Palermo - Click here for the slideshow (49 pictures)
Finished - September 30, 2014
|Travel day (the last one by car!) The more I drive in Italy, the more I wish we had a helicopter. Aggressive drivers are born here and they just get worse with age. Nonetheless, we sped up the coast to Mount Etna and drove one of the scariest roads known to man. Scary in that it was full of hairpin turns. Deadly thanks to the masses of lunatics racing up the mountain on motorcycles. How they don't smash into cars, trees, and each other is a mystery of science that will never be solved.
Mount Etna, an active volcano, provides surreal landscapes. Dark gray lava, with the bones of trees burned so fast that they never char just lose everything green, splays down the sides of embankments for hundreds of feet. Amazing how there's green right up to the edge of the lava fields and small plants growing out of cracks.
|Palermo is a big city, capital of the island, and on Sunday, reminiscent of New York's West Village. Several main streets were closed to cars and filled with street musicians and vendors. Most of the main stores were closed, so shopping will have to wait until tomorrow morning, but I'm certain that Suzi's search for the perfect pair of Italian shoes will be fruitful. Once again, there's an excess of cigarette smoking. I guess the text on cigarette packs - "Smoking will kill you" - is meaningless, especially if you ride a motorcycle.|
Antipasti de Casa
|The first dinner, always a recommendation from the front desk, was excellent and a short walk from the hotel. This restaurant opened at 7pm, a half hour earlier than our reservation and a good thing for us as we were starved. Although the dessert tray was packed with goodies, we passed, opting for gelato instead.|
|Every city has a Duomo and if you don't visit it, you are missing one of the key elements of the location. This one, in the heart of Palermo, comes with a Peugeot advertisement. Are they a sponsor? Does the Catholic Church need the money? Regardless, it's a very big one with very loud bells. Not so fancy inside as the duomos we've seen in Rome and Florence, but hopefully with the money from the ad they can find someone to paint their ceiling and bring it up to snuff.|
|You must walk the city. You must explore, but keep your map handy, getting lost is both annoying and a waste of time. The guitars and drums are all handmade, and they guy has quite a collection. Notice the drum kit with "Guns and Roses". Palermo rocks.|
Just a funny name for a pizza joint, but worth the photo.
|On the way to the airport and civilization, we stopped at the beach in Mondello. Finally, after 30 days on the road, we got to soak our feet in the Mediterranean Sea and sit on the sand for an hour or so. Had I known this place existed, we would never had stayed in Palermo. This is the typical resort town. Lots of small restaurants, souvenir shops, guys walking the beach selling towels, floaties, and cold bottles of water. It was peaceful and quiet and the beach was full of locals, not a bloody tourist in sight unless we looked at each other. Of course, the water was way too cold for swimming, at least for us Floridians, but the sand was soft and the sun was hot.|