Italy
Palermo

Here you’ll find travel reports about Palermo. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

56 travelers at this place:

  • Day5

    Chaotic Catania

    June 8 in Italy

    Back on the rails again. Got chatting to a couple from Melbourne who had spent 8 days in Syracuse. ‘Don’t get me wrong’, he said, ‘we loved it, but it does need a bit of TLC and some of these old buildings want demolishing’. Ah, the Aussies…

    Today’s trip involved taking the train to Catania where after a 2 hour break there was a connection to Sicily’s capital, Palermo. The first train was brand new, with comfy leather seats and welcome air-conditioning. The only problem was that it was packed with over-excited teenagers on their way to Rome, and an even more excited teacher who screamed at the top of her voice, constantly waving her arms, pulling passengers from their seats, waving bits of paper and yelling at her charges to sit in their assigned seats. After about 20 minutes her pupils were all finally seated when the train conductor arrived to break the news that they were in the wrong carriage. More yelling and waving of papers, but at last they departed.

    On arrival at Catania with 2 hours to kill, I asked at the Customer Service window if there was any left luggage facility. Without lifting her head from her Bella magazine, the Customer Service representative said ‘no’. Do you have any WiFi in the station? ‘No’. Well, do you know anywhere nearby where I might be able to access WiFi, such as McDonalds or Starbucks? ‘No. We have nothing like that. Nowhere.’ I wondered if she had contemplated a career with the Catania Tourist Information Service.

    I had a hot but interesting walk into the city centre, laden with luggage. The main Duomo Square was beautiful, but the rest of Catania looked like a poor relation of Syracuse, only bigger and more built up - and the litter - cigarette butts everywhere - where were the Glasgow Central Fag Police when you needed them?

    As it was a few hours since breakfast and I would be on the train to Palermo for the next 3 hours, I decided to take a packed lunch on board, given my experience of Trenitalia catering. I found a nice little coffee shop with a smiling senorita who explained she cooked everything herself and it was all health foods. By this time it was too late to make my escape, so I opted for a spinach and ricotta cheese flatbread. She cut me a square with the precision of a surgeon and carefully packed it in a crisp white grease proof envelope. ‘Van ov my desserts, perhaps?’ she suggested with the insistence of Frau Blücher from Young Frankenstein. I pointed to the least offensive - one of her whole meal chocolate and pistachio nut offerings and thought she wouldn’t win any prizes from Mary Berry. A bottle of home made Sicilian lemonade later and I started cramming the goods into my already packed backpack. ‘Oh no’ exclaimed Frau Blücher, ‘you must carry eet like thees’ and held the package up flat on her outstretched palm, a presentation worthy of the adoration of the Magi.
    I returned to catch the train balancing my precious goods and found an unoccupied table seat for four. As I reached for the luggage rack, my precious bakery item slipped from the envelope and landed ricotta side down on the floor. The two girls opposite thought this highly amusing, but I thought what the hell, and picked it up, dusted it down and ate it. Well it was either that or starve.

    I had bought a half kilo of cherries from a fruit stall outside and then proceeded to devour them instead of the nut tart. They were delicious, but the juice from an overripe one squirted over my shirt. By this time the girls were biting their lips and giggling helplessly. I couldn’t quite catch what they were saying, but it was something along the lines of ‘Poor old soul, he really shouldn’t be let out alone’. All I could think of was the lyric from that Francie and Josie song ‘Dae cherry stains come oot?’

    I enjoyed the journey to Palermo - lovely countryside with more oranges and lemons. I hadn’t realised how big Sicily was - the largest island in the Med, with a population similar to Scotland’s. Regrettably there wasn’t time to see much of the capital city, but I would love to come back. I found my way to the docks and boarded the GNV Ferry - Atlas - and was pleased with my cabin accommodation for my overnight sailing to Naples. So long, Sicily, it’s been good. Mostly.
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  • Day5

    Surprising Syracuse

    June 8 in Italy

    On arrival, Syracuse proved to be a bigger city than I had imagined. A bit careworn and unkempt, I was glad I was not staying near the station but across a short stretch of water in the attractive Old Town area of Ortigia, a 15 minute walk away. The Terre & Mare B&B was contained within an old palazzo just off the main drag. I pressed the buzzer and was told to come up to the 7th floor - you’ve got to be kidding, I thought, no lift and this heat and this luggage! However a charming young Sicilian rushed out to meet me - ‘sorry, I mean 2nd floor’. Grazie al cielo! He proceeded to provide me with a map and a suggested walking tour of the main sights of old Syracuse. He showed me my single room, small but perfectly formed, complete with WiFi, air-conditioning, ensuite shower room, designer toiletries, and bidet - all of which I put to good use within 10 minutes.

    The suggested walking tour was a hit, and I loved walking about the Old Town with its beautiful Duomo, Temple of Apollo, Castle and fabulous sea views, in the early evening sunshine. Syracuse was the birthplace of Archimedes, and they don’t let you forget it. The restaurant I ate in that night was called Arches. ‘It’s pronounced Arkes’ pointed out the owner, ‘after Archimedes’. And here was me thinking it was named after the 60s pop group who had a hit with Sugar, Sugar.

    I was struck by how many of the more mature ladies looked so glamorous, even when well passed their sell-by date. One particular lady out walking her small dog, looked like a latter day Marilyn Monroe, had she lived. Aged about 80, her hair was coiffed in a platinum blonde 1960s style, with pale makeup and ruby red lipstick. She even had a similar full-skirted white dress à la Seven Year Itch, the only saving grace being that there were no subway gratings nearby.

    The breakfast was a delight - served on the roof terrace with terrific views, and the staff were so friendly. The teenaged girl who giggled and brought endless coffee told me her dearest wish was to visit Scotland, where all the pretty houses had geraniums in their window boxes. Not the last time I was in Govan, senorita. I giggled back and left her to her delusions.

    I could certainly recommend the Terre e Mare B&B if anyone was visiting the area.
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  • Day8

    Impressioni Palermo

    September 26 in Italy

    Palermo ist viel größer als ich es mir vorgestellt hatte. Keine Ahnung was ich gedacht habe. Jedenfalls laufe ich von meinem Apartment (das sehr schön ist!) über 20min in die Innenstadt.
    Eigentlich wollte ich hier ein bisschen rumschlendern und gucken, was mir begegnet, aber jetzt renne ich doch mit dem Stadtplan in der Hand rum und halte mich an die beiden Hauptstraßen, um nicht an den wichtigen Sehenswürdigkeiten vorbeizulaufen. Das sind hauütsächlich alte Bauten, viel mehr verstehe ich als echter Banausentouri ja nicht. Nur dass hier wohl ganz unterschiedliche Kulturstile zusammenkommen, Normannen, Araber und die ganzen anderen. Soso. Für mich sind die Gebäude sehr schön, besonders die Kathedrale, und mit dem richtigen Himmel sind sie noch schöner und wenn dann mal die ganzen anderen Touribanausen zur Seite gehen, kann ich auch ein anständiges Bild machen.Read more

  • Day9

    Orto Botanico Palermo

    September 27 in Italy

    Den letzten Tag in Sizilien wollte ich eigentlich nochmal ganz entspannt verbringen, aber entspannt ist im hektischen und chaotischen Palermo gar nicht so einfach. Die zwei Tagespunkte lauten eigentlich nur Botanischer Garten und dann für den Rest des Tages Strand. Der Weg zum Botanischen Garten nimmt allerdings schonmal eine Stunde in Anspruch ... was auf der Karte gar nicht so weit aussah, sind in Wirklichkeit 3,5km.
    Allerdings ist der Garten wirklich sehr schön, ruhig und kaum besucht. Es gibt hier jede Menge Kakteen und ich bin ja ein großer Sukkulenten-Fan, außerdem diese riesigen Bäume (ficus magnolioide) und noch dieses und jenes andere Grünzeug. Und wer sich hier auch sehr wohlfühlt sind meine alten Kollegen die Eidechsen: man muss fast schon aufpassen, dass man nicht auf einen trauftritt, wenn man über die Wge läuft...
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  • Day371

    Day 372: Northwards to Palermo

    February 21 in Italy

    Time to leave Agrigento! We'd really enjoyed the temples and had a good day, but it wasn't the best apartment and neither of us were sad to be leaving. Too cold, and crappy wifi means that we just can't relax and can't be productive!

    Set out around 10am, driving in circles around the roadworks looking for first a pet store to refill dog food and then a petrol station with reasonable prices. A lot of petrol stations here advertise their base price, but then tack on 30c per litre for someone to do the filling for you. A lot of times it's not clear which pumps are which, or whether you can even fill up yourself at a particular station!

    First stop of the day was at the "Turkish Cliffs", a series of white sandstone cliffs with interesting angles about 20 minutes drive westwards along the coast from Agrigento. It was kind of an odd tourist attraction, very ad hoc. No "official" parking, but lots of people who'd turned their vacant land into an overpriced parking lot. But it was winter, nobody was around, and literally everything was closed.

    You couldn't really see much either from the top of the cliffs, and neither of us felt inclined to walk 30-40 minutes down to the bottom for a better look. So we got back in the car slightly disappointed, and left.

    We spent the next couple of hours driving northwards across Sicily, through a variety of different landscapes. Craggy mountains, rolling fields, small towns, and a few plains as well. Lots of farming country, all very visually appealing, particularly with towns perched up on hilltops and castles dotting the landscape.

    Drove past the town of Corleone, made famous by both the Godfather book and movies, and by real genuine Mafia bosses who hailed from the town. But it was about 30 minutes out of our way and we'd read there wasn't much there aside from Godfather tourist tat, so decided to skip.

    Lunch was supremely exciting - McDonalds!

    Mid afternoon we arrived in Palermo, largest city in Sicily. It certainly felt like it! Unfortunately I had to drive through a whole lot of traffic to get to our apartment, easily the worst I've driven in. Not heavy, just hectic with people swerving everywhere, scooters going way too fast, no lane markings etc. It really felt like Thailand or something.

    Found our apartment and checked in OK. It's a large studio on the ground floor next to a busy intersection; thankfully well insulated so not much traffic noise, but it's also near a hospital so there's a fairly constant noise of ambulances. Newly renovated though, so that's nice. But on the minus side, the "100mbit connection" in the listing was way off - speed test claimed about 15mbit, and it dropped out every 20 minutes anyway. So we'd gone from slow but consistent to slightly less slow but completely inconsistent - not sure which is worse!

    Decided to stay in for the rest of the day, so Shandos went to the supermarket for supplies and that's what we did!
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  • Day372

    Day 373: Arab-Norman Palermo

    February 22 in Italy

    Today's world heritage site is a series of buildings in Palermo. Sicily has a long history of foreign conquest - Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims from North Africa, Normans, Spanish, and eventually Italians again. But in Palermo, there's a few buildings that show a real mix of cultures. Built by the Normans after their conquest in the late 11th century, but taking their cues from earlier Muslim architecture. Supposedly some quite interesting stuff, so off we went!

    First stop was the palace, which is the oldest continually used palace in either Europe or the world, I forget! We couldn't visit the majority of the palace since it was actively being used for parliament sessions, so we had to make do with the spectacular Palatine chapel. This was the royal chapel inside the palace and is largely the same as when it was constructed in the late 11th century by Roger II, the first Norman conqueror of Sicily. Full of incredible mosaics, we were both very impressed!

    Next up was the cathedral, an interesting mish-mash of styles. Parts are Byzantine, parts are Arabic, parts are Norman, and then there are later Gothic and Baroque additions too which makes it quite interesting. Not as interesting inside since it was just typical baroque, but we quite enjoyed the exterior and the obvious Arab influences which are very rare in Europe.

    One last church to check out which we only saw from the exterior - it was very small and they wanted five euros to look inside! This whole site is typical Sicilian organisation, where each place is ticketed separately and there's no combination ticket or anything. This one they even had a curtain hanging at the doorway, since without it you'd be able to see the entire interior no problems!

    It was starting to rain and Schnitzel was at home, so we decided to head back and grab some lunch on the way - more arancini of course! While we were at home it started bucketing down, so we holed up for a few hours. I did a couple of videos while Shandos had a nap!

    Eventually by mid-afternoon the rain stopped and we headed back out, this time with Schnitzel in tow. Two more churches with interesting facades and mosaic interiors to finish off our site visit, then a wander around the waterfront. Not quite as interesting as we'd hoped, more of a working port than an interesting waterfront area! Found a decent cafe that had been recommend to us and had a light early dinner there. I had a roll with chicken schnitzel and chips, Shandos had a roll with porchetta (a type of Italian pork), and we shared an involtini, a skewer with fish wrapped in eggplant and deep fried. Fish, eggplant, and fried - about as Sicilian as you can get!
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  • Day2

    Palermo

    May 21, 2013 in Italy

    We arrived in the evening in Palermo, and I found myself immediately rememembered of Bucarest - back in 1988! Everything & everybody looked shabby, buildings were missbuilt. Our rental car was brought into a locked garage. Odd situation, compared to other holidays....

  • Day27

    Palermo

    May 10 in Italy

    Palermo is on the island of Sicily (Italy) and we did a tour of the Mysterys of Palermo. This included a trip to the Catacombs of the Capuchin monks. Here there were well preserved bodies of people from the late 1500's through to the 1800's? (not sure of date). There was even the preserved body of a 2 year old child who died of influenza in 1920 - the family got permission to open the catacombs for her. Quite interesting, people were very small back then. Could not take any photos, but then, it is bit macabre!

    We then had a walking tour through 2 oratories in the city. I am not really sure of the purpose of an oratory- they are sort of like a church or cathedral but it is a place where they meet to recite the rosary. My apologies to my Catholic friends as I probably have this entirely wrong but when the guide explained the paintings and the sculptures which outlined each of the 'mysteries' of the Christian faith (eg, the nativity, crucifixion, Pentecost etc - there were 15 sections) it made sense. The detail was incredible.

    Apart from that, Palermo is a large city. The traffic is chaotic, everyone seems to drive and park all over the place. Not a pretty city but an interesting day nevertheless.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Palermo, باليرمو, Горад Палерма, Палермо, Palerm, Palermu, Παλέρμο, پالرمو, Palerme, פלרמו, पलेर्मो, Պալերմո, パレルモ, პალერმო, 팔레르모, Panormus, Palermas, पालेर्मो, Palèrme, ปาแลร์โม, Lungsod ng Palermo, Pałermo, פאלערמא, 巴勒莫

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