On the weekend just gone, the family I am Au Pairing for decided it would be nice if we took two days out to go to the north-west side of the Island, Palermo. I had heard so much about this place but I couldn’t decide for myself until we actually set foot on the road, the welcome I got from the scenery was bella! (practising my Italian) As we drove closer to the city we were surrounded by hills maybe even mountains covered in a brown/ cream colour because the earth was so dry. Usually this place is green from head to toe but I came when It was the dry season and I couldn’t of been happier with what I saw.
So after a 2 1/2 hour journey we finally reached the city centre. The suburbs were ok to say the least, pretty dirty and full of people trying to rip you off. The city however was beautiful in every way. You know when you go somewhere and you can tell which is the poor side of the place and where the money lies? well this place was that but the only difference between here and say New York is that the poor side looked just as antique as the rich side but with less fancy cars.
We walked the streets of Palermo for a good few hours, stopping to try Sicilian treasures on the way. We tried a desert called a canola, its a traditional desert only found in Sicily which made it even more special to eat. Imagine eating a doughnut for the first time, this moment was like that for me… we also tried gelato in a brioche. Largest and most filling piece of pastry in the world however the gelato place was so packed it felt like I was at Euston train station queuing for one train. Like the Italians say, Italian life is fast, you love fast, you drink fast and you eat fast.
We then took a tour through the 3rd largest theatre in the whole of Europe. The Teatro Massimo. If I ever went into the opera business which everyone knows I wouldn’t but still this place would be my home or even my dream to preform at. The walls were covered in golden artwork and mirrors cascaded pretty much every room. Even the carpet was red and if you starred long enough at the ceiling you would cry because every ceiling told a different story, all religious bare in mind because Sicily is an extremely religious place. I was too overwhelmed by the beauty that was contained in this building I only managed to take maybe two photographs. Also in the building they had a women’s corridor and a mens one where each sex would go and confer with their friends about secrets of the people in the opposite rooms. There was one part in the mens room where if you stood directly in the middle you could only hear your voice over everyone in that room and what sounded like you were in a recording studio. Cool right?
After 16km of walking we saw many buildings, what intrigued me the most was how old they looked on the outside but how stunning they were on the inside. Another Italian trait is they prefer their houses looking incredibly sexy on the inside, all decorated with art and history but the outside the windows are falling off, the doors were broken and over all looked like a bad paint job. Its so strange.
Im not going to bore you with the details because I could and would talk for hours! But we went to the oldest market in the history of Sicily which looked like any other market selling strange foods and goods from peoples past times at war but what intrigued me the most was the bar. I know I sound like a right junkie but Im serious! It was too, the oldest bar and they made their own liquor which tasted a lot like vodka mixed with grapes or wine but was surprising tasty, but one glass was enough. I didn’t want to be off my face in the middle of this beautiful place.
To end this long day we celebrated Italy’s finest culture and we saw an opera for only 1 euro. Yes I am not lying for only 1, as amazing as it was watching the piece outside in the middle of a busy town square I couldn’t help but find it extremely difficult to understand a word they were saying. So lets backtrack alittle, I can order food, ask for the toilet and go to town by myself but to listen to an hour and a half play all in Italian opera was super hard for my brain to handle. I was eternally grateful but if anyone knows why there was a green man running around please let me know 🙂
TRAVEL TIP: Learn some form of the language before you go as it may seem ok to know the basics but if you really want to be involved in their culture you will have to know more than just hi how are you? plus they speak super fast so learn to keep up with their facial expressions, their helpful like that.
SNAPCHAT : tylerwhitworth4