Our last “vacation-from-the-vacation” day was spent in Palermo. Palermo has a reputation for mafia involvement, baroque architecture, and crazy-hectic streets. Although we didn’t have any run-ins with the mob… the beauty of the architecture and the craziness of the city definitely made an appearance.
The architecture was so different than the rest of Europe. It has it’s own unique, Sicilian style. The style is large, bright, and demanding while still being soft and pretty. Since we only had one day, we spent most of the day just walking around the city. We tried to hit some highlights by stopping by a few churches and cathedrals, some theaters, and a street market.
It was SO. HOT. I can’t even describe to you how hot it was. I have never had such a disturbing amount of sweat running down my back. I’m sure that’s what you wanted to know about our day….
The Palermo Cathedral was HUGE. It took up basically a city block in width! It wasn’t the tallest cathedral we have visited, but it was so long and so ornate.
The street markets here are mostly fish-based. There is an overwhelming fish smell as you walk through, which I don’t love, but the markets were interesting. For sale was lots of fish, lots of almonds and pistachios, and some unique fruits like bastardis (prickly pears from cacti.)
Check out these pictures of the market and the INSANE swordfish they are cutting up right on the street!
One of the most interesting things we observed about Palermo was it’s… dirtiness. It was just very… dirty. Sorry Palermo- but it’s true! There was a lot of trash on the streets and the overall feeling of the city was pretty… crumbly. The buildings look so derelict. There are so many apartment buildings and residential areas that I’m sure are very old and historic.. but have had so little upkeep that they are literally falling apart. It’s so crazy to see this pristine, baroque architecture paired with the disheveled buildings next door.
We finished out our day with a beautiful dinner outdoors once the weather had cooled down. We walked along the water and found some amazing trees to climb, and then treated ourselves to a wonderful meal of squid pasta and asparagus & ham risotto.
Below is a picture of our starter- some delicious prawns … served with the whole body intact. So… what do we do with that?
Since we had no internet service and couldn’t google it- we had to ask our waiter who I’m sure mumbled “dumb Americans” under his breath, but helped us nonetheless. Once we were able to successfully chop off a few heads, the prawns were amazing!
Caio da Italia!