Sicily 2011 #1: Palermo and Chinese New Year written 7 years ago


Here are my travel notes from Sicily, you might like to read them if you are easily amused. They’re not terribly interesting unless you are me.

Day 1

Arrived at 1800.. the train to Palermo wasn’t running; so much confusion later we ended up on the bus.. Spotted the hotel from the window of the bus.. wasn’t in the most terrible part of town! Navigating proving tricky, even though know where we’re going! Hotel is gorgeous.. Little lift takes us up the stairs like in all the American films. Go out for dinner; the concierge recommends we go to ‘San Francesco’ .. 1 hour of wandering around later we find it; after traversing many of the dark and dingy side streets. Parking is mental.. there seems to be guys hanging around the streets, just waiting to show you to a hidden car parking space, for a fee. The restaurant is crammed full of tables, and chattering Italians. We realise at this point we know no Italian whatsoever, but our waiter muddles through with us. Unusual for me on holiday to be forced to speak the language.. usually get mollycoddled with English. We vow to learn at least a little!

Day 2

Fired up the elevator to the fifth floor, and staggered through to the terrace, boiled egg (shell on), some meat and bread on plate. Staggeringly blue skies greeted us as we went out onto the outdoor terrace, and a warming sun keeps the morning chill off, as we munch through our breakfast. We return to the terrace following breakfast, cameras in hand to capture the stunning views of the city, the domed roofs of the many churches poking though the ocean of dilapidated terraces and air conditioning units.

View of Palermo
Palermo from our Hotel Terrace

We begin our wandering tour of Palermo. The street outside out hotel has been closed off, and some Market stalls have popped up, selling a variety of wares from miscellaneous waxed wares (cheese? looked like a butternut squash in shape..) to generic Market tat of DVDs and toys.

Palermo Street Market

The locals are all dressed for winter, but I feel compelled to de-coat and bask in the segments of sunlight that escape through the gaps in the buildings.

Kids are everywhere.. roller blading, heeley scooting bike riding.. it certainly is a day to bring the kids out.

We continue into town, following the now pedestrianised roads ( for safety, mainly..!) Small puddles of confetti suggest a party atmosphere, and we route ourselves down Vie Libre, and happen upon a small park.

Giardino Inglese

Overrun with kids, the source of the confetti is apparent, as the vendors stock it with abundence, along with silly string; and other such goods of mischief..!

Kids in fancy dress are everywhere an there is a lovely family fun atmosphere, scaring absent from many a British park I have visited.

Deciding that the obelisk is too further walk away, we sit in the sun for a while( here the sunburn comes in..!) and decide our next move. The cathedral is a starred recommendation, but as it’s 1230 now, it will be closed for siesta.

IMG_4092 Some cheap and cheerful food in a roadside Trattoria (along with a tiny cake fancy) sees us parambulating back down Vie Libre, to see some Chinese fellows driving around, music blaring from the van.

Lost Chinese New Year Dragon Drivers

Some confusion seems to exist upon their exact purpose for being there, but soon drums can be heard and a dragon comes sweeping around the corner. It’s Chinese new year!

Chinese Dragon
Chinese New year Dragon

With equal confusion the dragon snakes it’s way around the square, and meanders it’s way onto Vie Libre. A seemingly last minute arrangement!

The dragon performs, and poses for photos with the locals, before slinking off down the road. Was it timed to coincide with siesta time? The Vie Libra’s Market stalls had all disappeared (so had many of the locals though!)

A couple of hours had passed by now, and the cathedral would be opening soon, so we headed off in it’s direction, passing though the four-corners and a handsome fountain thing (if not somewhat fenced in..). Many of the statues on the fountain seemed thoroughly unimpressed with their stoney predicament, as most of then had their arms folded.

Quattro Canti, Palermo
Quattro Canti

The cathedral was a typical Catholic affair, if not slightly underwhelming, with the usual picture frames of alcoves with statues in surrounding the edges.

Getting chilly now, so we head back to the hotel for an involuntary siesta.

Out a couple hours later, we visit the train station to find times for tomorrows trip, and meander in the same direction as last night (now being experts in darkened alleyway navigation) in search of a fooderium.

Our tastebuds whetted by a seemingly family run trattoria promising sicilian fayre (boiled veal and rolled meat kebabs) we expertly direct ourselves to the hotel and indulge in some comatose sleep.

Read Sicily Entry #2.

← previous entry | next entry → Tue 22nd Feb 2011 - 16:28 | 2 comments | tagged with Photos, Out and About, Sicily

 Comments 2 comments made

Paul’s GravatarPaul 3 days later

Nice pics, Rob. What did you use for the first — fisheye lens?

originally posted by Paul

Nice pics, Rob. What did you use for the first — fisheye lens?

Cheers.. It’s an el cheapo Opteka screw on fisheye lens dooberry.. awful picture quality, but novel nonetheless..

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