Happy (very belated) New Year guys! I hope everyone’s holidays were great, I know mine were. So, new year, new semester, new plan! For any regular readers, you’ve probably noticed that the last year or so my updates have been sporadic and few. I’m hoping to change that this year. My semester load is a lot lighter than it has been the last two semesters and I want to focus on my blog and update on a more frequent basis. Now, having said this, I’m not going to commit to posting every Tuesday or something like that because I know that I will invariably get off at some point BUT I am going to strive to update on a more regular basis. On another note, I’m happy to share with you guys that I found an internship for this semester which I’m excited about. I will be interning with the Boy Scouts of America council that is near my school as a social media/marketing intern. I just started but I really like it so far and I can tell I’m going to learn a lot.
Now, to get into the real bit of this post. I think last time I left off with my time in Krakow, Poland. So after Poland, we made our way to Palermo in Sicily. Sicily is in southern Italy. If you picture Italy as being the boot, Palermo is on the little bit of land that is just past the “toe” of the boot shape. Having just come from freezing weather, Palermo was very well received among my traveling companions and I as it was probably in the 70s or 80s (Fahrenheit) and sunny.
Sicily might seem like a bit of a weird destination after Poland since it’s so opposite but there was a method (sort of) behind the “madness.” There were two things that kind of went into the decision. First of all, when Bridget and I were looking at where we might want to go, we’d looked at Venice but ultimately decided it was too expensive. (One of my friends who had been Rome had also said that there had just been some flooding in Venice at the time.) So we were looking at other options within Italy and I remembered that a few girls I’d met in France had gone to Palermo over one of the breaks and had absolutely loved it. The second thing that factored into our decision was cost. We predominantly flew Ryan Air for all of our trips and were looking at what order of destination would cheapest. It just so happened that getting from Krakow to Palermo was cheaper than doing the reverse and starting south and moving our way north back towards Ireland.
We spent a lot of time just wandering around Palermo and looking at the shops and street markets that we came across. By the time we left, we were able to navigate through a portion of the downtown area without getting lost or needing to use a map. It was just a very nice, relaxed few days. We’d meet up in the morning (Katherine was in a different hostel across the street from Bridget and I) and wander around, come back and take a nap after lunch if we wanted before wandering some more.And of course, trying out some of the food…pizza…wine…canolli…gelato…cheese…oh the cheese was out-of-this-world-amazing.
One thing that happened while we just wandering around downtown was we accidentally came across a ton of Sicilian teens making a Harlem Shake video in the middle of a square. It took us a minute to figure out what was happening but we were pretty amused once we had. So that was cool to see.
Probably the only thing that we knew we wanted to do while we were in Palermo was visit the Capuchin Catacombs. The girls I’d met in France who went, said that it was really cool. I saw the Paris catacombs with my family when we were in Europe when I was in high school so I knew I’d be interested in seeing them. Luckily, Katherine was on board and while Bridget wasn’t quite as thrilled, she was okay with going. Let me tell you, these catacombs are sooo different from the ones underneath Paris. For starters, these skeletons are on display meaning that they were propped up against the walls or arranged in coffin-like structures with glass sides so that you could still view them. Oh, and they were fully clothed as well. Kind of creepy but kind of really cool at the same time in a creepy way. The mummies ranged in age from varying adult ages to very young children and the clothing they wore varied as well from fancier, wealthy clothing to simple, modest clothing to monks to military uniforms. They also ranged in degree of preservation. Some were mostly skeletal while others still had bits of skin and hair attached.
Probably the most intriguing (or disturbing, depending on your view) mummy in the catacombs by far is that of Rosalia Lombardo. Born in 1918, Rosalia died in 1920 at the age of two. What makes her remarkable is the way her body was preserved. She was very well preserved in addition to being one of the last of the deceased admitted to the Capuchin catacombs. She rests in a glass-covered coffin and looks as if she passed away very recently as opposed to almost 100 years ago.
Like I said, it’s not necessarily for everyone but I thought it was interesting. Since it was a nice day and we didn’t think it was that far from our hostel, the three of us decided to walk to the catacombs and back. It’s definitely doable though I think it was a little farther than we realized and we walked along the side of the road for a while so that would be something to keep in mind if any of you ever consider visiting. I’m sure taxis, of course, would take you but we just opted not to look into that.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, we mostly wandered around Palermo, soaking up the sun and just looking at everything around us so we didn’t do a whole lot here. We had talked about going to a beach that we’d heard about that was near but once we walked to the port, we discovered that the actual beach was a few hours away and we decided not to pay the bus fare for that.
At the end of our time in Palermo, the three of us parted ways at the airport. Katherine flew back to Dublin while Bridget and I headed for Milan where we had a one day layover before flying to England. We shared a room at a hotel near the airport and basically just gave ourselves that day to sleep and take a break from traveling as we figured we would need it by this point (about halfway through our two week trip). That was a tidbit that my mom gave us I believe.
But England shall be in the next post. As for now, I think that’s all for our time in Sicily. It was beautiful and warm and the people we encountered were really nice and friendly. The two men who ran the B&B type place where Bridget and I stayed were super nice and helpful. On our first night the guy who checked us in helped us order pizza to be delivered since we didn’t speak the language. And the night before we left (we had an early morning flight), he called and arranged for a taxi to take us to the airport for us. Super nice.
See you guys next time!