Sicily Travel – First Day in Palermo

DSCN2996 (640x480)Friday September 20, 2013

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It feels good to finally have the chance to sleep in a little this morning at our comfortable hotel in Palermo. After breakfast of yogurt, fruit and cappuccino, Rick, Monica, and I buy tickets from the hotel receptionist for the Hop-On-Hop-Off sightseeing bus. The cost is €20 for a 24-hour ticket and and I decide to pay the extra €5 to go to Monreale, where the mosaic church is, so tomorrow I will go there.

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We don’t have to wait long for the bus at the first stop, but it’s packed so we sit on the lower level, which turns out  to not be that good for seeing anything or taking photos. So after some people get off  at a later stop, Monica and I climb the stairs and sit on the second level, which ends up to be  much better. We are able to see quite a bit of the city, as an overview, while learning about Palermo from the headsets. I never realized that Palermo has an English Garden.

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After the bus ride, we continue exploring on foot and arrive at the  Palermo market which is great. The fruits and vegetables look beautiful, and I buy a banana for a snack.

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Most of the vendors seem to be Italian. There are also fish and meat stalls, and some  stalls with cd’s, purses, clothing, and jewelry for sale.

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Palermo appears to me to be much cleaner than Catania, still not that clean but better. The people seem to be a little better dressed here too.

As we continue our walk, we find the shop of Gino Conciauro, the shoemaker we had met on our previous trip.

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We are disappointed that Gino is not here this time, but we meet Salvatore and Augustino, who explain that they are Gino’s sons. I am not sure they understand that much English, so maybe it is a misunderstanding. They say Gino is 80 years old, but the Gino we remember could not be that age. They appear to be the same age as Gino so maybe there is a father named Gino too.  Salvatore finds the postcards we had sent and seems very pleased that we are here in person.

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He generously offers us some water and gives us a liter of acqua naturale with some cups. Since the weather is very hot, we appreciate it and accept his hospitality with a “Grazie mille.”

The men’s leather shoes cost much more this time, 98 euros. Two years ago they cost 30 euros. Salvatore allows us to go inside and watch the two shoemakers working and take photos. It is great since everything looks very old-fashioned.

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Across the street, we recognize the old closed-down church we saw the last time. I think it is permanently closed. We continue  sightseeing and find ourselves in front of the famous nineteenth-century opera house, Teatro Massimo, where the scene from the Godfather film was shot on the steps. The architecture is beautiful, even though  I have seen this building once before.

Teatro Massimo - Palermo
Teatro Massimo – Palermo

We also spot the now closed restaurant, Rossopomodoro.  Part of a chain of restaurants that also once had locations in the States, but not any longer. I guess economic hard times forced this business to close here as well. Sad.

Traffic in Palermo is crazy, just as we experienced in Catania,  so we unanimously decide  to leave our  rental car  in the parking garage until we are ready to leave Palermo a few days from now.
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We will walk everywhere or take buses. Naturally Rick likes that plan, but Monica and I are OK with it too.

Tonight we are going to do our laundry and then have dinner later. And I am going to look for a pasticceria to be able to buy a cannoli, since I have not had one yet.

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The weather has been beautiful, in the 70’s and low 80’s. People are dressed very casually, no scarves or stiletto heels. Since it is so warm, I have been wearing shorts and short sleeves most of the time.  This is the first time I even brought shorts to Italy but I am glad I can be comfortable. I like being in Palermo and having time to enjoy this Sicilian city of six hundred thousand people.

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If you haven’t been to my Instagram page, please check it out…Lots of photos from Italy there.

7 Responses

  1. imarancher

    What a great mix you put together in this post. Foods, transportation, the people, the weather, the costs, the economy and more! Wow. I really enjoy this blog!

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