22 Feb 2012

In love with Sicily, part 1: Palermo

I am probably about to break some stereotypes about Sicily, sorry about that.
It just took a couple of days to realize that La Sicilia is much more than just sandy beaches and Italian men with Speedos... and I loved it! 

from here
We had a super nice weekend (Thanks Thomas for the best present ever!) and I enjoyed every minute of it, even if I did not see many guys with Speedos (it is February after all).

I'll most likely need a couple of posts to share the Sicilian adventure, but let's start with Palermo.
We stayed in Attic12 , which I recommend. It's very small B&B with a very big roof top terrace, the perfect combination. It is located on the top floor of a 12 storage building, so you can imagine the great views from the terrace... and well, if you cannot imagine, here are the pics:


Stunning views from our terrace
It is difficult to describe how Palermo looks like, I got the feeling that it is made out of little pieces from many cities combined in a single one. 
One corner reminded me of Porto, then we walked by a square that was looking exactly like a Buenos Aires plaza and just beside it, there was a Moroccan-like street near a Turkish market surrounded by old Mafia built buildings.

Notice the mandatory "balcony lady" looking at you


This city is such a surreal combination of chaos and charm that makes you laugh every once in a while. I really got the feeling that even the most random stuff can happen in Palermo.
For example, let me introduce you to the curious phenomenon of "balcony shopping":
Here you have the cauliflower guy, who happily posed for the picture, he sells stuff in the middle of the road (almost) by the parking slots. You can clearly see that he is so proud of his cauliflowers.

My friend the cauliflower guy
I guess you are by now wondering who the hell stops their car to buy cauliflowers (or orange bags), I thought the same but suddenly I heard a lady shouting very loud, from a 5th floor balcony on the other side of the street, asking how much were the cauliflowers; the guy shouted back with the price and she ordered a couple of kilos.
Later on, she probably let down a little basket by a cord from the balcony (which seems to be a very common practice in Palermo) with the money inside and the cauliflower guy placed carefully the goods in the basket which went all the way back to the lady's house. 

I wish we could also buy stuff this way in Helsinki, it would be very handy when it is -25 ºC and you realize that you have run out of cauliflowers.

Do not miss:
In love with Sicily,part 2: More Palermo
In love with Sicily, part 3: Cefalú

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