Sicily - Day 4: Erice to Marsala (by bike)

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On a clear day, the views from the top of Erice must be stunning, but it was not a clear day. Sarah and i got up early-ish to wander around Erice in an atmospheric but gloomy fog. This is a guess at our walking route.

a street in Erice

an alley made of stairs

wind and rain, near the entrance to Erice

looking off the edge of the city into the fog

we found this castle in the southeast corner of town

castle wall in the rain

castle steps

extremely windy castle courtyard - don't get blown off the mountain while taking a picture

more courtyard wall

this castle is literally on the edge of a cliff

seriously, why would you build a castle out here?

gardens attached to the castle

monument to some dude, near the gardens

leaving the castle and gardens, back on the streets of Erice

streets of Erice

a large building along via San Francesco

As the construction of Erice predates the practice of interviewing software developers, this manhole cover is square

more tile roofs with rocks on them

an alley

belltower in the fog

looking up the belltower

side of a building, with some sort of shrine

vertical intersection, in the fog

another side of this building (church? who can say)

close-up of the shrine

a street i cannot find on google maps, on which this building which i also cannot find on google maps is located

distinctive facade of the building i cannot find on google maps

inscription on a wall

After breakfast, we set out as a group to reverse the previous day's route, gliding down the mountain from Erice. We then set out across the plains into a strong headwind, riding as a group about halfway, then splitting up. I rode with Bill, David, and Tom to the coast, where we caught up with the others just as Joe and Scott were boarding a ferry to one of the nearby islands. The rest of the group went on to a Marsala tasting, but Dave, Sarah, and i decided to head straight to Marsala, where we relaxed for a bit before joining with the rest of the group. We went grocery shopping for supplies for the next day, then walked to a restaurant recommended by the hotel.

panorama at the bottom of the cloud cover over Erice

descending, we exit the cloud layer covering Erice almost immediately, and the difference is obvious

approaching the first switchback on the descent

the group, looking at the view

the view east to Monte Cofano in the morning

the road ahead

the road and valley below

Monte Cofano - i think the low land visible behind it is San Vito lo Capo, the northernmost tip of Scopello's peninsula

Dave, ready to ride

looking down towards the coast

the valley east, seen from a switchback

today's installment in Chaos's occasional Sicilian graffiti series

this is the last iconic view of Monte Cofano, i promise

looking back up the mountain as we descend

all done with big mountain

Scott, by the roadside

looking back at Valderice

another small town in the shadow of Erice

our route intersected with these train tracks several times

train tracks in context

my bike odometer fell off and i had to run back for it, giving me a chance to snap a shot of this sign: 50 kph, no trumpets

We had more instructions not to go to Fulgatore today. We concluded that these windmills must be in Fulgatore

Sicilian countryside

at a road crossing under a bridge, we encountered some difficulty

this is our route

So, that's pretty much not happening

we hung out by the bridge and looked at the view while Sarah scouted an alternate route.

on our alternate route, with bonus sheep


David and Tom contemplate our next route instruction

members of the party, approaching

members of the party, still approaching

Castelvetrano! We're getting close! Maybe there are olives in this picture! (Spoiler: there are not.)

more windmills

today's riding was through a lot of open fields

riders on the road ahead

Tom, in the Italian countryside

a train!

us, waiting at the train crossing behind a long line of angry drivers

suddenly, we reach the water (an inlet behind a barrier island on the west side of Sicily)

a sailboarder

we wondered briefly about the nature of these mysterious manmade barriers in the water

It turns out they're salt flats! In the background of this picture, you can see enormous mounds of salt

more salt flats

a flock of kitesurfers over the island!

Looking south along the coast, we see fishing boats and the Marsala skyline

Pier and boats along the coast

The fishing boats again - now they are to our north, because we have moved

Looking out to sea at boats and barrier reef - we are pretty close to Marsala now

I'm not sure what the island visible behind the reef is - maybe Favignana? Anyway, it's off to the west

Dave and Sarah try to figure out directions to a bike shop in Marsala

apartment buildings outside of Marsala

lion above the arch of a building next to our hotel in Marsala

This building next to our hotel, possibly a former convent, was having a a modern art exhibit. This is an interior courtyard with a wall exhibit made of pipes

The attached historical archive is temporarily closed to the public

front of our hotel

view from our hotel room window, into a courtyard between several buildings

exterior of the building with the art exhibit, in twilight

the camera isn't lying - the sky actually was this color when we left for dinner

facade of the mother church, which we passed on the way to dinner

round ceiling of our restaurant

vegetarian sampler plate - everything on this platter was terrific

squid, mussels, and pesto - also pretty terrific

beef and potatoes, sadly not so terrific - the sauce was tasty, but the beef was overcooked to no good end

a street in Marsala at night

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