The main city on Sicily's south coast, Agrigento is most famous for the "Valle dei Templi", the magnificent and expansive Greek ruins that lie just south of the city, in a valley between the city and the sea. I spent this afternoon exploring the ruins, and I spent a night in the town as well.
Not much to report about the majority of today's riding, as it was fairly uneventful. This morning I rode east (and slightly north) from Agrigento, headed inland and slightly into the mountains. I intended to take the highway directly to the inland city of Caltanissetta: but the signs out of Agrigento were a bit confusing, and I ended up instead taking a lesser route, which detoured through the town of Favara. Not to worry: I found the main highway soon enough; and it was a small and scenic (and less heavy-in-traffic) detour. The rest of the way to Caltanissetta — on the SS640 the whole way — was incredibly boring. I shouldn't complain, as the good-quality road, the tail wind, and the fair weather helped me eat up plenty of distance. But seriously: the boring (and rather arid and ugly) countryside, the lack of towns or buildings, and the repetitive (if gentle) ups and downs, combined to make this one of the most uneventful legs of my ride so far.
Seeing that I've done a record three nights straight of rough camping — and that I'm in a big city with plenty of eating and accommodation options — the time has come for a night of splurging. After a thorough exploration of the Valle dei Templi this afternoon, I rode into the city of Agrigento, and found myself a nice budget hotel in which to spend the night. I was looking for a B&B — it seems that around here, hotels and B&Bs are virtually the same price-wise, and have the same offerings, except that one includes a meal and one doesn't — but the hotel was the best I could find. Also, Agrigento is a nice enough place, but it seems that the ruins in the valley are the main attraction — the city itself is nothing special, and doesn't warrant more than a night's stay.
Along with easy terrain and fabulous weather, today was also a day of only a short time spent on the road. The reason: I was too busy to cycle much, as I had so many of these Sicilian Greek ruins to see :P. From Eraclea Minoa, it was another two hours or so of pleasant coastal riding, before I reached the big city of Agrigento, and its neighbouring site "Valle dei Templi" (lit: "Valley of the Temples") — probably the largest, the most impressive, and the best-known of all the archaeological ruins in Sicily. And it was lucky I got there by lunchtime: because the valley is quite expansive, and I needed several hours to explore it thoroughly, and to really appreciate it and to soak it all up. For any semi-serious visitor to Sicily, the Valle dei Templi is not to be missed: it may be a bit crowded (even in November), but it really does blow you away.
From my field near Sciacca, I continued east along the coast this morning, and passing by some random possible gum trees along the way. It was rather a hurried exit I made this morning, as the neighbours on the field spotted my tent — however, they didn't seem annoyed about it, they even walked past and said "good morning". Nevertheless, I didn't want to hang around and test their hospitality further: so at 7:50am, it was my earliest on-the-road start so far. The morning ride was glorious: as with yesterday, the Sicilian south coast continued to grace me with easy terrain, fine weather, gentle winds, and romantic Mediterranean scenery. My first stop for the day was the seaside Greek ruins of Eraclea Minoa.