November 14, 2011 Selinunte and Menfi

After we go to Selinunte today, we’ve exhausted our possibilities here in Menfi. Originally the plan was to see the local sights and take some cooking classes that were advertised on their website. Given that we are having so-so quite expensive dinners here, that the cooking classes do not exist, that the chef has left for some other event, and also because one can stay in the room with the door closed to the outside and be hot or open the screenless door and be bitten all night, we decide to terminate our stay at La Foresteria on Tuesday. The hotel is not happy about this and says it will charge us anyway for the unused night. We are resolute in our decision to leave a day early. (This is especially made easy when this morning (Tues.), I wake up with my left eye partially swollen shut due to a mosquito bite during last night.) Their policy may be to charge us but my policy is to give them the review they deserve on TripAdvisor, Booking.com and whatever other website I can find that rates hotels.

But, on to Selinunte. Selinunte is an archeological site situated on a rise above the Mediterranean Sea. It was built between 760 and 490 B.C. It must have been a beautiful sight especially as one approached from the sea. There now exists a partially reconstructed Temple of Hera. It is quite exciting as this is the first temple we’ve been allowed to walk into.

Front exterior - Temple of Hera, Selinunte

Mary at the Temple of Hera

John inside the Temple of Hera

Surprisingly the other two temples, one to Athena or Dionysius and the other to Zeus, are even more interesting although they have been reduced to rubble by the Cartheginians. Since the city was attacked and sacked by Hannibal maybe he used elephants to pull down the structure after all the burnable bits were consumed. We see how the pillars were fit together and pieces of architrave among the stone slabs.

Temple of Athena or Dionysius

John next to fallen Doric capital

There is another section a distance away where the Temple of Demeter stands partially reconstructed looking to the east.

Temple of Demeter

We go back to the hotel and give them the bad news. We just say we need to leave and they just say too bad for you. I guess we should have complained. I do not like to make a scene, though. Our final night’s dinner is set at the enormous table which seats like 26 but there is only the three of us, John, me, and Katie, the English lady who has spent the last 5 days as the sole member of the cooking class. The chef has left for an event in eastern Sicily. Tonight’s food is being made by one of his helpers.

We start with melon with proscuitto. It’s tasty but not very complex. This is followed by cardoons and fried mushrooms which is also okay.

Cardoons with breaded and fried mushrooms

Then we have a minestrone soup which is quite good. As usual, we dive into it before taking a picture. The main course is a pork involtini with tomatoes and greens. It is fine, not remarkable.

Pork involtini with greens and tomatoes

The dessert is pistachio ice cream with almonds on a crumbly biscuit. Too bad they put chocolate sauce on it but I think it is quite good.

Pistachio ice cream with almonds, biscuit and chocolate sauce

It is really too bad that the whole adventure here at La Foresteria did not work out better. This area of Sicily is a summer resort so there are few restaurants open and few guests at the hotel this time of year. It might be better for La Foresteria to close during the off season and not have guests such as ourselves come and have a sub-optimal experience.

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