Tuesday, February 5, 2013

JANUARY (but really just ‘Weekend in Palermo’)

I was so glad that we (ELA group), had already agreed to have a weekend together when we were all back in Sicily. The promise of wine and laughing was really the only thing that got me through the first 2 weeks back after the Christmas holidays.

After a bit of debate, and a LOT of consulting the trenitalia / various bus companies' websites, we settled on Palermo, as it was fairly easy for all of us to get to, and somewhere that we all wanted to visit.

So, another Friday night, another creepy Sicilian train station, then Katy, Laura and I reunited over a bottle of Nero D’Avola and headed out into the night to find food. We ended up at the place on Via Venezia, which is maybe not one of the prettiest places in Palermo (in fact it looks a lot like a car park...), but the food was AMAZING. In fact, it was SO good that we ate there 2 nights in a row.  THAT GOOD. It’s quite a small place, but full to the point where there are people queuing out the door. The menu is simple, and printed on the paper tablecloths, with maybe 3 antipasto options, 5 fish, and 5 meat options. The service was fast, despite the place being so busy, and the prices were really good. We shared antipasti and wine, and we each had our own main courses, and we paid 40 euro between the 3 of us, and then we bought nutella crepes from a stall in the street before heading back to the hostel for a (relatively) early night.

On Saturday morning, Fiona and Ruari arrived, so we took them to the hostel to drop off their bags, and went on a walking tour of Palermo. We wandered around the ballarò, ran away from some dogs, saw the Teatro Massimo and Teatro Politeama, we found H&M and Zara (sorry, Ruari!), we drank a lot of coffee, and when we looked at how far we’d actually trekked around Palermo, it was over 12km!

After a quick change at the hostel, we headed out in search of aperitivo and eventually back to the restaurant in Via Venezia, where we ordered a whole load of food to share, which is easily the best way to eat in this kind of place!

We then walked the short distance to a piazza just off Via Roma that we’d been told was the best place to go on a Saturday night. We ended up in a piazza, surrounded by crumbling, derelict buildings, hundreds of people, makeshift bars all around the edges of the square, and music blasting from who-knows-where. It was bizarre, but brilliant. We huddled together, dancing and sipping awful wine, exchanging looks that said “What the hell have we stumbled upon?” for a while until we collectively agreed that we were all knackered from the day’s activities and wandered back to the hostel.

Unfortunately, we realised the next morning that Fiona’s purse had been stolen, which somewhat ruined the memory of the night before.

We spent Sunday lazily café-hopping, and browsing in Zara again, while we each filtered off to get our respective buses and trains home. Finally, when we were just three again, waiting for Katy’s bus, I insisted on a trip to the Gelateria di Ciccio, where there’s a choice of at least 100 different flavours of gelato. It was the perfect way to end a weekend of incessant munching.

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