Dec 1st we made our way to Palermo Sicily via Rome from Casablanca Morocco. Only about 4 hours on airplanes but about 9 hours to complete the journey. Not bad considering it seemed like we jumped 500 years in time. We loved Morocco but now we are closer to where we belong. We were picked up by our host landlord Andrea and his cousin Chiara at the airport and driven to our apartment in the old part of Palermo. On Sunday we awoke to a very quiet city as on Sunday, everything is closed. We didn’t hear the now familiar first call to prayer at 530 am. We actually missed it a little but then the church bells started ringing so whatever. We love the little apartment. It has a great view of the Palermo Cathedral and the mountains and is right next to the new Justice Building so anyone can give us directions back to it.
Our apartment is right in the middle of the old town and literally 100ft from the Capo street market. This is the best of the 3 street markets in Palermo, as we have discovered. Each morning we get up and wander over to the market for cappuccinos and a pastry, normally filled with chocolate. We would share those of course. It’s so awesome to sit and watch the busy world go by here.
After wards would wander the Capo to pick up our supplies for that nights dinner. We can get all of the fixings for caprese salad, mixed seafood pasta and wine for under $25. Plus some fruit and yogurt for breakfast and cheese, breads and sausage for afternoon tasty snacks. Now that’s more like it. The vegetables are amazing and the fish vendors have everything (including prawns).
What is fantastic, is we need to walk through this market to get to the main street that we take to anywhere in Palermo so we walk through this about 5-6-8 times a day. The vendors get to recognize you and they call you over to sample cheese or meat or even some of the many fried goodies like cheese and potato. We have a couple that we normally buy from now and they always treat us well. They speak enough english to try and Grant speaks enough to get by and they seem to love the effort. It’s a lot of fun and we always seem to get both parties points across and everyone has a good time doing it. The people really are fantastic. Lunch usually consists of some red wine, cheese and something round.
In a very nondescript building within the Capo market (now known as our market) is this incredible Catholic church that was built in 1612. We only found it as we walked by because the front doors were open. Otherwise you would never know it was there. The inside was unbelievable. A couple of days later we were shopping in our market when we noticed the church was full of people and on the ground was a red carpet that extended all the way through the market. Not the normal appearance of the discarded vegetable strewn ground here. All of a sudden, the shoppers parted and a bride walked through the market to the church. Another hanging as Wendy says. It was certainly a very large affair and what a great venue. We went for a walk to another part of town and returned 3 hours later and found the bride and groom just exiting the church. Glad I wasn’t at that one but we’re sure the party will be good.
We have been wandering the various parts of the city, old and new, and really like it here. We have found a few Enotica’s that are wine bars that serve wine by the glass from everywhere and every varietal for $4-$6/glass. Our favourite is the Enotica Buttice only about 3 blocks from our apartment. We didn’t have a reservation so they sat us at what they call the “communal” table. This is the table for people that just show up and you never know who you are going to spend the evening with. Normally people come and have 1 or 2 glasses and then move on. For a change we had a few more than 1 or 2 and we enjoyed 2 turnovers of the table. Imagine that. It was great. Everyone spoke enough english for us to have great visits and get some great local information on things to see etc. Miraculously we missed dinner somehow and it was time to go home. The next day we stayed in and watched tv………actually we watched music videos which were at least a little bit in english. No other english tv here.
2 more weeks in Sicily and so far we love it. Tomorrow we are taking the bus to a local beach town that is supposed to be fun. But first we need to stock up at the market as we need to get our Sunday food also. Ciao.