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  • Writer's pictureeloisaparcours

An unexpected visit

I hosted two American friends from Florida. They are travellers and not tourists. They made a courageous decision to leave their home city and start travelling around the world also offering volunteer works in exchange of hospitality.

The first time I met them was in Leeds in 2019, where they were working in an English school.

Since then we have been keeping in touch and after England, Morocco, Zanzibar, France, Italy, Mexico, … they finally got to Palermo, and it was a great feast to meet each other again and to spend some time together.


There are people in the world you feel in harmony with, without any apparent reason. So they are.


That’s what they said about their stay in Palermo :


Impressions of Sicily

Palermo

Things I’ve seen in Palermo so far that I have never seen anywhere else:

Pizza covered with french fries.

Beer vending machines.

A foot long cannoli.

A delicious lunch called “Pasta Sh*t.”

Gelato on a brioche bun.

Arancine.

Spleen (and sometimes lung) sandwiches.

I’ve never seen so many dishes that contain ricotta cheese, anchovies, pistachios, breadcrumbs and eggplant.

Palermo surrounded by beautiful mountains and there is always something to discover whenever you head down a random side street.

There’s a surprisingly huge amount of Arab influence (at least I wasn’t aware.) Even the main cathedral still has an original Arab plaque on one of its pillars. Make no mistake, it’s very catholic but because of its history, very tolerant of the Muslim influences and very accepting.

Visited a bizarre marionette museum and there are seven puppet theaters in town. It’s like a thing!

For the most part, the food is amazing affordable. Much more than anywhere else in Europe we have been.

Outstanding street art.

Amazing churches.

Street signs in Italian, Hebrew and Arabic.

The lover’s head story: My short version, she finds out about his many wives “back home”, cuts off his head, puts it in a pot on the balcony and plants basil around it.

Pine cones (usually made of ceramic) are considered good luck and appear on many balconies.


*Mondello

Mondello beach is on the other side of Mt. Pellegrino and is beautiful.



*Monreale

Visited the town and cathedral of Monreale. Nice but not my favorite.


*Mt. Etna

Majestic! Snow covered now but black (it’s lava after all) in warmer weather.




*Taormina

Beautiful little town, surrounded by water and mountains (also an ancient greek theatre.)


*General Sicily

Awhile back, someone asked me which place that we have traveled to had the best food. At the time, I said that it was hard to answer because each place has at least one unique dish that is amazing (Tagine in Morocco, Fish & Chips in England, the Red Sauce dishes in Naples, Cassoulet in France, Zanzibar Mix in Zanzibar, Mole in Mexico, Ground Round in Western NY and so on.)


Whilst that is still true, I can say that imo Sicily has the best overall consistently amazing food - a wide variety, fairly priced and always fresh. The bread, the pasta, the olives, the street food, the artichokes, the cannolis, the gelato (with the brioche bun) and the eggplant just to name a few. Delizioso!




The island is incredibly beautiful.


The ride to Mt. Etna was just gorgeous. The mountains, the green, the countryside and the sea all around you is intoxicating.



Palermo is an amazing city and there are many, many things to explore. From historical places, street food, street art, cultural events and hidden (off the path) gems - there is so much to see and experience.


If you want to truly enjoy the most out of your visit, book a tour with Eloisa. She is incredibly knowledgeable, funny, friendly, patient and knows everything there is to know about Palermo and the areas outside of it. You will learn, laugh and never forget the great time you spent with her. I cannot recommend her highly enough.


Dave and Robin Ward (USA)



Goodbye my friends!


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