Palermo

When we woke up this morning we were still sailing. Feeling like we needed some exercise we headed to the gym but as all the machines were occupied, we decided to make use of the jogging track. We then went back to the gym, finished off with some weights etc then headed off to undo all the good work at the buffet breakfast. It was great watching the shoreline of Sicily grow ever nearer as we walked laps! So after a hearty breakfast, we set off on foot to explore Palermo. After passing the hordes of Italians trying to sell tours and horse drawn carts, we were able to explore the streets relatively comfortably.

The architecture here is quite lovely but not well looked after and the majority of the buildings are grubby and crumbling.

This is a classic example.. a building that is completely derelict!

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We meandered for some time, taking in firstly the Teatro Maximus.. the largest theatre in Europe apparently. It certainly was grand, being built in the late 1800’s & we were only sorry we weren’t able to catch the next performance which was La Boheme. We did take a quick tour inside though.. quite spectacular.with the hand painted decorations, gold gilded ceilings and beautiful lights.

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We then followed some side streets that were all full of ristorantes & some lovely little artisan shops. Stumbling on one of the many churches, we stuck our head in & found of course, magnificent mosaics and frescoes. It being Sunday here, the churches were all in action so great to see them that way.

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We then found the most amazing piazza (Quattro Canti) with four buildings around it bearing some incredible statues representing, among other things, the 4 seasons.

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We wandered some more and both remarked that the area had obviously been used by the new Indian population.

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Continuing on, we came upon the cathedral. You can definitely see the Moorish influence in the coloured tile roofs of the Duomos (similar to those on the Amalfi Coast and Capri) and the shapes of the windows and decoration on the stone.

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Feeling a bit in need of a refreshment we stopped at a bar and had a beer & got incredibly ripped off! The cost of the two beers would have bought us a meal a couple of streets away.. very naughty Sicilians & possibly connected to the Mafia!

The cathedral was surveyed and explored. We looked at the map & considered visiting the ruins of Segestra but decided that it was way too hot and sitting by the pool on the boat seemed somewhat more attractive. So we decided to head back to the ship. However we did enjoy walking the streets that had all been closed off… we think because it was Sunday and the locals could do their wanderings in traffic free peace. Lucky for us as we discovered a great little place that was doing a roaring trade selling arancini balls. These are mixtures of rice with various flavourings rolled into a ball and deep fried. We both had the Funghi one which was just divine.

Back to the ship then and enjoyed a swim and sunbake before we hoisted anchor and set sale for Salerno. Tonight was the Captain’s Drinks and formal night so we got dolled up in our outfits. We enjoyed a drink first watching the sunset (again) and then joined the others for the champagne waterfall and met the Captain and officers. We enjoyed another great meal and a show which was a solo gentleman, somewhat of a comedian, who was playing piano and singing.. very entertaining.

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