Walking out of the bus to the sight of a man peeing on the side of a building was not the most reassuring way to start out our weekend in Palermo, but we were proved wrong in many ways. The bus we took from Siracusa to Palermo was 12 euros and took about 3.5 hours. The ride was foggy, but there were beautiful mountains all around us. One thing that was unique was that there were many houses built into the sides of the mountains, as if they were falling off. I cannot imagine living in something like that. It took us 30 minutes to walk to the Rainbow Hotel, where we stayed for 80 euros total for the two nights. Mallorie and I split the cost and got assigned the orange room, which was interesting. To get electricity and power we had to plug a hotel key into the wall and keep it plugged in over night to keep our phones charged. The shower was bigger than the one we have here in Ortigia, but the beds were a tad less comfortable than ours.
After setting our things down and getting settled in our rooms we decided to venture out to get some food. It took us a while to find a place because we originally wanted to find one of the bigger open markets and grab something to eat there, but we got a bit lost. I mean, what is traveling if you don’t get lost at some point? We sat down at a restaurant that had a little bit of everything. I had the best pasta yet that was called Angry Spaghetti. If you know me, you know that I love my spicy foods. Since being in Italy I have yet to find things with heat, but Friday was the day I found my true Italian love. Angry Spaghetti had the perfect amount of heat while being sweet at the same time. Mallorie got salmon bow tie pasta with a white sauce that was also heaven. It was a little too salty for her so of course I said we could switch because I am all about getting the best of both worlds. The rest of the day was designated for shopping and exploring. We found a local coffee place called Don Gelato that reminded me of a Dunkin Donuts. It had real cappuccinos in to-go cups that were not the size of an espresso shot! Lets just say I fell in love with Palermo right then and there. After enjoying that fine sip of caramel cappuccino we walked to see the catacombs. This was an interesting experience because we got to see all of these preserved dead corpses for 3 euros. It was creeping but made you think of every skeleton and their story. After this we went back to the hotel to change clothes and get some dinner. Mallorie talked to the American-speaking employee at the front desk and he gave us a couple of places we needed to explore and eat at. We went to one of the restaurants recommended and got a bottle of wine to share. I enjoyed a garlic, olive oil, and parmesan dish that was plain but nothing less than benissimo (great).
Day 2 of Palermo was fantastic. We shopped at a couple of places that we didn’t get to go to the previous day and ate lunch at a random café next to the bus station. It was grab and go items and I was perfectly fine with that. We planned to go to Mondello where there is an amazing beach. We took a bus to the stadium of Palermo’s professional soccer team and decided to get off there. The doors were open and seemed inviting. There were people cleaning the stadium and they gave us smiles and let us explore. Mallorie went onto the pitch to take a picture, but got a little talk telling her she could explore anywhere but the field. It was fun! We finally found the bus to Mondello that took 20 minutes. The beach was absolutely breath taking. It felt so nice to have the soft sand between my toes and to wiggle them around. We also saw some pink sand, which was something I had heard about before but had never seen! We walked down the boardwalk to where the boats were docking and it felt like I was in a movie. To my left were people selling pastries and to my right were several kids playing a pick up game of soccer in the sand. T-shirts and a few sandals marked the goals. We stopped at a café to grab something sweet and squeezed in next to a younger looking couple. Dom, Jaden, Mallorie, and I started talking about how pretty the view was when the couple leaned over and asked us where we were from… IN ENGLISH. We were so surprised to hear other English speaking people in Mondello. Over a course of 20 minutes they explained to us their life story. They are climbers from Canada that take off for 3 months during the winter and travel somewhere warmer to climb. They had previously been in Malta and now are in Palermo and the surrounding cities. They said their most favorite place was Crete, Greece. It was so great to exchange in conversation with people from an English speaking country. We headed back shortly after and got ready to celebrate Jaden’s 21st birthday. We found a bar right outside of our hotel that had live music and great wine! It was one of the best times I have had here. We danced for close to 3 hours to American songs like: Jessie’s girl, Grease, John Mayer, and plenty other recognizable “oldies”. The lead singer played a Cajon, which was also cool to see since my dad plays one and has made one! We headed back home Sunday around 2:00. If every weekend is going to be like this one, I am going to have an even harder time leaving than I thought.