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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Sicily May 2013

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas November. 23, 2020


This trip to Sicily was a real eye opener. I knew it was the largest island in the Mediterranean, but had not realised how big. The people and the landscape, food and colour were outstanding and I would certainly go again. Partly through happy ignorance we ended up going to the lesser visited North West of the island. The more famous areas you see on films and dramas tend to be in the South East which would be a long trip from where we were, partly because of geography.


Back to the photos, these tiles below are not a roof in the traditional sense,




In the spring, water is pumped into the flats. The summer sun and winds evaporate the water until crystals form. Starting in July, burly men tanned as dark as leather break up the crystals, shovelling them into white mountains that glint in the bright, hot sun under an impossibly blue sky.


Windmills, which once pumped seawater and ground the salt crystals, still stand. They were likely of Turkish design, built when Sicily was under Spanish rule, around 1500 CE. The Phoenicians may have built the flats long before, to cure their fish. No one knows for sure; history is never simple for an island that’s been conquered over the centuries by Greeks, Arabs, Normans, and others.


I particularly like the "burly men tanned as dark as leather "bit, although it seems they had the day off when we were there. Under conquering groups, I am not sure if "others" alludes to tourists like us.




Trapani was the port that served the hill top town of Erice.






This spectacular night-time view is the result of pizza. "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie". We drove to a renowned pizza restaurant on top of a cliff which was quite a way off and the pizza was great, and not in our eye either. This view was the bonus.


Apart from Palermo back along the coast road, this area of Sicily is quite sparsely populated and the landscape mostly unspoiled.

The Italians are blessed with the sort of climate that causes buildings to react well to lack of maintenance and investment. Things tend to end up weathered and with character. In Northern Europe they would just rot and fall down. I expect that regular serious shaking of buildings, as the African land mass forces it's way under the Eurasian land mass right below the island doesn't exactly help either.


There is something not quite right about the window surround below, nothing seems to match up so I suspect this has been reused from another building at some point in the past.


A word of warning if you go and hire a car, never, never use the Sat Nav to cross a town, always go around. Do not go down a road unless you can see loads of other cars going down it ahead of you. We learned that lesson the hard way. You drive down a twisted funnel, that narrows to the width of your car, on a bend, only once. After that you tend to park at the edge of town and walk in.




The historic town of Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750 metres (2,460 ft) above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo San Vito to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands on Sicily's north-western coast.



There are ways to dry your garlic crop and display your wares for sale and then there are other ways.




These are the ancient Greek ruins, of the temple of Segesta. The origin and foundation of the town of Segesta is extremely obscure. The tradition current among the Greeks and adopted by Thucydides, ascribed its foundation to a band of Trojan settlers, fugitives from the destruction of their city; and this tradition was readily welcomed by the Romans, who in consequence claimed a kindred origin with the Segestans. Thucydides seems to have considered the Elymians , a barbarian tribe in the neighborhood of Eryx and Segesta, as descended from the Trojans in question; but another account represents the Elymi as a distinct people, already existing in this part of Sicily when the Trojans arrived there and founded the two cities. (wikipedia)

On a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta lies an unusually well preserved Doric temple. It is thought to have been built in the 420s BC by an Athenian architect, despite the city not having a large Greek population. The temple has six by fourteen columns on a base measuring 21 by 56 meters, on a platform three steps high. Several elements suggest that the temple was never finished.




More garlic and crazy bike loading. I particularly like the example below of a gesture towards health and safety, wearing a helmet, although with straps hanging loose so that in any accident it will be safely thrown clear of the wearer before any impact and remain undamaged. I will forever think of scenes like this in Sicily making it in my mind the Vietnam of Europe. To be fair this is amateurish compared to Vietnam when it comes to large loads on two wheels.


These trees appear to have been planned as perfect sun shades for the Fiat 500. In Britain we commonly buy tins of biscuits at Christmas that are larger than this car.




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