It has been 4 long years and I am back in Italy! We have 7 days to explore 1/2 of Sicily, and we are starting in Palermo, Sicily’s capital. From the airport we take a bus to the downtown bus station, and walk to our B&B. Kathy used this Amazing app that I had never heard about and am fascinated by it! It is called CityMaps2Go by Ulmon In advance of going somewhere, for example Palermo, you download the city map and when you are there it uses GPS- NO Data to help you to get to where you want to go. It was most useful when walking as there are no voice directions, which is needed when driving. It is crazy how it works, and I honestly don’t understand it, but it works great!
Our first accomodations are at a B&B called Liberty Teatro Santa Cecilia. It is run by a lovely man named Rosario. He happily greeted us and showed us our room. It is lovely! It has no view, and we had a private bathroom, but it was down the hall. That said, the breakfast in the morning was AMAZING! I will tell you more about it later….
We hit the ground running as we knew we only had 24 hours to explore this large city and it is already late afternoon. We discovered immediately that there was a sense of community here. Every Piazza we came across there were locals gathered, and children playing.
Soon it was time for Aperol Spritz! We decided to stop at a spot where a lot of locals were gathered and fresh seafood was being grilled. OMG, it was AMAZING! I had some fresh octopus, that had been boiled, then grilled and seasoned with olive oil, salt, chilis and lime. So simple, yet SO GOOD!
I honestly had not done a tonne of research on Palermo before we left, and what I had read was not terribly positive, so I was not expecting much. That said, we soon discovered that 24 hours would not be enough to explore this intriguing city. I honestly had nothing bad to say about anything that we saw and experienced in Palermo! The food was All yummy, and CHEAP, which once we had finished our trip we realized. The first night we ate at an Osteria called Pane e Alivi, and it was a wonderful start to our Italian adventure. I had a seafood risotto, which had mussels, clams, octopus, and sword fish, Kathy had a swordfish dish, we shared a liter of the house red wine (which the waiter didn’t think I should be ordering this much; silly boy), a caprese salad to start, and we finished off with desert- Kathy a canoli, and I had a dish of the canoli filling. The bill was only €31 total!
As we only had 24 hours we decided to stay up as late as we could and walk as much as our feet would allow us. As we walked through different neighborhoods, we discovered that there was a celebration happening. We were unsure of what it was, but there were many decorations, including beautiful lights everywhere. After seeing a couple of posters, and researching once I got home I found out what Festeggiamenti in onore di Maria SS. die sette Delori was. It was a liturgical feast for Maria Addolorata Lady of Sorrows and is a celebration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the cult of the seven sorrows of Mary.
Everywhere we turned we came across something of interest, and not by coincidence, and a lot of what we had read about, we stumbled upon. First was the Quattro Canti, which is the historical center of Palermo, and where 2 principal streets intersect, Via Maqueda and Corso VittorioEmanuele, which we actually did not realize at first as we were distracted by the rickshaw looking vehicles. As we kept on walking, now starting to feel tired, we then stumbled upon a large fountain in another square. We didn’t know where we were, and after looking at our watches, we realized it was almost 11:30pm and we had been up for over 40 hours! Too tired to find out what we were looking at meant, we needed to get some sleep and start fresh in the morning! Buona Notte Bellas!