Palermo: a Quick Stay
I had time in Rome before my connecting flight to Palermo to exchange money. I’ve been to Europe before but this was the first time with the Euro currency. Out of curiosity, I asked the attendant at the exchange desk if he liked the Euro.
“No,” he said taking money from the drawer. “Increased prices in a lot of things.”
As my trip wore on I found this transition wasn’t the greatest for most. I heard the common theme that when people were paid in Lire they had more to spare at the end of the month. Not so with the Euro.
My flight to Palermo left an hour late. The pilot must have stepped on it as I landed not far off from my original time.
The driver whizzed me to my hotel. Then it was another whiz through check-in at the Jolly Hotel.
After a quick shower, change of clothing, I loaded film into my camera and headed outside to kill what hours were left in the day. I needed to stay awake to adjust my body to Italian time. That night I had my first delicious gelato (ice cream) of Italy 2003 (I had been to Italy 22 years ago).
The next morning after my included buffet breakfast at the hotel, I headed off for the day adventure in Palermo. Walking along Via Lincoln, among the old crumbled stone buildings, graffiti abound, garbage on the ground, I found myself on Via Roma. Then I continued to walk until Via Vittoria Emmanuel. I glanced at my watch. I can’t be only 10:15. It was 10:15 a while ago. Aaaah. My watch had stopped. Damn! The watch is needed for my upcoming tour when the tour guide tells us how long we have where and what time to meet back.
I headed back to my Jolly Hotel. It was 11:30. The representative of my tour was still at her post. “My watched stopped? Where can I go to fix it?”
I walked down Vittorio Emanuele glancing at shops trying to find the watchman the representative described. No luck. I must have passed it. At Piazza Marina, the largest square in Palermo, I asked around, pointing to my watch to help people understand. A shop owner pointed me in the right direction. The shop buzzed me in. Thankfully, they fixed my watch for 3 Euros. Talk about timing (uh, no pun intended), it was Saturday morning and all shops close at 1:00. My tour started the next day.
Since I was already at Piazza Marina, I walked around. Here there is Palazzo Steri-Chiaramonte, a palace built in 1307, then I relaxed in the park of Giardina Garibadi and enjoy the fountain here and shade providing a cool relief on this hot day.
I continued back on Vittoria Emanuele and found a market. Unfortunately I was too late for the busiest time due to my watch problem but nonetheless, meat was hanging about, fresh fruit graced the tables.
Continuing my walk up Vittoria Emanuele I found the beautiful Quattro Canti (Four Corners) where sculpted angels are on each corner.
East of the Four Corners is the Piazza Pretoria square holding Fontana della Vergogna or “fountain of shame” because the nude statues and mythological monsters angered churchgoers leaving services at San Giuseppe dei Teatini. However, when I was there, boards surrounded the statues for maintenance work.
Only having a day, I stuck on Vittoria Emanuele since most of the sites were along this main road. Up further is the Duomo, the cathedral that was once turned into a mosque by Arab rulers. Today this beautiful cathedral is a mixture of styles. The blue sky captured the beauty of this cathedral in my pictures. Then I heard a man say something sharply. I turned. I guessed the local told this other man, I assumed a tourist, to put his shirt back on. I agreed with the local.