The Valley of the Temples and Mt. Etna

The Valley of the Temples and Mt. Etna

As you walk through the Valley of the Temples, just down from Agrigento you have an incomprehensible reverence for the Greeks who inhabited and worshiped in this area over 500 hundred years ago. They left some of the best preserved ruins in the world. Later, many years after the Greeks were gone, some of their temples were turned into churches, but the churches soon faded away and the original temples reemerged through weathering.  With just parts of the temples remaining, much of the splendor is left to the imagination.

I do not know why I picked Apollo out of the many God’s in mythological history, but I am certain Apollo, God of light and truth walked along a bit of the way with all of us. Possibly light, enlightenment, and truth are things I needed to explore in this valley.

We had a bit of a drive to Mt. Etna, so our guide said he could not really discuss the Mafia with us, but he did. Oh my, after exploring its ideology we found that it works all the way from the bottom to the top perfectly.  I’ll tell you my favorite story. When the elections are coming to fruition, the money from the bottom all the way to the top finances the candidate of choice.  Now, when it comes time to vote, the Mafia knows what you want, like a new motor scooter, a T.V., or an upgrade on the 90 day wait list to get needed medical attention. You get it and in return, you get an already filled in ballot. You take the marked ballot to the voting station. You get a blank ballot on which to vote. You turn in the already filled in ballot in the polling box and your responsibility is to turn in the blank ballot to your Mafia contact. So it goes. Having elected officials on your side is quite valuable wouldn’t you think?  They don’t kill anymore, so it is said, but you don’t say no to them because there are other consequences you will not like.  It works. Everyone gets what they need and want. How can you argue with what works and makes everyone happy?

The afternoon was spent climbing (in the bus) 6,500 feet into Mount Etna. We saw the effects of the 1984 pyroclastic flow. There was already a snow pack, so imagine white snow and black lava rocks. Beautiful.  Now imagine it starting to snow a little while you get out for a stop. This California girl had to stand out in it and then, it really started to come down hard. I was covered from head to toe in snow. Oh how wonderful, I thought, but it was not so wonderful for the driver of our bus.  The guide quickly gathered us and began to descend the mountain slowly and carefully.  We had no chains and we would have had to wait three hours for the snow plow, Visibility was altered.  Finally we crawled down out of the snow and came down, down, down, from Mt. Etna to the town of Catania.

The photo shows that the lava flow stopped just short of a school.

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