Day 2 of the Sicilian trip has been fantastic. A real mix of lounging around, some great food and some culture. And being with great mates makes it almost perfect.
Last night, we enjoyed a fantastic meal in the centre of the town. Sicily has a reputation for great food that is carefully prepared and so far that is a reputation that is fully deserved. First courses were antipasti – 3 huge plates of salad, cheeses, prosciutto hams and more. We then enjoyed buttered spaghetti with truffles. Forget truffles in London, these were bloody great shavings where you literally had to tell the waiter to stop when you had enough…amazing… Washed down with a great Viognier at the restaurant and a couple of litres of cheap sugarry mojitos in a piazza nearby.
Palermo is a strange city. It doesn’t have a huge night life. The centre of town was busy but began to empty out about half past one unlike many other cities. It also has next to no tourists. Everyone has been friendly but not in as outgoing a way as say, a Barcelona or a Paris… There are some areas of the town that become no-go areas late at night and the spectre of the Mafia lingers over the city as a sub text.
Today the morning was spent enjoying the pool, catching up and enjoying breakfast on the roof terrace. A few hours in the sun later, we ventured to the ‘Trattoria Primavera’, a no-frills restaurant in the old town that was recommended to us which provided amazing value and great tasting rustic style Sicilian food. The food is simple, hearty and based around good quality ingredients. We then headed to the ‘Cathedrale’ nearby. This was build over a number of centuries starting in the 11th century and having bits and pieces added to it over the following four centuries. It was striking from the outside but underwhelming on the inside. The guidebook suggested that some aspects were not appreciated by the purists…the dome was added in the 15th Century…but I thought it was really striking. It helped that all the buildings were set against the brightest bluest sky imaginable…and right next to an amazing ice cream shop!
Next up were the catacombs just away from the centre of the city. Here 8000 skeletons have been preserved underground through a variety of methods including arsenic baths, vingear, embalming and many more. It is areally creepy place and in the rough end of town. It’s a real experience though and well worth a visit.
Tonight is going to be a relaxed affair. It’s about 34 degrees here and energy levels don’t last long in that heat. Roll on the beach day tomorrow before heading on to stay in Agrigento for a night, Syracuse for a night and Taormina for the final three day…