affiliations!), it will cost you another 4 Euros each to enter but it’s worth it. It’s like an oasis, hidden from view until you happen upon it. We spend some time there, sheltering from the wind and rain that has now set in, admiring the neat orange and lemon groves (sneaking an orange or two, and therefore admiring their flavour too!) and the ancient watering system.

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On our way out, we get involved in a lengthy conversation with Irene in the ticket office. We tell her of our experiences with rubbish in Sicily and she sheds some new lights and shares her sorrow over this culture that is so lacking in interest to resolve this issue.

For more photos of this chapter, go to our flikr album


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