Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Special Dinner, Trapani and Segesta

Monday night we enjoyed a remarkable dinner on the Seabourn Legend. That was not because of the food—though the lobster Thermador and other dishes were delicious--- but because we were at the Captain’s Table with a group of interesting people. Most interesting of all was Captain Dag, the Norwegian skipper whose interests span many fields, from the competitiveness of the cruise liners (he’s worked on several) to politics, social problems, history and the arts. His friendly and lovely wife Kari was also present at the table last night, along with passengers from Great Britain, the United States and elsewhere. The following morning (Tuesday) we docked early in Trapani, Sicily. This town is another Sicilian seaport and it has some beautiful Baroque churches and long streets which face the sea from two directions since Trapani occupies a peninsula. When we walked through its quiet streets in the afternoon, we found that most of the shops and all of the churches were closed because of the siesta. Only some restaurants remained open for the tourists from the two cruise ships in port. In the morning we had better luck on a terrific excursion to Segesta, via motor coach. Our guide Massimiliano, from Palermo, had taken us on a tour last summer through his city and Monreale. This time he talked about the ancient Greek temple and the nearby theater, set into the hills. Both of these very simple and classical buildings were typical of the stunning way the ancient Greeks knew how to place important monuments in beautiful natural settings. From the theater one could not only see distant mountains but also a coastal bay, bathed in the clear Mediterranean light that impressed Goethe back in the 18th century. It’s always startling to realize that so many peoples---both ancient and modern---settled and tried to tame the wild island of Sicily. Some succeeded more than others, but all left their mark on this fascinating conglomeration of cultures. --Dan

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