We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We flew into Palermo via Rome, and picked up our nice rental Peugeot there (at the end of our trip, we flew out of Catania in eastern Sicily. Is Alitalia a stupid airline? Yes. Just assume they will screw up something, and put up with it). Then we headed out of town to our first countryside tenuta, but detoured to stop at Segesta to check out the Greek temple (built 100 years before the Parthenon) and the Greek theater there. There is no mountaintop town there anymore. There is a crazy history of that ex-town.
That tall flower is wild celery - fennel - finocchio. It's in bloom everywhere in early May. Used a lot in Sicilian cooking.
One heck of a view from the mountaintop theater. Greeks knew how to position their theaters. It was important - theaters were their movies and TV, with some religion, music, etc. mixed in.
Tons more cool photo travelogue below the fold.
Our first tenuta was an old farm in western Sicily, converted into a B&B. All Sicilian B&Bs have some sort of breakfast, but you pay for dinner if you want it. However, you are in the country so there are no nearby alternatives. Here's the courtyard. Farms were built like fortresses, always with locking iron gates. The courtyard:
The rooms are converted stables, with the rings for tying horses or cattle still present. Really nice big bathroom.
We drove down to Trapani to take the ferry to Favignana, one of the Egadi Islands, where we rented bikes at the dock and explored around the island all day. It's like a Med Nantucket, before the rich yuppie invasion. Hydrofoil ferries.
Lovely island, Favagnana. The traditional Tonnara is gone due to overfishing, but there are still some Med tuna around. We biked out to Cala Rosso, where the bay tuned red with blood.
Cool little fishing boats in Favagnana harbor
Favagnana countryside, with large cows. Yes, that is an old bedspring used as a gate.
Cala Rossa, where the Greeks, and later the Romans, turned the sea red with the blood of the Phoenicians/Carthaginians. Sicily in the distance.
A Norman castle overlooks the town. Those Vikings wasted no time building fortifications - they are everywhere.
After our biking exploring, we stopped in town to share a good late lunch. Smoked Swordfish and Tuna, and other fish with pignolis, as a salad. Then she grabbed her usual Pistachio gelato on the street, and I had the Ricotta gelato.
Fishermen at the dock, with day's catch. Delicious-looking octopi, but they are darn chewy.
On our drive back from Trapani, we decided to stop at Erice, because you are supposed to. It was late, and high Erice was, as usual, in a cloud but we walked all around the little village, had a caffee and some pastry at famous Maria's, and did the scary mountain drive up and back down.
The Phoenician/Greek/Saracen/Norman/ medieval castle site, in the cloud
A Sicilian classic:
Somehow, with the Lord's help, we got back to our country tenuta in the dark in time for another excessive Sicilian dinner. I remember that the Primi was Couscous with Mint - remarkable, and wood-roasted Cinghiale ribs with roasted potatoes as the Secondi. Tasty indeed.
Next day we drove off to Selinunte. Huge archeological park there, we hiked around it and looked at old Greek stuff. Shame that earthquakes knocked down so many of the buildings and temples.