Alcamo, Wednesday, April 18, 1787.
At an early hour, we rode out of Palermo. Kniep and the Vetturino showed their skill in packing the carnage inside and out. We drove slowly along the excellent road, with which we had previously become acquainted during our visit to San Martino, and wondered a second time at the false taste displayed in the fountains on the way. At one of these our driver stopped to supply himself with water according to the temperate habits of this country. He had at starting, hung to the traces a small wine-cask, such as our market-women use, and it seemed to us to hold wine enough for several days. We were, therefore, not a little surprised when he made for one of the many conduit pipes, took out the plug of his cask, and let the water run into it. With true German amazement, we asked him what ever he was about? was not the cask full of wine? To all which, he replied with great nonchalance: he had left a third of it empty, and as no one in this country drank unmixed wine, it was better to mix it at once in a large quantity, as then the liquids combined better together, and besides you were not sure of finding water everywhere. During this conversation the cask was filled, and we had some talk together of this ancient and oriental wedding custom.
And now as we reached the heights beyond Mon Reale, we saw wonderfully beautiful districts, but tilled in traditional rather than in a true economical style. On the right, the eye reached the sea, where, between singular shaped head-lands, and beyond a shore here covered with, and there destitute of, trees, it caught a smooth and level horizon, perfectly calm, and forming a glorious contrast with the wild and rugged limestone rocks. Kniep did not fail to take miniature outlines of several of them.
We are at present in Alcamo, a quiet and clean little town, whose well-conducted inn is highly to be commended as an excellent establishment, especially as it is most conveniently situated for visitors to the temple of Segeste, which lies out of the direct road in a very lonely