Friday, September 21, 2012

Palermo, Sicily

Arriving on the overnight ferry I stepped off the boat just in time to see the sun rise over the water as I walked into the city. Palermo, Sicily’s capital, once again surprised me with it’s size, over one million people reside here and though not as massive as Napoli it is just a busy even at sunrise as motorbikes, buses, and cars race down the streets. After resting for a while at my new host’s apartment, I went off to explore the city. With the assistance of my terribly unhelpful map, I was quickly confused and misdirected by the countless roads and busy side streets. Finally turning the correct corner I wandered through one of the famous street markets of Palermo, which lead me to the Cathedral. Rivaling the St. Peter’s Basilica of the Vatican City in size and beauty, the Cathedral took up more than a full city block, and towered over everything in its surroundings. The predicted rainstorm began to settle in just as I arrived to the Cathedral and I stowed away inside to explore the gorgeous interior while waiting out the storm. After exploring the detailed artwork and decorated altars, the rain finally let up I decided to venture out again, in search of the Piazzo di Reale of Palermo. The rain did not stay away for long and just as I arrived to the Piazzo, they were closing the gates, for what I assumed were safety reasons since the entrance alone was a slippery marble mess. I huddled under a small tarp covering the newspaper stand across the street with several others; many of them trying to sell me an umbrella, but my stubborn Washingtonian ways would not allow it. Soon the rain let up again, this time replaced by sunshine and I managed to get turned around several times again before finding the route back to the apartment, where I concluded the day, tired of navigating my way through this chaotic city for one day. 

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