Sicily - Day 6: Selinunte to Contessa Entellina (by bike)

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This was in many ways the most memorable day of the trip. Sarah, Scott, and i braved the rain (which had gone strong overnight but was tapering off by the time we left in the morning) to ride up the Belice Valley towards the center of the country. The first memorable thing about the day was the mud, which was, in turns, hilarious, disgusting, and demoralizing. Then our route took us past the old and new sites of several towns that were destroyed in a 1968 earthquake, and whose populations relocated entirely. Finally, between the mud and the various stops, we did not make good time on our 65km route, and were caught out substantially after dark, sharing a single set of lights which Scott was smart enough to have packed along. I want to put a warning on this page - i included a lot of photos of buildings (mostly houses) ruined by the 1968 earthquake and in various states of partial destruction. So as you scroll down, that's what you're going to see, and some of you might like to know that in advance.

view out the window of our room - it might be a wet day

view out the door of our room - flooding on the walkway

Casa di Latomie in the rain

our bikes in a stack - looks like we have reflective tape on the rims

cloudy sky behind bushes

sunrise at Casa di Latomie

sunrise panorama from Casa di Latomie

sunrise at Casa di Latomie

one more sunrise photo

rows of olive trees

olive trees by the roadside

tall grass by the side of the road

So... you know how it rained a bunch overnight a few photos ago? That's a thing that happened

Scott tries to stay out of deep water


the view from my handlebars

Sarah does not bother staying out of deep water

Sarah and Scott, underway

fountain outside of Partanna


A 14-fold symmetric design, or 'we just put some rocks in and didn't bother to count them.' Who can say?

sign appealing to the civic virtue of Partanna residents

slow down, purple flowers!

we stop at a bar in Partanna to make sure we're going the right way, and order espresso

mountain view from Partanna

panorama from the high point of Partanna

view from Partanna

Why is there a giant rolling pin here? Why did i take a picture of it? Life is mysterious

many many windmills, seen from Partanna

castle in Partanna's main square

church next to Partanna's main square

plant with bonus burrs of some sort

Partanna main square

plaque in Partanna main square

time to stop futzing around taking photos in Partanna and hit the road again

So, there's a scenic ruin here, and some mountains, but i'd like to draw your attention to the wild dog. I haven't said much about this yet in these photos, but wild dogs were kind of a problem for us, on this trip. This particular one was okay; it followed us, but never tried to attack.

after our leisurely stint in a hilltop town, we encounter... more mud


Sarah biking in the countryside

at this point, the mud started to get serious

also that dog was still following us

my front tire, caked in mud

these boots are made for getting covered in mud

my rear brake (waitasec, i might need that at some point)

we are no longer stealthy

Sarah was in the lead, and rode through a muddy patch... which she then promptly recommended that the rest of us walk through

a very welcome fountain, at which we stopped for awhile

the road behind

more directional signs

So, the concrete thing in the middle of the hillside is actually what it looks like - a town-sized patch of concrete. It's the ruins of the town Gibellina, which was destroyed (and relocated) after a devastating 1968 earthquake in West Sicily. The ruins of the old town were encased in concrete as a monument.

fields, next to a spot where we stopped to rest in the shade (notwithstanding the mud, it was very hot)

closer view of the Ruderi di Gibellina

more earthquake ruins


the Ruderi di Gibellina on their hillside

ruins of a building by the roadside

a cemetary

the Ruderi di Poggioreale - this was another town destroyed by the same earthquake, but the decision was made to keep the buildings in place as they were and let them decay

the Ruderi di Poggioreale on their hillside

A reassuring view of (Nuova) Poggioreale - the new home of the destroyed city

there are suddenly very many sheep on the road where we had just been biking

the sheep situation is under control

buildings in ruined Poggioreale

buildings in ruined Poggioreale

a building in ruined Poggioreale

a ramp

the main street

inside a building

through a door

a building

wiring at the corner of a building

side of a building

through a door

tree growing from a ruined building

interior of ruined building


cactus growing from a wall

interior of ruined building

interior of ruined building

graffiti in ruined Poggioreale


ruined building

town square

town square


ruined building

ruined building on the edge of town

looking down at Nuova Poggioreale from the ruined town

side street

part of an informational sign outside the town gate

back among the mud and hills as we leave the Ruderi di Poggioreale

careful inspection of my bike's chain revealed the surprising cause of the shifting trouble i'd started having

In Poggioreale, we stopped for some food, and also took our bikes to the carwash. Here's the 'before' shot


After! Of course, the car wash took off all the chain lube, but, still, having clean bikes was a big morale boost

the countryside, seen from our clean bikes

Sarah, enjoying the view from her clean bike

Again!? (the clean bike phase did not last very long)

another muddy hill (also note that it's starting to get dark)

we've arrived and showered, and get to enjoy the triumph of antipasti!

wagon wheel chandelier at dinner

plates and pans on the walls

Some sort of pasta. Everything our charismatic host Paolo served was very tasty

We chat with the other two people staying at the B&B, a pair of Dutch women who are touring with the same company we are

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