Today, we journeyed to three small towns: Monreale (Royal Mountain), Segesta, and Erice. In Monreale, we visited a Cappella Palatina 2.0, as well as a monastery courtyard. The mosaic church was enormous! It exhibited parallel mosaics to those depicted at Palatina, as well as demonstrated the royal wealth of William II hundreds of years ago that lives on to today. The monastery courtyard contained dozens of marble pillars surrounding green hedges and palm trees. Each pillar held a unique style and ornate design. In Segesta, we visited an ancient citadel and temple inhabited by local Sicilians aligned with Athens thousands of years ago. We first hiked up to a temple that the locals built to impress Athenians, which according to Boyd, was a “fake” temple, as it was never truly finished. Surrounding the high temple was a beautiful green valley, with various farm land and pastures. After seeing the temple, we took a lunch break, where I happily ate my two brioche with mortadella that I packed, and made some friends, or the two cats pictured in this post. Next, we took an even longer hike up the mountain to see an ancient, preserved theatre, where Greek tragedies were performed. An incredible view stretched out beyond the theatre, capturing both the pasture, and eventually, “il mare”. After Segesta, we took the bus to Erice, a very small mountain town engulfed in fog. Gavioli and Boyd surprised us with a cooking class and visit to a cooking school down the street run by an ex-nun named Maria. Here we learned to make traditional Sicilian “dolci”, and after baking, we ate an incredible spread of Sicilian “assaggini”, but we were all so stuffed by the end of it. After the dinner, we returned to Hotel Elimo, and passed out.