Monday, June 18, 2007

Port of Palermo

Hello, Jeff here again. I’m trying to get Susan and/or Katy to contribute to the blog but they’d rather do other things like take naps and rest. The nerve! We’ve got a few minutes before dinner so I’ll try to catch up with what we did today in Palermo, but first some info abut the city:
  • Population is just under 700,000 people
  • It covers an area of 61 square miles
  • The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC
  • Its original Phoenician name was “Ziz”, which means “flower”
  • Palermo is one of the world’s most conquered cities

We docked at Palermo at 7 am and were off the ship just after 8 am for our Disney tour of the coastal village of Cefalu (pronounced Chefalu). Getting off the ship was very straightforward and we were escorted behind a big Mickey Mouse head sign to bus 11. We had just under a full bus. Our tour guide, Peter, did a nice job telling us about various sites of Palermo, including a beautiful opera house and Theatre, as we rode through the city on our way to Cefalu, which lies about 70 kilometers east on the north coast of the island. The bus ride was just over 1 hour. Once we arrived at Cefalu, we had to park the bus and walk perhaps 1/8 mile into town. Once we got there it was obvious why we couldn’t drive. The streets all through town are very narrow – basically a single cobblestone lane between old, multi-story buildings, most of which have wrought iron balconies filled with various plant and flower decorations. We also noticed most balconies had clothes lines above them and it was common to see linens and clothes hanging out to dry. The town was very picturesque as you can see from the few photos I’ve included – it almost didn’t seem real. Peter took us on a guided walking tour which ended up at the Piazza Duomo – a beautiful little square in front of the Cefalu Cathedral. Here Peter showed us where the public toilets were which we were free to use for the sum of 0.50 Euro.

After our short break, Peter took us into the Cathedral. Being a person who is awed by history it blew my mind that we were standing in a church that was built almost 3 centuries BEFORE Christopher Columbus sailed to America. Inside the church there were beautiful altars and statues like the Virgin Mary and child here. I really can’t find words to describe it. After 15 minutes or so, we were taken back out into the Piazza where a table was set up with “snacks”. We had bottled water, orange juice and espresso coffee, along with cannoli, crème puffs, some green dessert that was delicious and some type of nut pastry. To top that off, we had to have a gelato too. This was my first experience with gelato and it was yummy!

After our snacks, we had about 30 minutes of free time on our own. Susan, Katy and I wandered through some of the shops and then went back down to the beach to snap some more photos. We made our way back to the bus at noon and were soon on our way back to Palermo.

On the way out of town, the bus stopped at a nice overlook where we were able to snap some post card type photos of Cefalu. During the bus ride back, Peter passed out bottled water, some candy and some pizza flavored crackers. Once in Palermo, Peter had the bus driver take us back through some other sites, including a historical city gate, the Parliament building and a king’s palace. We were back to the ship on time at 1:30 pm. After going aboard for a quick bit of lunch, we ventured back out on our own to walk through the city but came back after an hour because it was so HOT.

Sail away was delayed for almost an hour as we apparently waited for some late guests but we’re now on our way to Naples. Tomorrow we have a private tour booked with DriveAmalfi, who will take us to Pompeii and to several towns along the famous Amalfi Coast, including Sorrento, Ravello and Positano. Time for bed.


Myra Lee Horn said...

Jeff, Good job! I was almost walking with you. Pictures were very good. Does not look as poor as Mexico. Get some citizens in your next photo if you can.

Have fun, Love, Myra

Myra Lee Horn said...



Anonymous said...

Hi son & susan just got arond to looking reading.happy birthday susan!!! AM ENJOYING YOUR TRIP.OLIVER IS DOING FINE LOVESUE

Mamiesspencer said...