Trapani - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

March 31, 2019

Trapani

Last day of March, and a beautiful one too - sunny, with a high of about sixty.  Very similar to yesterday.  A great day for a ride, but before we go there let’s have an update from the news desk.  We have a few things to report:

  • First, about the GoPro mount.  We found a suitable one that you can order from Amazon and have delivery in Italy, so we’ve done that.  We’re having it delivered to our hotel in Caltagirone, about a week down the road.  So, no videos for a while yet but they’ll be coming before you know it.
  • Second, about that missing bicycle pump.  You didn’t know it’s missing?  I see I forgot to mention that yesterday in my rush to wrap up the post before midnight.  Well, we lost a pump somewhere along the way and discovered it yesterday morning on the way to Scopello.  I keep mine strapped to the frame, but the strap popped or was left loose somehow and the pump disappeared.  We watched for it on the ride back to our hotel last night, but obviously without success.  We have a backup, but still we should replace it.  So, instead of looking for a camera store in Trapani we’ll look for a bike store.
  • Finally, the Team Statistician wishes to report that Rachael was especially impressive during our Portland residency.  In ten weeks she went riding on 49 days and covered over two thousand miles, for an average of 41 miles per ride.
  • Scott’s record in Portland was nearly as impressive, but unfortunately the Team Statistician didn’t keep accurate metrics on Scott’s many ambitious rides.  We’ll have to just take his word for the fact that he did the Anderson Team proud by his efforts.

Today is a traveling day.  We’re uprooting and moving to Trapani, a port city on the northwest coast.  On the way, we stopped to admire the ancient temple  at Segesta, one of Sicily’s renowned Greek ruins.   The unfinished temple is a remarkable structure, standing almost unharmed by the passage of 2,500 years.  We came this way on our first tour of Sicily, but it doesn’t seem excessive to visit it twice in one lifetime, does it?  

Since we’ve been here before, I’ll save some time and point you to Our first visit to Segesta.  You should look at it now, as we should have today also - or at least we should have consulted the guidebook on our Kindle.  It would have reminded us that there are two major sites at Segesta.  The other is the equally well preserved amphitheater, which we missed completely this time.  That’s one of the problems with returning to a place - stupidly, I relied on my memory and forgot what I’d forgotten.

If you’re careful about your route selection Western Sicily is a spectacular place to ride, with many miles of nearly empty roads through the interior.
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Nearly all of the motorized traffic sticks to the modern, efficient highways and leaves the older roads almost empty.
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Rachael executes a test by first texting and then phoning me to validate that the message appears on our GPS. It looks like it will work great.
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Lone Pine
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Near Segesta. The famous Doric Greek temple is just off the frame to the right, sitting isolated in a field and visible from several miles away.
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The Temple of Segesta is believed to have been built in about 520 BC, but never completed. It is hard to believe that it has survived in this state for almost 2,500 years.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesIf you build it really well it will last.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesIf succeeding civilizations don’t raze it or part it out to build something else, that is. Maybe it’s like the remarkable ruins in Paestum. Those survived because they were overgrown and lost in the jungle for 2000 years so no one knew they were available for salvage.
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2 months ago
The Temple of Segesta
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The Temple of Segesta
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At this time of year, the wildflowers impress you nearly as much as the temple does.
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Looking east from the Temple of Segesta.
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We had plenty of time in our day for a walk up to see the amphitheater again, if we’d known to look for it or paid any attention to the signs. It’s a shame that we missed it, but it was a brilliant day anyway.  This corner of the island must be one of the best for cycling, as long as you stick to the old roads.  They carry no traffic at all, the scenery is fantastic, and it is so quiet that you can hear the herds of sheep grazing on the hills far off in the distance.  The thirty mile ride from Castellamare to the coast north of Trapani is as fine a ride as you could hope for.

The last miles south along the coast though are a rude awakening though, as you’re stuck on the narrow and rather busy coastal road with all of its fast moving traffic.  There are nice views of the sea as you bike along, but you can’t really enjoy them as you have to stay fully on task.  If we’re lucky enough to take this ride a third time some year, we’ll stay inland and cut south around the mountain of Erice, staying off the coast until right before Trapani.

Or, we’ll do that if I bother looking at our journal first to remind me of our past experiences. I think I’ll go reread it now, to see if I can relearn something that will help us in the coming weeks.  We’re in Trapani for two nights, so I’ll have more to say about it tomorrow.

Today’s was such a special ride, with mile after mile through scenery like this, on nearly empty roads. The best cycling imaginable.
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Our lunch break. It was so quiet out here that we could hear the donkeys we passed a few miles earlier.
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The flower display here at this time of year has to be seen to be believed.
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Mystery of the day
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Andrea BrownHoneywort (Cerinthe major)
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltUnable to find an image match, but the flower shape puts me in mind of heath.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownHoneywort! How great. I’ve never heard of it.
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2 months ago
It isn’t enough that we get to bike through such wonderful scenery all day - we get the advantage of a favorable wind as well.
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Looking north toward Monte Cofano. The whitish patches are a band of marble quarries.
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There should be at least one bike photo in here.
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Monte Cofano
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A closer look at the quarries
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That Rachael really knows how to have fun, doesn’t she? This shot also show how Monte Cofano seems to sprout straight from the sea.
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Trapani, a small city, has a large pedestrian zone weaving through its core. Even on this chilly evening, the streets are packed with strollers during la passagiata, one of the most endearing traditions of Italian culture. It’s always revealing to see what can change when you take the cars out of the picture.
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Trapani’s historical core is compact, built on a small spot surrounded by the sea, and is very vertical. So what is this door - about 20 feet high? Giants must have lived here once.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesOr maybe Giraffes?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesOh, well of course. It must have been the town zoo at one point.
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2 months ago
Palazzo Senatorio, today the town hall, is one of Trapani’s most recognizable buildings. It stands at the eastern end of Corso Vittorio Emanuale, the pedestrianized main avenue of the city.
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With a window seat at our restaurant on Vittorio Emanuele, we enjoyed the last moments of the evening’s passiagiata from our warm table, snug and out of the biting wind.
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Ride stats today: 40 miles, 2,700’; for the tour, 104 miles, 7,600’

Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 104 miles (167 km)

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