Rough on the outside, warm on the inside. Our visit to Sicily started in Palermo, where we landed. We felt it would be too much of a hassle to drive to Taormina immediately so we decided to stay overnight and learn more about Palermo.
I booked one of the city’s four hotels with an outdoor swimming pool but we weren’t able to use it because the hotel was short on sun beds (they had 4 in total), so we decided to hit the town.
What astonished me most was the amount of rubbish everywhere. Literally mountains of rubbish everywhere you looked. The smell was appalling, suffocating even.
We decided to hide in the first cathedral we saw, and luckily for us, there was a beautiful traditional wedding taking place, with all the guests dressed in lace and chilling themselves with fans. People were super friendly and nobody minded us being there during this intimate time.
Then we continued on and saw a beautiful building, which we thought was a restaurant, so we followed some people through the door, only to realize it wasn’t a restaurant. One guy was really nice and explained to us that there was a political rally happening in support of a new candidate for the president of Sicily. He invited us to join in, but we were too shy (plus our grasp of Italian political language was not so good) so we asked to be directed to some nice deli instead.
Hot, bothered, and famished, we finally found that superb little deli, which served us excellent pecorino con pepe (pecorino cheese with black pepper corns), stuffed mushrooms, wonderful bread, and a couple of carafes of good local white wine, awesome value too. We explained that we wanted to try some other local delicacies such as spaghetti con ricci di mare (spaghetti with sea urchin) and the deli’s owner pointed us to Capricci di Sicilia, a wonderful lil’ place, not what you would have expected, we ate outside on the pavement area under a flyover!
On our way back to the hotel we stopped for an ice cream, but even after midnight, it was so hot, that the ice cream started to melt immediately. Out of the blue, there was a man helping me out with napkins, so sweet. Then, there were some youngsters who were concerned about our safety walking by the port, so they called us a taxi and waited with us.
So I came to the conclusion that the people of Palermo have hearts of gold, and they don’t deserve to live in such conditions. They deserve clean streets to showcase the beautiful architecture of their city, they deserve better life. My heart goes to you, people of Palermo! Love you all and I will be back!