With Motorhome in Europe for a whole year - part 6
Tone and Finn Bjurvoll Hansen have spent a whole year in motorhomes. The tour has been all over Europe, and in each issue of Bobil and Caravan Magazine they tell about their experiences. Today, the story comes from the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean
We travel around the coastal road
After a good breakfast at the lagoon in Birgi Vecchi we said goodbye to our new friends and headed north along the coast again. The goal of the day was the beaches of Santa Margherita. There are relatively short distances in Sicily, so after half an hour we were parked at Baia Santa Margherita. This is also an area most suitable for free camping. In this area, it is not allowed to stand with a motorhome during the summer, ie what is considered a season in Sicily. Then the parking spaces along the beach are reserved for the bathing guests. Fairly understandable, here it would probably have been crowded with motorhomes in the summer if allowed. Not for that, standing there in the month of November is also just fine. Gentle winds, nice temperature and daytime sun create a nice setting for a day of beach walking and relaxation.
It's the Mediterranean as far as the eye can see when we look out of the windshield of the car. Behind us and on the sides we have beautiful mountain formations, and up one side is a small village. All along the beach you can walk on both roads and trails. Up in the mountainside lies the small village of Macari, and in the afternoon we strolled up to take this city for a closer look. This is a small town that lives on tourism in the summer with many small hotels and B & B's. Right at the church we found the local watering hole and it was packed with people. It is clear that Sundays are something special for people in Sicily, it is yet another day the Sicilians spend for pleasant socializing, and a little tour of the pub.
Farm produced wine
Well down in the car we get a visit from one of the local farmers. The English is so so, so grandfather brings his grandson as an interpreter. The farmer could offer goods from his farm. Here there were freshly squeezed olive oil, garlic marinades, almonds, and of course farm-produced Marsalavin tapped into one and a half gallons of water bottles. These are great experiences, and we had to trade some of what the farmer could offer. Talk about short food!
Scala de Turchi - the Turkish stairs
From the great experiences we had at Baia Santa Margherita we chose to set course south again along the coast. We would continue towards Agrigento and the Temple Valley. On the road is also a great attraction, Scala De Turchi, the Turkish stairs. Right at this attraction we found a campsite / motorhome parking, Punta Piccola Park. Again we were very lucky with location just a few meters from the beautiful beach. It was also quite easy walking distance to the Turkish stairs.
The Turkish staircase is not, as its name suggests, a staircase built by the Turks, but a natural phenomenon. A white limestone cliff that rises from the sea, which, yes, resembles a staircase. The whole cliff can actually be reminiscent of a large glacier. The stairs or cliff also changes in shape in the same way as a glacier. The limestone is slowly washed away by the sea, and it has been much larger than it is today. The rock itself is quite "porous", and everywhere you can see declarations of love carved into the limestone by couples in love.
As mentioned, it is not the Turks who have built some beautiful stairs, but a work created by nature itself. The reason why the rock was named Turkish Steps is from earlier times when pirates from Turkey and other Arab countries used the site as a port. Such a cliff lies one would think the place is unsuitable as a harbor, but this place is much less weathered than the south coast otherwise. In 2007, the Realmonte municipality asked for the rock to be listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. If you are in the area then this is something you should see!
Hiking in the Valley of the Temples
Just a mile's drive south from Pinto Piccola Park you reach Agrigento and Valle Di Templi, or the Valley of the Temples. Why it is called Temple Valley is somewhat uncertain, for this attraction is at an altitude. Maybe it's because the height of temples is in a valley. This is also listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List, and is well worth a visit. We have been to Athens in the past. Acropolis, but this is probably the same, if not more impressive edifice from the Greek era, about 500 years BC. It was easy to find, and in low season there is also plenty of space for large cars. You pull a parking ticket and pay when you travel - much like a regular parking garage. Then we pass some mandatory souvenir scraps before we reach the ticket booth. As with other major sights, there is scanning and security check before we get in. Absolutely fine and nice cops. It costs 10 Euro to get in, but we also get a combination ticket for the museum and the garden. We choose the temples and the garden, then it will be 15Euro.
Garden of Eden
In a gorge inside the area itself lies Giardino della Kolymbethra, a restored antique garden. This is a kind of garden of Eden with trees lined with lemons, oranges, grapefruit, lime, figs, plums and bananas. An aqueduct system provides enough watering for the fruit trees and vegetables grown. Valle di Templi is a big park and you have to calculate good time and good shoes, there is a lot to see and wonder about, at least if you are interested in history and construction. Here are the temples in honor of the Greek gods in succession, the best preserved are in honor of Heracles, Concordia, and Hera. The temple of Concordia is almost intact, and the reason is probably that it was used as a medieval Christian church. In front of the Temple of Concordia is also a bronze statue of Icaros - the one who became too haughty and flew too close to the sun so that the wax on the wings melted and he fell and drowned.
Here it is certainly a lot of interesting to see. As mentioned, one should calculate good time and wear good shoes. We spent a whole day in this beautiful park. Tired, but satisfied, we eventually walked back to the motor home.
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