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Palermo. Sicily.

Sergey Dolya • 8 minutes read • April 12th, 2016


is the main city in Sicily. I always associated it with the mafia and the film about the godfather. However, when our liner docked at the foot of

Mount Pellegrino

, we were surrounded not by mafia, but by the roguish taxi drivers vying in offering us an unforgettable experience and unique program. In the end, we chose the most brazen one, who promised not to take money from us if we wouldn't not like the tour. To avoid this, every 5 minutes he asked us: "Well?!? Do you like it?". For him to leave us alone we nod dutifully, and he exclaimed: "I told you so, didn't I!?!".
Acquaintance with the city we postponed "for later", and the rogue took us to the top of Mount Pellegrino, which offered a beautiful view of Palermo covered with morning mist:

At the top, in the rock, we went to the shelter of St. Rosalie, who led a hermit's life here. She is ascribed many miracles and is considered the patroness of Palermo. Inside the cave there was a divine service:

Communicative Italians always annoyed me and taxi drivers in particular. I sat at the shotgun, and our rogue constantly slapped my leg, sometimes holding his hand a little longer than the standards allowed. A couple of times he admired the strength of my lateral muscles, and in this case he did not want to take his hand off my hip.
Besides frivolous pats, he tortured me with stories of his love affairs. Especially emotionally he talked about the two nights spent in St. Petersburg. According to him, he hired there a girl guide, and already in the evening of the first day she passionately whispered in his ear: "You don't need to pay! I want to go up in your room!" And then he began to smack his lips, shake his head, roll his eyes. Throwing the wheel and clasping index fingers on his arms, he said earnestly, "Love Story. You understand?"...
On this observation deck I took the first picture with a poppy. The sea merged with the sky, and only a fuzzy strip of low clouds drawn a dotted fragile border between the kingdoms of Zeus and Poseidon. I wanted to get up on that cliff, spread widely my arms and shout at the very tiptop of voice, talking down the wind: "People!!!!! Yoo-Hoo!!!!"

The other side of the mountain overlooks the neighboring to Palermo Mondello Beach. This is a small cove with white sand and emerald water:

The coastline is built up with restaurants and private beaches. Rogue led us to one of them - Charleston Restaurant. Alluring ladder led down to water from its veranda:

After a day under the heat of Sicily we wanted to spend the evening on this veranda sipping refreshing Prosecco and watching the Mediterranean slowly swallowing the brick sun:

We even were led in the kitchen where we managed to snoop the local chefs preparing for the evening's influx of visitors:

After a couple of glasses of fresh juice we moved to the

Teatro Massimo

 in the center of Palermo:

Relaxed atmosphere reigned on the square in front of the theater:

Half of the square was filled with the ubiquitous scooters:

In general, a scooter in Italy should be recognized the car symbol. It is found here much more often than a Ferrari or Lamborghini. At traffic lights scooter drivers make their way through the stream of cars, resembling cereal pouring out of a bag full of holes:

And then, at the traffic light signal, they go off like Formula 1 racers:

We had a ride through the city and went to the quay:

People were fishing and smoking pot:

I was surprised by the horrible pollution of water:

Later, when our ship was already in a few kilometers from the coast, I again drew attention to the water. We literally were going through garbage islands (this photo was taken from the 10th deck):

By this time we got hungry and asked the rogue to recommend us a restaurant. Of course, there were no decent fish restaurants in Palermo, but at an additional cost he persuaded us to go to another suburb - Sferrakovallo:

The restaurant resembled a common diner at the sea:

At the entrance I noticed a Michelin sticker, and inside all the walls were posted with pictures of celebrities dining here.
The waiter told us that the dinner in the restaurant costs 25 Euro per person. Children - for free. Wine is included. We agreed.

First, we were brought a plate of fried shrimps; with rings of squid and octopus; salad of squid, mussels and scallops, drenched with olive oil and another dish with sweet fish in breadcrumbs.
When the plates were empty, they were replaced with two large trays with delicate fish hanging from the edges and dripping oil on the cloth. Between the trays they put a big tub of cooked mussels, black shells of which were spattered with tomato sauce. We hardly ate all this.
Finally, food and wine were over, and we asked for the check. The waiter looked at us in surprise and said that first he would bring us a paste. Soon on the table there was a bowl filled with pasta with seafood striving to fall out on the table, as well as a pan with risotto. We immediately asked for another bottle of wine and, panting, tasted the food. We could not finish it. We ask for the check again. The waiter again made a surprised face and exclaimed: "And what about lobsters!?!?!?", to which we helplessly stammered: "Lobsters?"
I had to use reserves of my stomach and we ate lobster already standing as in the sitting position there was no place for them in the body.
The waiter refused to let us go without dessert and brought us bowls of strawberry sorbet and finally struck us. Check for four adults and two children turned out to be exactly 100 Euros, despite 2 bottles of wine.
Happy and having a bellyful for free at a nearby table rogue took us back to the center of Palermo. We had an hour and a half before the departure, and we chartered a horse carriage to learn more about the city:

I wasn't able to take pictures after such dinner. Here are just a couple of them:

In the evening Palermo again was covered with the haze, sliding over the city from the nearby mountains and enveloping domes of cathedrals:

In the next article you'll read about Naples, the ascent to the top of Mount Vesuvius and another dinner on the beach in Sorrento.
Author: Sergeydolya

Translated by: Gian Luka

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