Pictures from Sicily

A Journey to Sicily
Where Mountains Meet the Sea

Led by:

The Rev. Steve Wilson
Grace Episcopal Church
Carthage, MO

May 29 – June 8, 2012

Trip map

DAY 1: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - Depart from Springfield to Chicago where we connect to Lufthansa for our overnight flight to Frankfurt, connection to Naples and then finally connect on Alitalia to Sicily, Europe’s first multicultural society.  Here, Archimedes taught and Saint Paul preached.  Conquerors and colonists (Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Normans, French and Spanish) have made Sicily their own and left behind an eclectic society that can still be seen today. M

DAY 2: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - “A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”  We will arrive at Palermo, the capital of Sicily.  Here we will meet our English speaking driver and drive inland westward to Erice, an enchanting mountaintop aerie of castles and palaces and cobblestone streets.  You will have time to explore the quaint walled town before having a very early dinner and then overnight at Erice. MD

DAY 3: Thursday, May 31, 2012 - “A strong rock to keep me safe.”  We begin with a walking tour of Erice and see Pepoli Castle, with foundations dating from Arab times, and nearby Venus Castle, dating from the Norman period but built on ruins of the ancient Temple of Venus.  The view from the castle towers is stupendous.  We continue to Segesta where we see the ruins of one of the most impressive Greek temples.  From the ruined theater just over ½ mile away, we will see Monte San Giuliano, where our hotel is located.  We return to Erice for dinner and overnight. BD


DAY 4: Friday, June 1, 2012 - “You are the salt of the world.”  We travel to Trapani, the major port city which has a unique and important tradition in the salt trade.  We will tour the famous salt works and see the beautiful Cathedral, originally built in the 13th century and dedicated to St. Lawrence.  The area is home to 170 species of birds including the famous flamingoes and is protected by the World Wildlife Fund.  We will visit Marsala, the quaint seaside town famous for its sweet wine, and tour a vineyard here before returning to Erice for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 5: Saturday, June 2, 2012 - “A temple not built with hands.”  We depart from Erice and drive to Agrigento where we will have our first sight of the golden temples located on a rise above the sea and understand why Pindar wrote that Agrigento is “the most beautiful city built by mortal men”.  Founded around 582 BC by a group of Greek colonists from Rhodes and Crete, modern Agrigento is famous for the Valley of the Temples including the Temples of Hercules, Concord, Juno, Castor and Pollux.  The Temple of Jupiter, although never completed, is the largest temple ever planned in Sicily and was considered the eighth wonder of the world.  A small early Christian catacomb is also located here.  We continue to Ragusa for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 6: Sunday, June 3, 2012 - “A city having lasting foundations.”  In 1693, an earthquake decimated southeastern Sicily.  The Spanish king employed some of the most important architects of the time to reconstruct a series of model towns which together are a major UNESCO Heritage site.  First we visit Noto, a town divided into three levels:  the upper level is for the nobility; the middle level is for clergy; and the third level is for the commoners.  The beautiful uniform architecture is built of limestone which seems to cast a golden glowing reflection from the sun.  We return to Ragusa for an afternoon walking tour.  The city is mostly baroque in architecture and is divided into an upper and lower part – the lower part being so beautiful that it has caused many a visitor to catch his breath.  The sight of the jumble of houses, churches and civic palazzi piled on top of yeach other, clinging to the walls of the gorge, is really quite breathtaking.  Although seemingly mediaeval from a distance, once you enter the town’s heart, the Baroque logic of its plan becomes more obvious.  Dinner and overnight in Ragusa. BD

DAY 7: Monday, June 4, 2012 - “The cleft of the rock.”  Today we are off to Siracusa on the southeastern corner of Sicily on the Ionian coast.  This is where Archimedes shouted “eureka” while pondering mathematics in his bath, and the city where Plato briefly and unhappily taught philosophy.  We will cross to the island section of Ortygia to visit the temple of Apollo, the cathedral (once a mosque and even earlier a pagan temple), the archbishop’s palace, and the majestic Roman amphitheatre.  St. Paul visited Syracuse’s small Christian community according to Acts, and here you will find the most extensive Paleo – Christian catacombs outside of Rome.  There are also recently discovered Jewish baths outside of Ortygia which are at least 1500 years old.  We return to Ragusa for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 8: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 -“And after the whirlwind, a great fire.”  We drive to the base of Mount Etna, Europe’s greatest natural wonder.  We will take the 16 minute funicular ride to the top of the mountain and then transfer by Land Rover to see the craters at the very top.  After descending the mountain, we will tour Etna through some of the many picturesque villages seeing the lush vegetation, almond trees, olive groves, vineyards, and oranges which are in stark contrast to the desolate lava fields of the mountain itself.  We will continue to Acireale for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 9: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - “A garden of all choicest fruits.”  We take the motor coach to the mountaintop town of Taormina where we will visit the Greek theater together and then you will have free time to explore this famous and beautiful resort town on your own.  The views of the sea and Mt. Etna from the city are breathtaking and the many shops that line the streets will entice you to shop.  Or perhaps you’d prefer to lounge on the beaches before we return to Acireale for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 10: Thursday, June 7, 2012 - “A merchant seeking pearls.”  Our adventures today take us to Cefalu on the Tyrrhenian SeaCefalu dates from Hellenic times and is considered one of Sicily’s undiscovered jewels.  The Norman – Arab – Byzantine cathedral that we explore, built in 1131, is considered to be one of the greatest churches in southern Europe.  For those up to the challenge, a climb up the Rocca will give splendid views of the area.  We continue to Monreale located just a few miles from Palermo.  Monreale dates from the late Middle Ages and here we visit the cathedral with its splendid Byzantine mosaics and also the Benedictine cloister.  A walking tour of Palermo, the island’s hectic capital, completes our day.  We tour through the bustling Vucciria Market and the Quatro Canti area with buildings cobbled together from a half-dozen cultures.  Overnight Palermo. BD

DAY 11: Friday, June 8, 2012 - We depart for the USA arriving back this afternoon. BM

Price: $3,899.00  Price is based on double occupancy and a minimum of 25 Pilgrims without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from Springfield, MO.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single Supplement $499.00.

* Pricing is based on double occupancy and excludes airline taxes and fuel surcharges which are currently over $600.00 and may change.  These will be added to the final invoice.

** The price is not guaranteed and may change due to the fluctuation of the Euro and the US dollar.  We make every effort to avoid any increase and will only do so if the value of the dollar falls against the British Pound.  Your pricing was based on the exchange rate of $1.42 to the Euro.**

Daily Bible study in the mornings will focus on the elements of the natural landscape (mountains, fortresses, caves, the sea) and the products of the land (wheat, fruit, grapes, salt, fish).  This trip includes walking, often on stone paved streets with numerous steps.  While not physically difficult, participants are encouraged to prepare themselves in advance.

Please note the first 14 whose applications are received by WWPM will depart from Springfield at 10:26 AM.  Those whose applications are received later will depart at 6:14 AM.

Final payment due February 15, 2012.

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until December 1, 2011:  $200.00 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ December 2, 2011 to February 14, 2012:  $300.00 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ February 15, 2012 or later:  NO REFUND

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, M Meals on Aircraft

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.

$300.00 per person deposit due with application by December 1, 2011.