Palermo was a sensory overload.
Italy is wonderfully loud. There is no calmness here. From the beeping of horns to the passionate yelling of families. We only walked for ten minutes to reach our guest house but we both felt like we might as well have trekked across the sahara desert… We were exhausted. And of course nothing seems to go too smoothly when we try and check into our accommodation. We were left waiting outside and knocking trying to get let in. Our iPhones have saved us on more occasions than I can count, I’m not sure what phone-less travellers do in these situations… because we called our host who told us they would arrive in 5 minutes. We weren’t sure if Italian time was anything like Spanish time, where 5 minutes means an hour or two… but luckily it’s closer to real time.
No rest for the wicked unfortunately. We knew that for our five weeks in Italy we needed to buy an Italian sim card. Three out of four of the accommodation we had booked didn’t have internet, we were mostly taking it one week at a time so we would need to google our next move, and English isn’t that common in Sicily, so having the ability to text/call our hosts, translate and have maps at our finger tips was essential. We’d found a great deal with TIM carrier for the Milan expo which offered 100 free international minutes, 4gb of data and 5euro credit for texts all for 30 euro. The only downside was google was telling us the only TIM store was 5.5km walk from our apartment….
By now the streets were dusk-lit, the traffic jams intensified and the city had come to life. We trekked through alleyways, and market streets closing up. I saw a woman lowering her basket from her third story window so she could buy a loaf of fresh bread from a boy on the street. I saw stray dogs being fed by happy store owners. We saw into doorways where old Italian men sat engulfed in a cloud of smoke while they played cards around a table. We stopped at small middle-eastern deli’s to buy dinner ingredients – a packet of couscous, a can of beans and diced tomato and fresh vegetables. Dinner for 3 euro. I missed most of the moments with my camera because I was too busy soaking it all in with my eyes.
Theres no better way sometimes than to let the pictures do the talking. So here is the story in images, our first taste of life in Sicily.