Europe Day 9 – Sicily, Palermo

by Troy Grosfield
June 3rd, 2010
View from the Road

View from the Road

Today I made one of the most hectic, but most beautiful drives I’ve ever done.  I drove Monica, Sam, and myself from Catania to Palermo which is almost the farthest possible drive on the island.

The geography was incredible.   You see small cities nested in large towering hills.   It looked like something out of a lord of the rings scene (the good parts, not the dark and scary parts).


Driving into Palermo was crazy.  We hit rush hour and man was it hectic.  It’s like organized chaos where somehow everyone ends up on the same page.  There are bikes and scooters flying by on your left and right and no lines in the streets.   The streets are very narrow and at times our car barely fit down the roads.

Driving into Palermo

Driving into Palermo

We stayed downtown at the Excelsior Palace.  The lady cut us good deal and was very nice.  She said the only rooms they had available were for €150 which included breakfast.  I asked her if there were any other cheaper hotels nearby since we weren’t staying long and she asked how much we were willing to pay.  We ended up cutting a nice deal and got a free upgrade to a room with retractable skylights controlled by a switch in the room.

The City Vibe

People in Sicily eat late and in very large groups.  It’s not uncommon to find yourself waiting in a 30 minute line for a restaurant at 10 o’clock at night

People are very publicly affectionate with their significant others.  It’s shown between couples everywhere and you will frequently see couples having long make out sessions in the middle of the streets with many people around.

Buildings in Palermo are more modern then Catania.  The whole city has a very modern vibe with great shops, but has no nightlife.  You can find people grabbing a casual beer on certain streets, but most places close down around 1 or 2 am.  We had heard rumors of this before coming and apparently it has something to do with the Maffia living in Sicily.

Palermo may be one of the most beautiful places geographically I have ever been (sorry Colorado).

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  1. Author
    June 21st, 2010 at 10:16 am

    OOOH!! I’m soooo jealous you got to go to Palermo!! That’s where my family is from and it’s my #1 “must go there before I die” spot!!