Christmas Gift Ideas
Palermo is the kind of loud, in-your-face city about which it doesn’t take long to form strong first impressions. The beauty, noise, trash, history and lively street life don’t hide themselves, and I suspect that our initial feelings about the city will not change a lot over the course of the next couple months.
Mike: I will never be able to shake the nightmarish visages of the corpses in the Capuchin Catacombs from my memory.
Jürgen: I will be always able to recall the smell of the bakery around the corner from us. The scent of freshly baked breads with a touch of sesame wafting up to us every day… mmmm…
Mike: I’ve been treating myself to far too many cannoli. So good.
Jürgen: Too many things to choose from but I guess that I’m most in love with Palermo’s fried street food, especially the arancine.
Mike: I was stunned to learn how active the Mafia is here. For some reason, I thought they were a part of the past, but nope. Not at all.
Jürgen: How similar the old town feels to the historic center of Valencia (our home base in Spain), but then again both cities were ruled by the same King, so it makes sense.
Mike: I had been really excited about moving to the Vucciria after reading about its colorful and crazy market. Sadly, the market has almost completely disappeared, due to recent reconstruction efforts in the neighborhood — I’ve seen so many disappointed tourists wandering through; guidebooks make it sound incredible. Maybe it was.
Jürgen: The traffic and public transportation. I can’t believe how completely neglected pedestrians are, and how dangerously they have it. Also, the #105 bus is laughable. I’ve waited over an hour on that thing… it just never comes!
Funniest / Weirdest
Mike: The kids who live below us are a constant source of humor — whether they’re dancing on the balcony to club music in their underwear, or engaging us in a long conversation about their new puppy (oblivious to the fact that we don’t understand a word).
Jürgen: People don’t use phones here. Instead they step out onto the balcony and scream over at their cousin, to ask if they want to come by for dinner tonight. ANTOOONIOOOOO!
How Expensive? From 1 (cheap) to 10 (expensive)
Mike: 7. You can eat cheap if you stick to street food, but Palermo’s still one of the pricier destinations we’ve visited. Museums and touristy sights seem to be especially costly.
Jürgen: 7. If you shop at the markets, you can find great prices, but it really depends who serves you. I’m always paying a different price for the same goods.
People from Palermo are…
Mike: … always driving Vespas like maniacs. And shouting about something.
Jürgen: … eager to talk to you even when you signal that you don’t understand a word of Italian
Palermo in Three Words
Mike: Messy, Historic, Fattening
Jürgen: Baroque, Loud, Seafood
Agree? Disagree? Let us know what your impressions of the city are in the comments! It’ll be interesting to see if we keep these opinions over the next couple months. And to see if Sicily manages to change us at all… already, I’ve noticed that Juergen and I are beginning to shout at each other, in place of talking.