Sicily - Day 3: Scopello to Erice (by bike)

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A slow start in Scopello, allowing the whole group to leave at once. We split up during the gorgeous descent to the Golfo di Castellamare, and i rode with Scott and Joe for the first climb, past Segesta. Our route repeated a segment from the previous day, through the woods and into Buseto Palizzolo, where we stopped for a late lunch at a bar and i successfully used my tourist Italian to get us food. We met up again in Valderice, before the big climb up the mountain to Erice. After arriving, we went to a pastry shop for hot chocolate, cappuchino, and souvenirs, then met up with David, Tom, and Bill for a great dinner at the hotel restaurant.

view from hotel window in Scopello

The hotel room window had a complex mechanism with about six different types of hardware to unlatch and open various parts of the window. Sadly, it was impractical to take it home as a souvenir

hotel corridor, despite appearances not actually the entrance to the changing area of a spa

Dave, standing in a storage area to avoid the sun until we are ready to get underway

Tom and Sarah, ready to get underway

view from the street in front of our hotel

view from the street in front of our hotel

lining up for a mass start

and they're off!

more mass start footage

approaching the camera...

...fleeing the camera

Our mass start is short-lived due to uncertainty about directions. Is this the arch we're looking for?

looks pretty arch-like

we find our direction and are rewarded with another view of the sea

also some plants and rocks and things

more sea!

Bill, watching the bikes as we go into the grocery store for supplies (i got several slices of fantastic salami at the deli, which came in handy later during our ride)

looking back past the market at the mountain behind Scopello

Dave and Sarah return from downhill

an inland cliff visible from our grocery stop

Scott looks at the view during our descent towards the Golfo di Castellamare

we see windcatchers or something else sparkly in this valley (needless to say, it doesn't show up on camera)

inland across the valley

inland towards the mountain

we've reached the water

David, Tom, and Bill stop to check out this beach; Joe, Scott, and i keep going

houses and a tower

buildings on the hillside

Tom and David, waiting by the beach

Scott, and the road behind

goats by the roadside, not posing for the camera in the way that goats don't

I pulled over on SS-187 to get this last view of the north ocean before we left it for several days

valley panorama

a ruin behind a field of crops

a field and the road behind

the road ahead

Scott and Joe take a break at the side of the road

fields in the valley

my bike, at the side of the road with cliffs above

my bike, in the happy days before the mud

this signage was confusing and did not match our cue sheets very well

a quarry

train bridge under which our route passed

seriously, how cool is this bridge?

close up of one of the eyes of the train bridge

train bridge and highway overpass meet at infinity (possibly slightly closer)

looking back at the highway bridge and train bridge

ruins on a hilltop

view into the valley

Joe and Scott ride up from Bruca

in the interest of time, i had intentionally walked up the steep-hill shortcut we found by accident the day before

Joe, riding

Scott, riding

Don't try this at home. Or, really, anywhere.

Part of the intriguing mechanical systems series, this toilet flushed by turning a handle 90 degrees, like a sink faucet



first view of Erice - we're going to the top of that?

water, island, and buildings by the south foothills of Erice

this picture is a little hazy, but it shows the islands and salt flats we're going to see the next day after leaving Erice

we continue to contemplate Erice

It's kinda mountainy-looking. Maybe we should stay home.

we could just go to Trapani instead

Valderice, the larger town at the beginning of the climb to Erice

the street in Valderice

Dave, Sarah, Scott, Joe, and i regroup in Valderice to prepare for the climb

building facade with clock and bells

First view of this big rock (which turns out to be called Monte Cofano) as we start to climb

Sarah, on the road ahead

See that rock up there? We are going up there. Looks kinda far up.

View north near the beginning of the climb

Clouds overhead as we approach a switchback

Sarah on the road ahead

Monte Cofano from a little further up

Hills to the east - one of these must be the mountain we were futzing around on our way to Scopello and back

View out to sea from a little higher up

Stone guard wall on the road behind

Last view back to Monte Cofano and the mountains

Coastline to the north east

Sarah, on the road behind

Sarah, with approaching traffic

mountains to the east

we're making progress

castle on top of the mountain

it's a long way down now

view out to sea

we noticed Joe and Scott on a lower switchback, and waited for them

mysteriously, a twisty maze of switchbacks has appeared below us

fields and roads as we approach the top (approaching the top takes awhile)

finally there - a view from my hotel room to a rooftop courtyard below

alley in Erice, from hotel room

we saw these rocks on the tile roofs of a number of buildings, and wondered about them - are they to keep the tiles from blowing away?

my hotel room, populated by Dave and Sarah

our bikes, in an interior courtyard

closer look at the rooftop courtyard

tiles above the reception desk

close-up of a tile

we wander around Erice in the dark waiting for the others to arrive

a street in Erice

door of a building

anonymous yellow members of our party, in Erice

we climbed 5700 feet; we shouldn't have to choose between red and white wine

extremely tasty couscous tabouleh

My notes say our appetizers included cheese with sardines, cured beef, multiple types of cured fish, and prosciutto and melon. Almost certainly, this bowl had pasta in it rather than any of those things. But at least the bowl is a nifty shape

veal, in a terrific eggplant and garlic sauce

passito! still my favorite dessert wine

after dinner, we went out onto the rooftop courtyard we'd seen before

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