Sicilian Adventures – Day 1

Ciao! This is the first entry of my week long Sicilian journey…

Fortunately, despite the best efforts of Ryanair, it’s been a success… Ryanair are one of those brands that get a lot of stick. Everyone loves to have a go at them but they do provide an essential service, namely getting people from A to B for a low price with minimum fuss. I would however like to suggest a couple of tweaks to their service that I think would fundamentally aid their reputation…

– Don’t advertise sachets of booze every 2 minutes throughout the duration of the flight, particulatly at 06:10 in the morning when passengers are trying to get some shut eye

– Ignore ‘budget airline protocol’ and employ people other than peroxide blonde slappers and incredibly camp chipmunks who cannot assist passengers in any way

– Most importantly, do not incentivise passengers to purchase ‘scratch cards by saying that if you sell 20, then you will sing a karaoke version of Britnet Spears ‘Hit me baby, one more time’ upon landing (the camp chipmunk)

My abiding memory of the first moments in Sicily will not be the spectacular descent over the fishermans boats and rocks onto a runway that is essentially a spit of land jutting out into the sea, but the offensive kaaraoke outlined above. Ear bleedingly bad…

Anyway, capuccinos, focaccia bread and a Fiat 500 later, we were heading into Central Palermo to our central hotel location. The Hotel Ambasciatori is pretty basic but perfect for our needs and within easy distance of our friends who have already arrived.

Lunch by the pool consisted of Sea Bass which tasted great. The big difference from travelling in Eirope in previous years is the Euro. You know what has happened to the exchange rate but it is only when travelling abroad that it really comes home to roost. Fish was 10 Euros for 100g which seems pretty expensive. It was good though and the rest of the stay should provide us with more opportunities to seek out traditional Trattorias more likely to provide real character and value for money.

After a recommendation, we are set to head out to eat at a restaurant called  Zafferanos which is supposed to be great and then out into the new town. The old town is apparently off limits after dark. The shadow of the Mafia really lingers over Palermo. Upon arriving, we were quoted prices to park on the street behind the hotel. Apparently though, the parking is all free and these are just extortionists preying on those without any local knowledge.

Driving is also terrifying. Right of way is a myth in many parts of the city and it is a free for all. It’s a question of sticking your neck out an relying on people stopping to avoid hitting you. Fortunately, my travelling companion is Greek and has experience of driving in Athens. The only worse drivers in Europe than the Italians are the Greeks!

We’re planning trips around the old town to check out the sites as well as a visit to Corleone tomorrow or Monday which should be great. Will hopefully have more to report then…

Till then…

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