DAY 1 THE QUEST BEGINS
The sunny Sicilian morning turns into film-set flash storm, but as quickly as it arrives, it’s gone. But it’s enough, after a swift Tuesday morning EasyJet flight to Palermo, to leave us bedraggled as we board a bus to Palermo Central station, and I wonder whether the thunderous reception is to welcome the return of the flesh-and-blood Juno to the isle where her predecessor’s temple is to be found?
A few days before giving birth to my daughter and still searching for a name, Juno had appeared in a dream. My husband and I liked the sound of it and discovered it was the Roman name for the ancient Greek goddess Hera who was, according to classical mythology, the queen of the gods. So with my daughter now in her thirteenth year, I am keeping a long-awaited promise to take her (along with my mother Carole, 76) to visit the Temple of Juno in the Valley of the Temples, near the town of Agrigento, on the Mediterranean island of Sicily.
Leaving the airport we travel by bus to the main railway station of Palermo Centrale and from here by train to Agrigento. We’re delighted by the train journey that follows the turquoise coast before travelling inland: as my mum notes in her diary that evening, ‘Window views of hibiscus, oleander, eucalyptus and craggy outcrops of stone in the midst of fertile volcano-nourished fields.’
In Agrigento we stay at the Camere A Sud B&B, up a