tuftears: Thoughtful Lynx (Thoughtful)
[personal profile] tuftears
Readers, I managed to get some sleep and I was finally revived! It was a huge weight off my back.

It was, granted, five hours, but I had a medically guaranteed formula for getting to sleep now, and a decongestant that seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping coughing at bay without interfering with aforementioned sedative.

So, refreshed with sleep, I proceeded to refresh myself with breakfast while the ship was en route to Trapani, Sicily.



This is breakfast. It was 'egg hollandaise'. It was delicious. Not the sort of thing I am likely to eat on a regular basis, but well, this was a vacation. There were roasted tomatoes on the side as a feeble attempt to balance out the carbs and fats.



On my way down, I passed the continental breakfast tray and noticed this utterly delicious looking pastry. Could it be?... Yes. Yes it was. It was a small apple turnover, and it was also very tasty.

Dracosphynx teased me about being a pony, but I cannot be alone in enjoying these treats, can I?

We disembarked from the ship onto the nearby pier, where we boarded the tour bus and were taken in short order to the remarkably intact Doric temple in the ancient city of Segesta.



The bus dropped us off at the archaeological site where we faced a walk up this hillside. The temple peeked at us warily from behind a line of bushes.



Closer to the temple! It was a pretty steep climb. I wouldn't want to be someone in a wheelchair making the climb. Actually in general, not a lot of places were all that wheelchair friendly, what with stairs, steep hills, and the like. It's not like there were any rules enforcing it back when they were built, so they sort of get exempted by the 'grandfather clause'.





Behold, an ancient temple! I focused the picture of the sign on the English part, but I'll transcribe the first bit:

"The big Temple of the city was a Greek-Sicilian peripural temple of 6x14 columns. After the mining of the colonnade, the construction remained incomplete, probably due to the occupation of the city by the Carthaginians in 409 B.C., the debated cell, of which today there is no remaining trace on the surface had been planned and started as shown by some traces of foundations found during recent excavations. ..."



See these tabs on the blocks? The temple was apparently made from sandstone and these tabs would have been broken off once the temple was completed, and the columns would have been flutted. The paper I have says that the temple also lacks a 'cella' or 'naos', which is the inner chamber of a temple in classical architecture, and was never roofed over.



Let me quote the paper: "Segesta was one of the major cities of the Elymian people, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicily. Little is known about the city under Roman rule, but it is probable that the population gradually moved to the port city of Castellammare del Golfo due to the better trading opportunities.

The city was eventually destroyed by the Vandals. The ruins of the city are located on the top of Monte Barbaro where the hilltop offers a view over the valley towards the Gulf of Castellammare.

The city controlled several major roads between the coast to the north and the hinterland. Current archaeological work indicates that the site was reoccupied by a Muslim community in the Norman period. Excavations have unearthed a Muslim necropolis and a mosque from the 12th century next to a Norman castle. Evidence suggests that the mosque was destroyed after the arrival of a new Christian overlord at the beginnings of the 13th century. The city appears to have been finally abandoned by the second half of the 13th century."


The hillside looks remarkably innocent of all this history, all considered. It must have been pretty thoroughly destroyed.



Behold, me at the Doric temple! Yes, I'm wearing a "Lynx" headband. It kept the sun off my face, but I also made sure to use plenty of sunscreen. Also, yes, that is a lolcat T-shirt. This image, specifically.



This display of dolls was in the gift shop for the archaeological area. Looks to me like the idea is you can buy as many as you want (or can afford) to set up your very own Nativity scene, from just the core family to all the residents of the nearby inn.

We re-embarked on the tour bus and started up to Erice!

...

An hour later, I had this view of the slope beneath us.



I'd wanted to get a better picture of the mountainside from Erice, but the weather conspired against us, so glad I didn't delete this picture!



Welcome to Erice! It's a town built at 2463 feet above sea level on Mount Erice, overlooking the city of Trapani. The paper claims that it was associated with the Greek hero Eryx. "Because of its special strategic importance it was the object of recurrent conflicts from ancient times, and in particular of the wars between Greeks and Carthaginians, and was destroyed in the First Punic War by the Carthaginians."



Here's a map of Erice. There don't seem like a lot of streets... But what this map doesn't tell you is that it IS built on a mountaintop so the actual vertical nature of the streets are yet to be revealed.



According to Wikipedia, on the left we have the Tower Chiesa Madre, and on the right, the main church for the town.



Tramping about in the town, I had this rare opportunity to take a picture of two vanishing points! It's a classic perspective for art.



This isn't even the narrowest street... Dracosphynx has a picture of that.



We were on our own for lunch! Dracosphynx asked the tour guide for recommendations, and we wound up here.



This is my first time having spaghetti alla carbonara. The noodles are distinctly thicker and tougher than the American version would be, but that makes them much more satisfying as well.

I had grilled vegetables on the side, split with Dracosphynx. They were excellent! And those odd white vegetables behind the seared zucchini? They are grilled eggplant - the best that I have ever had. Seriously, I've never had eggplant like that before. They are great! I'm not a big fan of eggplant in general because whenever it gets served out here in the States, it's this soft squishy vegetable that feels like you're chewing on foam rubber. This stuff is also 'al dente' - 'to the tooth'.

The only downside was the breadsticks-- you're looking at them behind the plates. They were little crunchy cracker-like sticks in a silvery wrapper. I'd have liked to see freshly baked bread sticks.





We'd planned to snap pictures from the lookout point near Pepoli castle, but the weather was not cooperating with us. These clouds rolled in fast. In general it seems like mountaintops have their own weather systems; we could see clouds being swept overhead visibly, just as if it were one of those timelapse scenes in movies.

Of course, 30 minutes later, the sun had revealed itself. But we didn't feel that we could walk over to the look-out point, then back, in time-- the streets were simply too steep and winding, and the strong winds near the look-out point made that somewhat hazardous as well.



A picture of me taken by Dracosphynx!

There was an option to take a cable car down to Trapani, but unfortunately the winds were too high and the cable car was closed, so the bus took a later departure down to make sure everyone got on.



Back in the ship, I feasted on the one souvenir I had picked up in Erice: this apple gallette from a highly recommended bakery. It was delicious!

Stop looking at me and making pony noises, Dracosphynx. -_-

Dracosphynx had also picked up pastries, but his review of the assortment of miniature cookies was that they were all way too sweet for him.



We flopped about the cabin/the ship for a while. Dracosphynx captured this picture of me actually examining the Tauck tour guides and considering future vacation plans. "Is this really Fluffyshy?" he jested. "You're considering going out of your leash range again!"



Then... Dinner!



Gaspacho is served cold, so this wasn't really all that appealing.



This salad was delicious though. Few things will fail to be delicious when you add a nicely poached egg and some savory slices of duck breast to them.



I vaguely recollect this as being the 'steamed cod-fish, basmatic rice, and tomato sauce'. It was not all that great.



Raspberry entremet-- a mousse-based cake! With lots of little dabs of... sauces... Because the chefs are French-trained and enjoy showing off.
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tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Default)
Conrad "Lynx" Wong

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