Entry #19 June 6, 2011
Our last day was extremely long and we had a lot of ground to cover before we returned to Palermo for our last night before a very early morning alarm clock and our departure to the airport for our flight to Rome, then back to Atlanta and then home.
Our bus rolled at 7:05AM from the "Bishop's" hotel and we arrived about 3 hours later at Agrigento for our tour of the Temples in the "Valley of the Temples" (it's not really a valley but a ridge). Agrigento is aptly named for there is lots of farming done in this region. The Greek Temples were built in the 500 BC time frame and include Hera, Concordia, Hercules, Zeus, Castor, and Poliux. Most are in ruins from either natural disasters or from the theft of the stones for building more modern structures in Agrigento. The Temple of Concordia is the most complete and is very impressive. Archeologists have uncovered the pieces of the massive pillars shaped like giants from the largest Tempe of Zeus (now completely in ruins) and have reassemble them in a prone position. We learned from our guide (a professor, and a far cry from our other flamboyant local guides) that the people buried their dead in the walls that were built on the hillside. We sat under the shade of a 1,000 year old olive tree (that is still bearing fruit) and soaked in the ancient culture. After a refreshing ice-cream, we reboarded the bus for the trip to a farm where we would have a late lunch.
It was refreshing to get out into the country air after the two and a half hour drive and after a warm welcome, we sat right down to a huge repast which lasted for nearly 2 hours. After a group picture, we were ready for another bus ride to our last stop (yes there was still more!) the Archeological Site where there is another Greek Theater. This was a relatively close bus ride, but we had to climb a step road to get to the theater. Fortunately a park bus took us back to the meeting place and Tom trekked his way up a hill to the last site of another Greek Temple. It was quite late when we arrived in Palermo and a snack was enough for us after the lunch at the farm.
Morning was too early but we headed out to the Palermo airport with Ramona and Eliot who shared a cab with us. The flight to Rome from Palermo was quick and it was great to see the Delta Jet waiting to take us home to the USA. Customs and baggage in Atlanta was smooth and efficient. Our scheduled flight to Rochester was later, so we had a wonderful "welcome home" dinner of a good old fashioned hamburger and fries. We doubt if we will be having pizza any too soon! We had a first-class upgrade on the flight home to Rochester and after collecting our luggage, we rolled into our house a bit past midnight and slept soundly after the 30 hour day of travel.
Our next trip? Argentina and Antarctica in November - IF the volcano in Chili calms down. Of course we have yet another trip planned after that (not counting Florida in January and February). We know this will be fun because we're taking our two grandsons to Panama on Spring break. See you all on our adventures!