Friday, May 05, 2006

Our days in Palermo -- I
March 13 to March 19, 2006
[Pictures enlarge when you click on them]
(You can have this map separately [link].)
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Our Spring 2006 Sicily, Amalfi Coast, Provence, and Tuscany vacation:
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We were to spend the first two weeks in Sicily, another week around Amalfi, a week in Provence, and a final week in Tuscany.
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Initially, we flew to Palermo, staying there six nights while we toured northern and western Sicily. We would end up at Taormina near Mt. Etna before departing for the Amalfi Coast.
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Our friend, Gene, has a daily Sicily run of pictures on his Web site(link). They didn't go on to the Almalfi Coast.
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In last Friday's blog (link) I asked, "what is Mrs. Jim doing here?"
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You would never guess, but she is eating a boiled potato at a Sicilian market. Italian people close their places of work and trade from noon until about 3:00 or a little later.

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With so many women working now, the markets cater to prepared foods. This is similar to our take out/take home style eating in the states. How would you like to work all morning, commute home and cook for the rest of the family. Not any more now that all these preparted foods can be purchased at the markets.
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While we were looking around at the market, this guy was filling a paper bucket with boiled potatoes.
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We didn't pay him any nevermind until our tour guide started handing them out. We were on a walk on our first afternoon in Palermo, compliments of our Grand Circle tour guide, Maurizio.

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Not everyone had arrived yet and because the natives (us) were getting restless, we all went out, letting Maurizio show us around. He knew we would be hungry after our long plane ride so he bought us these.
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Later he would take us to a cafe/bar where we could eat a late afternoon meal or have a snack.

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We continued this walking tour, finding the essentials like the Internet Cafe, eating places, and a couple of grocery stores.
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We all were very tired, but there was the welcome dinner at the hotel. Our whole group hadn't arrived, but we still had dinner that night.
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There were 29 in our group, eight of them showed up the next day. There was a problem with their plane (Delta Airlines) so they were stuck in Chicago for the night. The rest of us were glad we went ahead and ate, no waiting for them.
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Our hotel was an old one, in the middle of town. When we found our room, it had twin beds. Maurizio changed that for us, getting us a room matrimonial. It had a king size bed. From then on, all our Italian rooms were matrimonial. Ask for them when you are in Italy.
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The only English TV broadcast was CNN. That was enjoyable, but we hadn't been to bed for two days, just slept a little on the plane. You can bet we really did sleep good that night. Had to get up early for breakfast the next day and be on the tour.
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The next day was a morning bus and walking tour of Palermo. Breakfast was superb for a continental one. I was already getting to like Sicilian cheese.
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This was the view from our dining room. It was a little foggy (pollution?) in the mornings, but you can imagine the Mediterranean laying beyond those buildings.
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Then on to a couple of Cathedrals.
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First was the Palermo Cathedral. Construction was began in 1184 A.D. (link)(another link). These tombs contained remains of the Royal and clerical people. Perhaps the most famous was Costance de Hauteville (link). Significant also because it would be the first of many, many, churches we would visit in Europe.
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Next was the Monreale Cathedral. This one was started in 1174 (link). Looking towards the alter,

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and this is the Cloister of Monreal. .
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And on to the Palermo Opera House, Teatro Massimo. It is the second largest historic opera house in Europe (after the Paris Opéra's Palais Garnier).(another link).
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NOTE: Gene has a lot more pictures than I will post here anyway (link). BE SURE TO LOOK AT BOTH gallery pages, 1 and 2.
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And what do you think we did that night on our first whole day in Sicily?


See you next week, Friday or so. Jim


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Comments:
You just had too much fun spending your kids' inheitance. (Uh oh. This one's doomed to deletion.)
 
It might be debt that we will die with and the kids will have to pay it!
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I love the cathedral pic.
 
Jim,

What wonderful photos. I loved Italy when I went with Scrag End and Sam. We went to Rome. Scrag End was on a business trip so Sam and I just went about being tourists. We loved it. He was four at the time and adorable. Now he is ten and still adorable with a touch of annoying thrown in.

Take care

Catherine
 

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