Province of Palermo

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

82 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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  • Day259


    March 12, 2017 in Italy

    Making our way east along the northern coast, the views were mixed. We wimped out and took the autostrada past Sicily's capital city Palermo. The driving had been described in the guide book as some of the most anarchic in Europe. After the tranquility of Zingaro Nature Reserve we wanted to stay in our relaxed frames of mind, something the chaotic city streets would have tried! As we approached the urban area, we saw more tourist resorts beside the glistening Tyrrhenian sea. High rise flats dominated the view, some of them modern and in good condition, others crumbling. The road became more confused as we drew closer. Motorbikes and mopeds wove in and out of the traffic, the white lines were hardly visible and so we were never quite sure whether there were two lanes or three. The hard shoulder was frequently used as a handy undertaking lane and we found that whilst it was dangerous, it was no use getting stressed, the best thing was just to go with the flow as the locals seemed to be doing.

    Leaving the city behind we were able to enjoy the outstanding countryside, overlooked by sharp sided mountains. Climbing inland we zig zagged past an incredibly deep rocky gorge before our eyes were drawn by a light blue lake filling a v shaped valley floor. The town we were to stay in had a view of this lake and from the car park we could hear bells clanking from the necks of cows grazing on its slopes.

    Pulling in, we were instructed to back up in a specific spot by a whistle blowing, rather unofficial looking man. His front two teeth were missing and he spoke very fast, making it impossible for Vicky to understand him. He asked us for €2 and we handed it over. We'd heard about unofficial attendents who asked for money and if people refused, they would return to find their cars damaged. Official or not, he at least managed to keep good order in the car park and direct us towards some places we could eat lunch.

    Cacciamo had a large, quite modern castle on top of a rocky outcrop. It was in a square with a view of this, that we sat out for a lunch of piadino (thick fajita) and crepe sandwiches with a bottle of red wine. It was probably warmer sitting in this square in mid March than it will be in mid summer when we are up in Sweden. We finished lunch off with a visit to the gelaterria and some cherry, vanilla and Ferrero Rocher ice creams.

    The car park had new looking water and electric points installed for vans. Unfortunately, they were so new that they weren't yet connected, so we needed to be a bit conservative with our water usage. The parking attendant returned to duty after his siesta and diligently stayed until 10pm, blowing his whistle to catch drivers' attention. He hung around the van and when Will opened the door to let the cooking steam out, he poked his head in, spied our fruit box and cheekily asked for an orange! The car park filled up as the evening progressed and people flooded in for a meal. We heard plenty of loud arguments over the fee but got the impression that the attendant always got his way!
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  • Day9

    Mal schnello Mondello

    September 27 in Italy

    Der Strand von Palermo liegt etwa 10km außerhalb im ehemaligen Fischerdorf Mondello. Dorthin fährt alle 10min ein Bus und der kostet auch nur günstiges Geld. Sollte also keine große Sache sein.
    Da mein Bikini allerdings auf Vulcano geblieben ist, muss ich noch "schnell" einen neuen kaufen und so ist es auch wieder 15 Uhr bis ich am Strand ankomme. Der wird zwar links und rechts durch dekorative Berge verschönert... ist aber auf den zweiten Blick nicht unbedingt sauber. Und vor allem kalt. Hier draußen weht ein Wind, der bei 21° nicht mehr im positiven Sinne erfrischend ist. Ich liege also tapfer 10min - nicht in meinem neuen Bikini - auf dem Handtuch, bevor ich selbiges wieder einpacke und beschließe, mein Buch dann eben in der wärmeren Innenstadt in einem Park zu lesen. Ich komme dann sogar noch schneller dazu als gedacht. Nämlich direkt an der Bushaltestelle, weil der Bus über eine Stunde auf sich warten lässt. Ist halt Sizilien.
    Das war also mein Ausflug nach Mondello. Den Bildern sieht mans ja nicht an. Und den Abend verbringe ich dann doch noch entspannt in der Innenstadt bei Aranchino und Vino.
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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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  • Day373

    Day 374: To Milazzo via Cefalu

    February 23 in Italy

    Time to leave Palermo, a city which neither of us will miss! As I said a few days ago, it feels very much like a developing world city: dirty, crowded and noisy, and sort of on the edge of lawlessness. So we checked out around 10am and headed eastwards along the coast.

    First stop was the town of Cefalu, where a cathedral was part of the world heritage site from yesterday - more Norman buildings with Arab influences. After some difficulty finding a parking place, we eventually found the cathedral. It looked great from the outside - two large bell towers looming over the square, but inside was only one small mosaic and comparatively not super interesting. I'd already decided it wouldn't feature in the video, so no huge loss thankfully!

    The town itself seemed fairly nice, a little seaside place which would be quite bustling in summertime but was obviously quiet at the moment. Found an open place and had some arancini for lunch as was becoming our tradition! Walked up and down the waterfront then returned to the car and drove further eastwards to Milazzo, near the north-eastern tip of Sicily. Not actually that far from where we first landed on the ferry a week ago.

    Found our apartment with no troubles, parked up and went inside. Reasonable size, though again very cold and only an air conditioner in the bedroom. Internet quite slow again but at least it's consistent rather than dropping out! Settled in for the afternoon though we tripped a fuse trying to run the kettle, washing machine and air conditioner at the same time! Although the host lived in the next apartment and fixed it fairly quickly, it meant that (unbeknownst to us) the hot water system had turned off as well, which we found out about later.

    Stayed in for the rest of the day and worked before cooking pasta in the evening.
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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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You might also know this place by the following names:

Palermo, Provinz Palermo, Province of Palermo, Provincia de Palermo, مقاطعة باليرمو, Палермо, ཕ་ལེར་མོ།, Proviñs Palermo, Província de Palerm, Provincie Palermo, Παλέρμο, Provinco de Palermo, Palermo provints, Palermoko probintzia, استان پالرمو, Palermon maakunta, Palerme, פלרמו, Palermo megye, Provinsi Palermo, パレルモ県, პალერმოს პროვინცია, 팔레르모 현, Provincia Panormitana, Provinsia de Palermo, Pruvincia de Palermo, Palermo provincija, Palermo province, Палермо аймаг, Wilayah Palermo, Palermo Séng, Provinsen Palermo, Província de Palèrme, Prowincja Palermo, Provincia ëd Palerm, ضلع پالرمو, Provincia Palermo, Provìntzia de Palermu, Pruvincia di Palermu, Province o Palermo, Provinca e Palermos, Palermo ili, صوبہ پالیرمو, Provincia de Pałermo, 巴勒莫省

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